Is your car insurance invalid if you drink & drive?

Road Traffic Accident

If you have an accident while driving above the legal limit,  your insurer is obligated under the Road Traffic Act to pay out for the costs of claims by third parties.

Be warned though, many insurance companies will then attempt to recover these costs from the policy holder.

You generally wont be able to claim for any injuries you suffer or repairs to your own vehicle.

This means if you have fully comprehensive insurance cover & you are involved in an accident while over the legal limit, your fully comprehensive insurance policy will effectively be downgraded to third party cover only.

What your insurance policy does and does not cover will be laid out in your insurance policy document.

Anything your insurance policy does not cover will usually be under ‘general exceptions’ or ‘significant exclusions’.

General Exceptions / Significant Exclusions

Drink driving may not be the only exclusion on your policy.

Driving while unfit through drink or drugs & failing to provide a specimen for analysis is also likely to be excluded.

The following is an example of an alcohol & drugs exclusion clause on an insurance policy document.

Alcohol & Drugs

You’re not fully covered if an accident happens while you or anyone entitled to drive under your current Certificate of Motor Insurance:

  • Is found to be over the prescribed limit for alcohol in the country where the incident happens
  • Is driving while unfit through alcohol, drugs or other substances, whether prescribed or not
  • Doesn’t provide a sample of breath, blood or urine when required to do so, without lawful reason

In Summary

  1. You may not be fully covered if you have an accident while driving while unfit through drink or drugs, you are over the legal limit or you fail to provide a specimen for analysis 
  2. Your insurer is obligated to pay the cost of claims by any third parties in all cases by legislation laid out in the Road Traffic Act
  3. Your insurer may try to recover the costs of claims paid out to third parties directly from the policy holder

If you have found yourself in a position where your insurer is trying to recover costs paid out to third parties, you may find this thread in our online forum useful.

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