Does Car Insurance Cover Drunk Driving Accidents?

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A spilled drink next to car keys, indicating a drunk driving accident.

As many know, A DUI is considered a criminal offense. If convicted, a DUI typically comes with a slew of legal issues, whether or not an accident occurred. For many individuals facing a DUI/DWI, car insurance coverage may be one of the last things on their minds. However, depending on coverage and which state you reside, there may be many issues you face when working with car insurance adjusters after a DUI – from denying coverage to canceling your policy. No matter the exact nuances of your car insurance coverage, if you are involved in an accident while intoxicated, it is very likely your car insurer will investigate the circumstances surrounding your crash before agreeing to accept liability for any damages.

Can an Insurer Deny My Coverage?

Regarding liability vehicle insurance, coverage typically extends to any collision in which the drivers covered under the policy are involved, including when driving negligently. Coverages will vary from state to state and from insurer to insurer. However, no insurance policy will cover car accidents caused by intentional conduct. Some insurance companies will argue that driving while under the influence is intentional conduct, as the driver intentionally puts themselves in a position to cause the collision by intentionally drinking in excess and driving after drinking while knowing the potential consequences. If this occurs, your insurance company may deny coverage for damages related to the accident, especially if you are trying to cover injuries to other drivers and passengers. Suppose your car insurance company is attempting to deny coverage for bodily injuries. In that case, you should speak to an attorney to see what can be done to persuade your insurance company to reconsider its position.

Coverage Limits

If your insurance provider defends you in relation to accident damages, an insurance company will not protect you against a claim of intentional misconduct or cover related damages. While insurance companies will cover at-fault parties against negligence claims, they will not cover harm from an intentional act. In some personal injury cases, an attorney will add a claim for intentional misconduct against an at-fault DUI driver. Suppose the lawsuit goes to trial and a judgment is made against the at-fault driver. In that case, the DUI driver’s insurer will not cover these losses, leaving the defendant to pay out of pocket. When it comes to coverages and intentional misconduct claims against a DUI driver, it’s akin to the driver not having insurance at all.

Car Insurance and Alcohol

Insurance Policy Cancellation

It is an insurer’s job to consider risk. When extending car insurance coverage, a DUI conviction makes the convicted driver a bad risk. The insurance company often considers it in their best interest to cancel the coverage of a convicted driver, as car insurance and alcohol indulgence while driving do not mix. Luckily, some states will not allow an insurance carrier to legally cancel a driver’s auto coverage due to a DUI. However, this does not mean that there will not be consequences regarding your coverages and premiums.

Premiums Will Rise

If your insurance provider does not cancel your coverage, they will increase your premiums drastically after receiving a DUI conviction. If your coverage is canceled, you can guarantee that the new insurer will quote you a similarly high premium.

Drunk Driver Totaled My Car

If you’ve been involved in a car collision in which you suspect the other driver is drunk, call 911 immediately. The police officers can assess if the other driver is intoxicated. You must get the police on the scene to provide valuable documentation for your claim via their report. If the police can confirm the other driver is intoxicated and/or make an arrest, it will aid you later down the line to collect the damages you deserve, especially if a drunk driver totaled your car. In the event you get into a car accident with a drunk driver, you should take the following steps:


While at the scene, gather the insurance information from the other driver. If you are unavailable due to your injuries, the police report should contain this information.


If you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you should retain a drunk driving lawyer. Never sign anything from the insurance company or accept any settlements without discussing it with a car accident lawyer.


If you are unable to get things resolved with the other driver’s insurance company, it may be possible for your insurance company to cover the costs of replacing your vehicle. Keep records of anything relating to the accident, including hospital expenses, doctor’s visits, rental car costs, the value of your vehicle, etc. It is essential to understand that insurance companies often do not have your best interests at heart and will attempt to pay as little as possible on the claim. This is why good recordkeeping and having a drunk driving lawyer look over offers are pertinent.


If the driver who hit you while intoxicated is not insured, is underinsured, or their insurance company denies coverage, you will likely need to establish an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim to get the compensation you require for your expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Tatum & Atkinson Can Help if You Were Involved in a Drunk Driving Accident

Becoming involved in an accident with a drunk driver can be an extremely stressful experience, and a car accident lawyer can help take some of the stress off your back so that you may focus on healing. Contact a drunk driving lawyer today to review your case and discuss your options to ensure your rights are protected and that you will receive the best outcome to cover your current and expected losses.

Here at the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson “The Heavy Hitters,” we have decades of collective experience representing victims of drunk driving accidents. We will fight to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact (800) 529-0804 today or contact us online to receive your free case evaluation.