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DUIs And Auto Insurance: What You Need To Know

The only way to avoid being involved in a DUI accident where you're the guilty party is to refrain from drinking and driving in any capacity. However, in the event that you (or a loved one) make the mistake of having one too many and getting behind the wheel, there are some things you should know about your auto insurance policy and your coverage for a DUI-related accident.

Liability Coverage Won't Pay for Your Damages

First of all, understand that if you have state-minimum insurance (such as liability and property damage protection), then any damages caused to another driver or property owner as a result of your accident should be covered. For example, if you rear-end somebody while driving under the influence, your liability coverage should pay for his or her medical expenses (if there are any) in addition to any repairs that need to be made to the person's vehicle.

On the other hand, liability coverage doesn't apply to your own damages. Therefore, if you need to be taken to the hospital or have repairs done on your car, you'll typically be on your own for these expenses.

Not all Collision Policies Cover DUI Accidents

The only exception to the above statement is in the event that you have both liability and collision/comprehensive coverage (also known as "full coverage"). If this applies to you, there's a possibility that your damages and medical bills related to the DUI accident may be covered. However, some insurance companies have clauses in place in their policies that specifying that full coverage doesn't apply to incidents where the policyholder is found to have been driving under the influence. Therefore, you'll need to contact your agent or carefully review your policy documents to be sure.

Your Insurance Company Can Terminate Your Policy

Finally, while your insurance company cannot terminate your coverage in the middle of a policy, understand that they can refuse to renew your policy after the 6- or 12-month coverage period. This is often the case for high-risk drivers (such as those who have been convicted of DUIs in the past), as these drivers are seen as a huge liability for insurance companies. Therefore, if you've been charged with a DUI, the best thing you can do is to seek professional assistance from a DUI attorney (such as to see if there is any chance of you being able to get your charges reduced or dropped.