54 27TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE Insurance Consequences of Drinking and Driving • Most Canadians have some understanding that impaired driving is a criminal offence and that it carries significant penalties. It is probably safe to say that far fewer Canadians appreciate the insurance consequences of being convicted of an impaired driving offence. This is hardly surprising, considering the complexity of the provincial and territorial automobile insurance laws. • While our primary concern is with the insurance consequences of impaired driving, we have also addressed the related problem of “unauthorized driving”. We have used this term to include driving while unlicensed, suspended, disqualified, or prohibited. A majority of impaired driving offenders continue to drive, at least occasionally, while suspended or otherwise unauthorized.1 • We also discuss the legal consequences of driving without insurance, which is also all too common among impaired driving offenders. Insurance coverage and benefits • As outlined below, if a person who causes a crash is convicted of an impaired driving offence, his or her insurance coverage and no-fault benefits will be significantly reduced or denied.2 • Except for Québec, every jurisdiction denies collision coverage to impaired driving offenders for damages to their own vehicle, regardless of how much collision coverage they had purchased. • An impaired driving offender’s no-fault medical and rehabilitation benefits are denied or limited in most jurisdictions. • An impaired driving offender’s no-fault lost earnings benefits are denied in most jurisdictions. • In some jurisdictions, the estate of a deceased offender will be denied no-fault funeral expenses, and his or her dependents will be denied the death benefits that would otherwise be payable. • In most jurisdictions, impaired driving offenders are exposed to open-ended liability for third-party injuries and losses, despite having purchased mandatory and optional third-party liability coverage. • Driving while suspended or otherwise unauthorized has similar consequences on a driver’s collision coverage, no-fault benefits and third-party liability coverage. • These potentially devastating financial consequences also apply to vehicle owners when they lend their car to an individual who subsequently has an at-fault crash while impaired or unauthorized. Insurance premiums • A conviction for an impaired driving offence will result in significant increases in the offender’s insurance premiums. • Depending on the jurisdiction, the offender may no longer be able to obtain insurance in the “regular” market and may have to seek coverage from a “highrisk” insurer. In INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF IMPAIRED DRIVING