Let’s have a chat about Driving Under the Influence and Your Insurance
Everyone is well aware that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a bad idea. We’ve all seen the televised car wrecks, and nearly everyone knows of a family who has lost a loved one due to intoxicated driving. What many people don’t know, however, is that being caught drink or drugged driving can have a huge, decidedly unpleasant effect on their car insurance premiums.
How Intoxicated Driving Affects Insurance
Your insurance company isn’t going to make you take a breathalyser test before they’ll insure you. That would be ridiculous, but they don’t have any problem whatsoever with putting a few extra pertinent details in the fine print of your policy agreement.
If you read your insurance policy more closely, you’ll notice that your insurer is under no obligation to pay your claim if you were drink driving during an accident. This is true even if you didn’t cause the accident but turned out to have been intoxicated when it happened. If you were operating a vehicle while breaking the law, you’re as good as uninsured.
Don’t count on the compulsory Third Party Personal insurance you paid for with your licensing fee either. It’s invalid if you injure or kill someone while intoxicated. In addition to doing something unthinkable that you can’t take back, you’ll probably end up paying way more for the damages.
Long Term Costs of Driving Under the Influence and Your Insurance
When you get caught driving intoxicated, your insurance premiums will increase. Sure, you can call, email or visit your insurer’s offices to tell them how you’re going to clean up your act from now on, but look at things from their perspective. You already broke your contractual and legal promise not to drink drive, so you’re not exactly the most trustworthy person in their eyes.
At this point, you may as well have the phrase “HIGH RISK” stamped on your forehead. It’s most certainly written on your driving record, and your fees are going to shoot up like a rocket. To make things worse, your high premiums will last for many years after your licence cancellation or accident, and there’s no limit to how much they’ll increase if you do the same thing again later.
Staying out of Trouble
Forget the notion that your insurer isn’t going to find out when you drink drive. If you get into an accident it’ll be on the police report, and your insurer will definitely be checking those documents out with gusto.
Of course, even if you’re lucky enough to avoid a wreck, you’ll probably fall into the same trap that most habitual drink drivers do. You’ll make the same mistake over and over again until you do wind up totalling your car and getting caught by the cops. The statistics are clear; if you keep doing the same dumb thing, you’ll increase the likelihood of a dumb result.
Of course, that isn’t to say the issue is clear cut. Many of us had one too few from time to time and made decisions we really shouldn’t have. True, most of us won’t go so far as to jump behind the wheel when we’re obviously drunk, but surprisingly, that doesn’t matter. A significant percentage of drivers who get pulled over drink driving aren’t even super wasted. They’ve simply misjudged their ability to pace themselves and gone slightly over the legal limit.
As a good general rule, if you have to ask yourself if you’re too drunk to drive, then you probably are. If you’re not really that self-aware about the issue, however, then you should err on the side of caution and plan alternative transport in advance.
Do whatever it takes. Find a designated driver to ferry you from one place to another. You can even take turns being the designee with your drinking pals or trade the task for some free beers later. Try visiting watering holes that you can reach on foot or via public transport. Many drivers even get their own cheap breathalysers just to be safe, which costs less than being court-ordered to install one and deal with other major inconveniences.
These are all great ways to keep the cost of your car insurance premium down, keep everyone on the road safe and at the very least, avoid getting sick all over the inside of your own car.
Driving Under the Influence and Your Insurance is a comissioned guest post