Impaired Driving and Auto Insurance

An impaired driving conviction can make it very difficult for you to obtain affordable automobile insurance. This is because society’s tolerance for drunk driving is understandably zero.

The Incidence of Impaired Driving

The Edmonton Police Services has made over 7,000 arrests and suspended nearly 2,500 licenses in the past 10 years. Police are preventing many accidents by identifying and apprehending drunk drivers through Edmonton’s Curb the Danger programs.

Convicted drunk drivers have a 30 to 40 percent greater likelihood of being involved in a subsequent accident, according to data from insurer Intact. Thirty percent of those convicted of drunk driving will be convicted again within 10 years, according to MADD Canada.

Skyrocketing Auto Insurance Costs

If you have been convicted of drunk driving, you’ll be paying a high-risk rate on top of your regular rate, plus a surcharge of 50 percent. Your auto insurance costs could jump from 60 percent to 300 percent on the first conviction. At these insurance rates, your driving record could price you out of the market for auto insurance.

The primary cause of a high insurance premium resulting after a drunk driving conviction is that most private insurance companies will not insure you; they will find your driving risks too high to insure. In this situation the only insurance companies available will be expensive, high-risk providers known as facility underwriters. Facility insurers offer insurance to those who have a high risk profile and are not eligible for insurance through private insurance companies. Your broker will also be unable to submit your auto application for three years to any private insurers.

A second reason for why your insurance premium will skyrocket is if you were involved in a collision while you were driving drunk; you are likely to be held responsible for the accident in such a case. Your insurance would already normally rise if you are at fault in a collision, regardless of whether you’re convicted of a traffic violation or a criminal offence. A drunk driving accident makes you a higher risk driver than otherwise.

Failing to be Covered by Auto Insurance

By driving your vehicle under illegal circumstances of drunk driving, your auto insurance will not be valid as your policy excludes the use and operation of a motor vehicle if you are deemed to be intoxicated. If you get into an accident at the same time, not only will you have to face the criminal implications but you are potentially responsible for all, or a portion, of costs to another person involved (e.g., another driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian or any combination of these), your own health, any other vehicle involved and damage to your own car.

If your drunk driving causes an accident that seriously harms or kills someone, the victim’s insurer has the legal right to sue you for the costs incurred (e.g., medical and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, funeral expenses). You can also be sued in a tort claim for additional damages, including a family compensation claim. Provincial and federal laws provide compensation for victims of drunk driving and claims where people have been even slightly injured can result in million dollar judgments.

Unfortunately, the insurance company Aviva has documented evidence that some customers seeking auto insurance do not disclose prior convictions. Non-disclosure of prior convictions is considered fraud and voids your insurance policy in the event of an automobile accident, leaving you personally responsible for property damages and personal injuries resulting from driving under the influence.

Similarly, you may no longer be insurable under a commercial vehicle policy; a claim made for an employee with an impaired driving conviction can void the company’s commercial insurance policy. This means you could have to change your employment if your job requires you to drive, even if your job entails driving a company vehicle only occasionally or driving off the road operating construction or farm equipment only.

Other Impacts of Drunk Driving on Your Insurance

In addition to high car insurance rates and a potential loss of coverage for an insurance claim, an impaired driving conviction will result in a zero driving record rating and six years before you are potentially eligible for a safe driving auto insurance discount regardless of your previous driving record.

Get Help Obtaining Auto Insurance With HDF Insurance

A conviction of impaired driving will affect your car insurance rate, where you can obtain insurance and coverage, among other potentially negative impacts. A professional insurance broker at HDF Insurance can provide you with quotes from insurers available to you, compare rates for you and potentially help you to seek payment plan arrangements with an insurer. Contact HDF Insurance for your free auto insurance quote in Edmonton at 1-800-567-2048.