Auto Insurance: How Drunk Driving Affects Your Coverage And Premiums

9 February 2015
 Categories: Insurance, Articles


Roughly 175 Canadians are injured and 578 vehicles are damaged by impairment-related motor vehicle accidents every day. For law enforcement purposes, a person's level of intoxication is measured by the alcohol concentration and amount in their blood, or blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The maximum legal BAC is 0.08, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Drinking and driving is not only illegal, but also irresponsible, as it puts others on the road in harm's way. Here's how it affects your coverage and premiums.

Coverage for Physical Damage to the Vehicles and Medical Costs for Injuries

Your auto insurance is only responsible for providing you coverage in the event that you drove within the terms and conditions of their policy. If you are to operate your vehicle in a manner that is illegal, your auto insurance policy may no longer cover any physical damage that has happened to vehicles involved in the accident or medical costs for injuries that were sustained.

Your auto insurance policy will not cover any of the physical damages to either your vehicle or the other parties involved, which means that you will be held liable for paying the bills. In addition, while the other parties' insurance policy and coverage may initially provide the compensation that is needed to pay for their medical costs, these auto insurance brokers are also entitled to take you to court in order to sue you for the compensation that you actually owe. Keep in mind that the cost for treating medical injuries can go up to the millions depending on the extent and severity of the motor vehicle accident.

Expectations for Future Auto Insurance Premiums

If you got caught and charged with drinking and driving, your auto insurance company will be notified even if you were not involved in a motor vehicle accident. When it comes time to renew your insurance policy, you may find that your premiums have skyrocketed. You can expect your auto insurance premiums to at least double or triple within the first year, and these rates are here to stay, as you will be paying higher rates for many years to come until you can prove that you no longer participate in such reckless and irresponsible behaviour. 

On top of paying more for your auto insurance premiums, you may also find that your coverage has changed significantly. In short, your auto insurance company may no longer be willing to provide you with as much coverage as before, and you may no longer be entitled to some of the benefits that you may have racked up over the years. For example, if your auto insurance coverage included towing fees or getting a rental car, you can bid farewell to these benefits, as you will likely be paying for these costs out of your own pockets.

Auto insurance companies are also entitled to refuse you coverage. This may mean that you may be forced to get auto insurance from high-risk brokers or pay extremely high rates for very little coverage. 


If you are going out for a drink with a friend, you should consider taking the cab home or arranging for a ride with a designated driver who is responsible for not drinking a sip of alcohol during the entire night in order to prevent surpassing the legal BAC limit. It's simply not worth taking the risk of drinking and driving. If you get caught drinking and driving, your insurance premiums and coverage face serious consequences even if you were not involved in an accident. It will take years for the auto insurance companies to grant you any leniency.