Drunk driving and insurance: how does it impact the convicted and the victims

April 30th, 2015

If you’ve ever been in a fender bender, you know just how stressful the entire situation can be, from filing police reports to dealing with the body shop. But imagine if you’re in an accident that involves a drunk driver?

We’ve been asked many times if it’s true that if you’re the victim of a drunk driving accident, that there is no insurance. We want to tackle this myth.

In Alberta, all auto policies follow the same language which is written by the provincial government. This insurance policy has three sections:

Section A:  3rd Party Liability

This protects you against property damage or bodily injury you do to others.

Section B: Accident Benefits

This provides limited income replacement and medical expenses for the driver, passengers in the insured vehicle or pedestrians that are involved in the crash, regardless of who was at fault.

Section C: Physical Damage

Most people carry collision and comprehensive insurance to protect for loss from physical damage. Collision protects against collision damage; comprehensive protects against numerous perils including fire, theft and hail.

How does drunk driving affect insurance?

Have your broker review your policy wording to make sure that your needs are properly covered in each section. If you look at Section A, there are no exclusions for drinking and driving, so if the drunk driver has valid insurance it will pay for property damage and injury to others up to policy limits.

For Section B, although it’s done on a no-fault basis, there is an exclusion for injuries to the drunk driver at fault in a collision. So the passengers in that vehicle and any pedestrians would still be covered under this section, but the drunk driver would not.

Section C dictates that there is no coverage where the insured operates a vehicle while under an intoxicating influence of drugs or alcohol, or permits someone else to operate the vehicle while intoxicated. This means that if a drunk driver crashes their vehicle, their insurance is not going to respond to pay for it. Those added costs are another way to punish the offending driver.

What does this all mean for the victims of a drunk driver’s collision?

The liability section isn’t voided by drinking and driving because if it were excluded there would be no financial recourse for the victims hit by the drunk driver. Therefore, if you are hit by a drunk driver, you can assume your damages will be covered assuming the drunk driver’s insurance was in force at the time of the loss. If you are a drunk driver, and you crash, your injuries and your vehicle will NOT be covered, in addition to the criminal and administrative penalties you will face.

Always consult with your broker if you have any questions regarding your automobile policy.

Blog Author: Kevin Lea | Commercial Account Executive | Rogers Insurance Ltd.

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