Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is dangerous and illegal. If you cause an accident while driving impaired, you could face severe legal penalties and financial consequences. One common question that arises is: Does GEICO insurance cover DUI accidents?
The short answer is yes, GEICO typically provides liability coverage for damages and injuries resulting from accidents caused by drunk or drugged driving. However, there are important caveats and your coverage may be limited.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about GEICO insurance and DUI accidents, including:
- What coverages GEICO offers for DUI accidents
- GEICO’s policy on covering DUI-related damages
- How a DUI can impact your GEICO policy and rates
- Steps to take if your car is damaged by a drunk driver with GEICO insurance
- Tips for navigating the claims process and maximizing your payout
- Common misconceptions about GEICO’s DUI coverage
- Additional insurance options if GEICO drops you after a DUI
Whether you caused an accident while driving impaired or were hit by an intoxicated driver, understanding GEICO’s DUI policies is crucial. Let’s dive in.
What GEICO Insurance Coverages Apply to DUI Accidents?
GEICO offers standard auto insurance policies with varying levels of coverage. The specific coverages that come into play after a DUI accident include:
Liability Coverage: Covers property damage and bodily injury that you cause to others while driving drunk. This protects you from expensive lawsuits and legal judgments up to the policy limits. However, GEICO may not fully cover injuries to your own passengers if you were at fault.
Collision Coverage: Pays to repair or replace your own vehicle if damaged in a DUI crash, regardless of fault. This covers your car if you hit an object or another vehicle.
Comprehensive Coverage: Covers damage to your car from non-collision events, such as vandalism, theft, or fire. This can come into play if your parked car is damaged by an intoxicated driver.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Provides compensation if you’re hit by a drunk driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance.
Medical Payments: Covers medical treatment for injuries to you and your passengers resulting from a DUI crash up to the policy limits, regardless of who was at fault.
So in short, GEICO’s standard auto policies will provide some coverage for accidents that involve drunk or drugged driving, but the specifics depend on who was at fault, the damages, and injuries sustained.
Does GEICO Cover DUI Accident Damages and Injuries?
GEICO does extend liability coverage to damages/injuries you cause to others if you drive while intoxicated. However, they may deny coverage in certain scenarios, including:
- You drive drunk without a valid driver’s license
- You use your vehicle to commit an intentional criminal act
- You drive a vehicle you do not own without permission (theft)
- You drive a commercial vehicle drunk
It’s also important to note that GEICO will only pay up to your policy limits. If the damages exceed those limits, you may be personally responsible for the difference. Your liability coverage should be sufficient to cover worst-case scenarios.
When it comes to damages to your own vehicle, GEICO will generally cover those under collision and comprehensive coverage, regardless of whether you or the other driver were intoxicated. But they may potentially deny a claim if they can prove you intended to wreck your car while driving drunk.
How Does a DUI Affect Your GEICO Policy?
Causing an accident while driving drunk will have significant negative effects on your GEICO policy:
Premium increases: Expect a steep rise in your insurance rates, likely at least 100% higher. GEICO views DUIs as high-risk behavior.
Policy cancellation: In many states, including California, GEICO can immediately cancel your policy upon a DUI conviction.
Difficulty finding coverage: A DUI makes it hard to shop for a new insurer if GEICO drops you. You may need a special high-risk policy.
Restrictions: GEICO may require you to install an ignition interlock device, complete alcohol education classes, or adhere to other restrictions.
The exact ramifications depend on state laws and regulations. But in general, driving drunk will make GEICO coverage much more limited and expensive going forward. Maintaining a clean driving record is critical to affordable rates.
Steps to Take if Your Car is Damaged by a Drunk Driver with GEICO Insurance
If you’re the victim of a drunk driver who happens to have GEICO insurance, here are some tips for getting your car fixed or replaced:
File a claim right away: Alert GEICO of the accident and begin the claims process. Provide all relevant details and documentation.
Gather evidence: Obtain the police report with proof of the other driver’s intoxication. Take photos documenting damage and accident scene evidence.
Get estimates: Visit mechanics to get written estimates for repair costs or determine if the car is totaled. Provide these estimates to GEICO.
Demand fair payment: Negotiate firmly with GEICO adjusters. Consult a claims lawyer if offers seem unreasonable.
Know your rights: Understand laws related to loss of value, loss of use, and diminished value claims. An attorney can help maximize compensation.
The claims process takes time, so be patient. But you should receive fair compensation for damages caused by the negligent actions of a GEICO-insured drunk driver.
Tips for Navigating the Claims Process and Maximizing Payouts
If you have to file an insurance claim with GEICO due to a DUI accident, either as the at-fault driver or the victim, keep these tips in mind:
Review your policy terms and coverage details so you understand applicable exclusions, limitations, and deductibles.
Collect documentation of the accident, damages, injuries, and impairment (e.g. police reports, breathalyzer test results).
Take detailed accident scene photos to prove circumstances and extent of damages.
Get multiple repair estimates and medical evaluations. These provide evidence to justify payout demands.
Consider consulting a claims adjuster lawyer to negotiate on your behalf for maximum compensation.
Be proactive and persistent with GEICO. Progress will be slow, but polite persistence pays.
Explore gaps in coverage and whether umbrella insurance could help fill those gaps if damages exceed primary policy limits.
If GEICO denies your claim, don’t give up. File an appeal providing additional evidence.
The claims process is filled with potential pitfalls, especially when a DUI is involved. Understanding GEICO policies and leveraging professional guidance can help substantially boost payouts after an accident.
Common Misconceptions About GEICO’s DUI Accident Coverage
There are some common misconceptions about what GEICO will and won’t cover resulting from drunk driving accidents:
Myth: GEICO will automatically drop you after any DUI incident.
Truth: While it’s possible, they also may choose to continue coverage but impose rate hikes and restrictions instead.
Myth: GEICO never covers damages from DUIs under any circumstances.
Truth: GEICO does extend liability and collision coverage for DUI accidents in many cases, up to policy limits. But your claim can still be denied.
Myth: My medical bills will be fully covered if I’m injured while driving drunk.
Truth: GEICO only covers your medical treatment up to the limits of your Medical Payments coverage, which may be inadequate.
Myth: GEICO will pay for my criminal defense lawyer if I get a DUI citation.
Truth: Legal defense costs related to criminal charges are never covered by auto insurance policies.
The reality is GEICO does provide insurance coverage related to DUI crashes, but the protection is limited. Reading your actual policy is the only way to fully understand what is and isn’t covered.
What if GEICO Drops Me After a DUI? Alternative Insurance Options
Finding affordable car insurance after a DUI can be challenging. If GEICO cancels your policy, here are some potential alternative insurance solutions:
Non-standard insurers: Companies like Direct Auto, Titan, and Fredericksburg Insurance specialize in high-risk drivers.
State programs: If you can’t find coverage elsewhere, look into state-mandated assigned risk pools and other programs.
Ignition interlock device discounts: Many insurers offer discounts for installing these breathalyzer devices that prevent intoxicated driving.
Sober driving app discounts: Apps like Steer Clear provide proof of continued sober driving, which may qualify you for policy discounts.
Exclude named driver: See if a spouse or family member can obtain a policy that excludes you as a driver.
Non-owners insurance: Provides liability coverage when driving non-owned vehicles, which could enable you to drive a borrowed car.
Public transportation: Consider relying on ride sharing, t
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