UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Your car insurance covers damages caused by a collision. But what happens if the collision was caused by drinking and driving? Will a car insurance company pay for an accident caused by drinking and driving?
Your Car Insurance Will Typically Pay for Accidents Caused by Drinking and Driving
Many drivers are surprised to learn that their car insurance company will cover an accident caused by drinking and driving. In fact, your car insurance company will cover that accident just like they would cover a normal accident: your insurer will cover the accident up to the limits of your policy.
Although car insurance can cover accidents caused by drinking and driving, it may not cover other illegal or fraudulent acts. If you set your car on fire, for example, then you won’t get covered because you’re intentionally committing insurance fraud.
Obviously, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal as well. However, your crime is considered accidental. Yes, you willingly drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but you weren’t intending to get into an accident.
If you set your car on fire, then you’re intentionally committing a crime. With a DUI, however, you understand that it’s against the law to drive under the influence, but you’re not expecting to get into an accident.
That’s why your insurance will cover an alcohol or drug-related collision just like they would cover a normal accident. They’ll cover the medical expenses of anyone you injured, for example, and the costs of repairing the other driver’s vehicle (assuming you were at fault).
There Are Still Plenty of Consequences
Yes, your insurance company will likely pay for your DUI incident. However, this is the least of your worries. You’ll still face plenty of consequences if you’re involved in an accident caused by drunk driving. Those consequences include:
- Insurance companies will always raise rates after an at-fault claim; they also raise rates after a DUI, which means that if you cause an accident while under the influence, you will face significantly higher insurance premiums
- The insurance company might cancel your policy or fail to renew it; they might cover your original accident, for example, but will cancel your policy immediately after
- You can be charged with involuntary manslaughter and serve time in prison, in which case your car insurance will not be able to help you
- You might be charged with a DUI, which could mean fines, jail time, and a criminal record
Some Car Insurance Companies Will Claim your DUI Was Intentional
Up above, we mentioned that insurance companies will cover the cost of your DUI because it’s seen as an accident: you didn’t intend to cause a collision when you were under the influence.
If you set your car on fire, however, then this is considered an intentional act, and your car insurance won’t cover it.
That’s why some insurance companies will try to deny your alcohol-related accident by claiming it was intentional. If the insurance company can prove your accident was intentional, then they won’t have to cover it.
In an effort to deny your claim, your insurance company might claim you intentionally made the decision to drink and drive. You intentionally chose to drink and recklessly drive home. Although you didn’t intentionally cause an accident, you intentionally increased your risk of getting into an accident.
If the insurance company can prove that your actions were intentional, then they might deny your insurance claim.
Yes, your insurance company will typically cover your insurance claim after a drunk driving accident – but it’s not guaranteed.
If your insurance company has denied your clam because the drunk driving accident was intentional, then you may want to contact a lawyer. A good auto insurance lawyer can ensure your insurance company pays up – even if the accident was caused when you were drinking and driving.
Ultimately, your car insurance company will almost certainly pay for your accident – even if that accident occurred while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, after the accident, you will face substantially higher insurance premiums. Your insurance company might even cancel your policy. You could pay twice as much for car insurance after your at-fault collision.
There’s also a chance that your insurance company will challenge your insurance claim. They might say the incident was intentional, for example. Insurance companies aren’t required to cover intentional acts. If the insurance company can prove your accident was intentional, then your claim may be denied.
A history of DUIs will raise car insurance rates. A history of at-fault car insurance claims will also raise rates. When you’re involved in a collision caused by drinking and driving, you have a history of both. You can expect to pay significantly more for car insurance in the future – but at least your car insurance company will cover your accident costs today.