Your Car Insurance Rates Can Be Affected by an Impaired Driving Convictions

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duilicenseWhy is it that drivers that have been convicted of DUI pay more insurance? This is rather unfair, especially if they have never been involved in any accidents before. Is there even proof that they will be the cause of more accidents? –Bill in Toronto.

Insurance companies do not like risk – and drunk driving is most definitely a risk.

Glenn Cooper, Aviva spokesman says “In our view, an impaired driver is more likely to be a repeat offender and has an increased risk of causing a serious accident,” “Those convicted of impaired driving, even if not involved in an accident, have made an unsafe choice putting many others at risk.”

Aviva, like many private Canadian insurance companies, will not insure drivers who have been convicted of DUI for 3 years after they have been convicted. Those who are not able to acquire insurance will have to get theirs from facility insurance – “the market of last chance for drivers who cannot find insurance elsewhere,” says Cooper.

With such coverage of course comes a price. A regular insurance can cost them $8,000 more.

Risky Business

We have asked a number of professional liability insurance companies so they can explain why the premium is so high.

According to Intact Insurance, their data of drivers with impaired convictions have a 30-40% more chance of being involved in vehicular accidents.

Kristine D’Arbelles of CAA says, “Why do drivers with an impaired conviction pay higher premiums? The obvious answer is because they’re a higher risk. We don’t have any actual data that shows impaired drivers will reoffend one or two or three times, but impaired convictions tend to be a chronic issue.”

According to MADD Canada, 30% of drivers convicted will get another impaired conviction within 10 years’ time.

Some will drive without insurance if insurance is too high

Drivers that have been convicted of DUI should pay less than what they are paying in Ontario, says Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD.

Murie says, “In Ontario, a typical impaired conviction will move your insurance premiums from around $2,000 to between $8,500 and $10,000 a year – that’s a lot of money,”

Since facility insurance is not affordable for a lot of drivers, some of them simply do not tell the insurance company that they have had DUI convictions at all, or that they simply drive without any insurance. Neither are good for other drivers who are on the road.

“If you don’t tell them and just keep making your payments, the insurance company won’t insure a crash if you have one,” Murie says.

Although insurance companies may not know of your conviction, but they can always check. A U.S. poll from 2013 shows that there were only 31% of drivers had a rise in premiums from traffic tickets.

“We often find in cases where we discover an existing customer has a new conviction for impaired that he/she also had prior impaired convictions,” says Aviva’s Cooper.

A break for drivers with ignition interlocks?

Private insurers, according to Murie, should follow Canada’s insurance companies which are government run, and enable drivers that have DUI convictions be able to have their insurance with only $1,000 surcharge per year if they have placed an ignition interlock.

Murie says that if they put in this interlock, they will not be able to drive them impaired and thus should be qualified for a reduction in their premiums.

Basically, the device is more like a breathalyzer that will not let your car start if you have a blood alcohol level that is beyond the allowed limit. Drivers must give breath samples when driving so the engine does not stop.

In Canada, only New Brunswick and Newfoundland are the provinces that do not have an interlock requirement, says Murie.

This technology works and you do not need to wait 10 to 15 years just to get data. It boggles my mind why they are not even doing this, says Murie.

So far, no insurance companies had taken to offer break for interlock users.

Most insurance companies will not willingly do this on their own, unless intervened by the Superintended of Insurance, say Murie.