how impaired driving affects your auto insurance

You already know drinking and driving poses a huge safety risk. What you might not know, however, is the severe impact impaired driving can have on your auto insurance rates.

why your insurer cares about impaired driving

Your riskiness as a driver, or rather the likelihood that you'll have a car accident, plays a huge role in determining the amount you pay for auto insurance. And drinking and driving is about as risky as it gets.

Research shows that those with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .09 or greater are 11 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than completely sober drivers. This means, to your insurer, an impaired driving conviction is a red flag for dangerous driving and potential car accidents.

direct impact of impaired driving convictions on your auto insurance premium

Your car insurance rates will almost certainly go up, with the exact increase depending on individual circumstances. With a typical one-car/one-driver policy, the average premium will usually increase by at least 100 percent, making this conviction one of the most damaging events possible to your car insurance rates.

other ways an impaired driving conviction affects your auto insurance

If you cause an accident while driving under the influence, parts of your car insurance could be considered invalid.

Which means on top of any provincial penalty and added car insurance premium, you could be on the hook for expensive car repairs and injury treatment for yourself or others.

Depending on where you live, there's also the possibility that your insurer would opt not to renew your policy after the current term ends. Finding a new car insurance company can be rather pricy for drivers who've had an impaired driving conviction.

impaired driving laws in canada

Every province has laws against drinking and driving, including one-year licence suspensions for convicted drivers. In Alberta, drivers who register a BAC of .08 or higher must face criminal charges and have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. These devices test drivers' breath and prevent the ignition from starting if alcohol is detected. In Ontario, meanwhile, a first-time impaired driving conviction comes with a hefty $1,000 fine. (And these penalties are just for a first offense!)

Even just a single drink could have consequences. Drivers pulled over with a BAC between .05 and .08 are also subject to penalties in most Canadian provinces and territories. Three-day licence suspensions and car impoundments are common punishments for this offense.

Lasting impact of impaired driving

A citation could remain on a driver's record for as long as 10 years. Which means you could be viewed as a risky driver for a significant chunk of time, and getting your car insurance back to its original, affordable state will be an arduous task, to say the least.

So do yourself a favour and stay sober and safe behind the wheel.

managing an esurance policy after an impaired driving conviction

If you're looking to learn more about how impaired driving in Canada affects your auto insurance rate or coverage requirements, or what steps you need to take after a conviction, give us a call at 1-888-ESURANCE (1-888-378-7262).