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Al Boenker Insurance Blog - Does your insurance carrier pay for drunk driving accidents (DUI)?

In a short answer, your insurance might cover you even if your at-fault driving under the influence (DUI), but after the contract ends they could deny your renewal the policy and the driver will be considered a risky driver and may get high rates. 

Read more-> Myth or Fact: Do Car Accidents Increase in the Holiday Season?

Your protection depends on your type of coverage 

Let's go step by step... 

Like almost everything in the auto insurance world, it depends on the type of coverage. Your insurance might cover you depending on what you have. If you have liability coverage, after a drunk driving accident the insurance company will only pay for the third party damages. 

Besides liability, collision, comprehensive and medical payment usually covers the driver at-fault or if they were hit by another driver under the influence. 

But if we're talking about coverage, your insurance could pay for car damages, medical expenses or third party damage.  

Does drunk driving void your insurance?

The insurance agent or company cannot deny coverage but they could cancel at any time or refuse to renew your policy in some of the following cases:

  1. The insurer doesn't pay their premium. 
  2. Insurers file a fraudulent claim. 
  3. Driver's license is suspended or revoked (that could happen after Driving While Intoxicated)
  4. Insured is now considered high risk- and renewal could be a liability. 

Texas Department of Insurance said the auto insurance company must refund any unearned premium to the insurer 15 days after the day of the cancellation. 

For nonrenewal cases, the insurance agency or company must tell you in writing, at least 30 days before the contract ends. 

How much is insurance after a DUI?

There is no doubt that a driver involved in an accident due to being under the influence would be labeled as a high-risk driver.

This could result in expensive consequences such as:

  1. Premium rates will increase
  2. Car insurance policy could be canceled

This number varies based on your carrier and the state. According to alcohol.org, it could increase between $1000 and $10,000 depending on the company, state, and situation. Insurance companies may double or triple the rate.

How long does drink driving affect your auto insurance? 

In the majority of states a DUI can take several years to clear your record after being in an accident. In Texas, the driver will never get a DUI conviction removed from their record. 

Commonly, auto insurance companies check motor vehicle records of their insureds. It depends on each company or agency if after three years (or more) they want to give a standard auto insurance rate regardless of the driving record. 

What happens after being caught driving while intoxicated? 

In Texas, any person with a .08 Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration is considered under the influence and can face tremendous consequences if caught driving under the influence. 

First Offense: 

  1. A fine up to $2,000
  2. Three days to 180 days in jail 
  3. Loss driver's license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $2,000 at least during three years

Second Offense:

  1. A fine of up to $4,000
  2. One month to a year in jail
  3. Loss of driver's license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver's license

Third Offense:

  1. A $10,000 fine
  2. Two to 10 years in prison
  3. Loss of driver's license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain a driver's license

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

If the driver is caught driving drunk with a child passenger, the fines are even higher.  

Also, most of the punishments above depends on the driver's age. For example, for a driver over 21 years old, they must fill a Financial Responsibility Certificate (SR-22) from their insurance company. 

For drivers under 21 years of age, they'll receive one year of driver's license suspension, they also could be required to serve during the suspension period, fill the SR-22 and so on, according to Texas Department of Public Safety.

Texas Department of Transportation indicates that those who refuse to take a blood alcohol test while being pulled could result in a suspended driver's license for 180 days. 

How can I lower my car insurance after a DUI?

  1. Always have auto insurance, the lack of insurance protection means expensive consequences
  2. Increase your deductible and could pay less on your premiums
  3. Follow the law to avoid traffic infractions
  4. Drive less to lower your mileage and the probability to have accidents. 
  5. Take care of your car by keeping it in the garage and installing anti-theft alarms.
  6. Maintain a good credit score. 
  7. Don't let the same mistake happen again. Try a sober ride such as Uber or Lyft. 

The best thing that you can do is to drink responsibly. Sadly, car accidents caused by driving while intoxicated are the reason for several fatalities during this time of year. It's not only what could happen to your insurance rates or car damages, but consider your life and other's life.

Have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2020!