Drink driving infringements have unexpected costs these holidays outside of the hefty fines and demerit points, so be road safe this summer.
While it might be tempting after that extra drink to still drive yourself home after festive season parties, remember that the penalty for drink driving goes further than a fine and demerit points. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you could lose your license and get fined in excess of $1,000, but drink-driving could cost you even more in the long-run on your insurance.
Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at lifeinsurancefinder.com.au, said drinking and driving this holiday season could cost motorists thousands of dollars in premium loading and void any insurance claims if you get in an accident.
“Generally, insurers will not pay out a claim if you’re found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in an accident. It’s a blanket exclusion that insurers are very strict in enforcing,” says Hutchison. “Even driving under the limit could put you at risk. The same goes for passengers – don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking as insurers can throw out your claim.”
Although one drink driving charge isn’t enough to affect your life insurance policy, receive too many and you may be forced to pay a penalty fee and attend rehab or undergo treatment for alcohol abuse.
“It takes a minimum of five years before an insurer will reassess your policy after you’ve been found to abuse alcohol or drugs. That means that you’ll have to pay an alcohol abuse loading on your policy for at least five years,” says Hutchison. “Insurer Noble Oak estimates alcohol abuse loading on life insurance premiums can be anywhere from 50 to 200 percent.
“For example, if a typical, non-smoking, 30-year-old male drinks more than 20 standard drinks a week, he could be forced to pay up to triple his premium of $25 per month, adding a loading cost of up to $50 extra per month for $500,000 worth of cover. That’s $3,000 extra over five years.”
Drink-driving is not only dangerous, but could be extremely expensive – not just in the short term with accidents, but in the long run as well.
“You’ll have to face fines, pay excesses on any claims you make if you get in an accident and potentially miss out on receiving any claim money at all,” says Hutchison. “It’s important that everyone knows exactly what they’re covered for and what they won’t be covered for. Alcohol is a no-go-zone for most insurance purposes so be extra careful about your drinking this holiday season.”