If I Have an Accident When Driving Drunk Will My Car Insurance Still Pay?
February 28, 2018
Having a couple of drinks under your belt doesn’t affect your driving ability, so why not just drive yourself home? As long as you can steer clear of roadblocks, what’s the harm if you are drunk? Besides, the South African law here is crazy – one drink can put you over the limit.
These are some of the justifications that people use when they decide to drink and drive. Many repeat offenders go through the same justification to themselves every time they decide to drive under the influence. Some do it every day, or weekend, or whenever.
They might never even have an accident, and this encourages them to think that there are no consequences to driving drunk. But it is a proven fact – even after just two drinks, your reaction time is slowed.
What happens when you do eventually plough into another car, or if you lose control and damage your own car?
Will My Insurance Pay if I Drive Drunk?
Your insurance does cover you in instances where you lose control but check the stipulations on the policy more carefully. Most policies specify that you have to:
- Specify who the driver or drivers are: So, if your mate tries to cover for you, it will be no go anyway.
- Have a valid driver’s licence: Something that is hard to hold onto once you have been prosecuted for drunk driving.
- Be unimpaired: By which they mean that you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They might even specify that you are not to be over the legal limit in terms of alcohol consumption.
What Happens if You Have an Accident?
Assuming the best-case scenario – that you drive into a pole or something and no other cars or people are involved, you will want to make a claim.
To make a valid insurance claim, you have to report the accident at the police station. If you are drunk, you don’t want to go straight away and wait until the morning.
No problem, right? Except that the insurance company is not stupid. They’ll want to know why you didn’t report the matter immediately and what you were doing. They understand that people drive when drunk and so do look out for these kinds of tricks.
They might decline your claim under reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
Now, let’s say that someone else is involved. The police are called to the scene as a matter of course and they will administer field sobriety tests. If you fail these, your insurance company has the perfect out.
They can decline your claim, leaving you to foot the bill for your repairs and the other person’s as well.
If you are injured, and try to make a claim from the Road Accident Fund, you are out of luck as well – they can decline the claim on the grounds that you were inebriated.
You also have an arrest record for drunk driving. And, even if you clean up your act, that if you can get motor insurance at all, you are going to pay a high premium for it.
Considering all the potential consequences of driving under the influence, is it even worth taking a chance at all?
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All info was correct at time of publishing