Don't drink and drive. It's a message you hear loud and clear. Drinking and driving kills. Everyone knows the reasons not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the legal penalties associated with it. But most people don't know how drinking and driving affects your car insurance.

Physical damage costs

If you drive or operate your vehicle under illegal circumstances, your insurance is no longer valid. Specifically, this means if you drive drunk and get in an accident, not only will you have to face the penalties of the law, but you are potentially liable for all damages to your own car as well as any damages to anyone else's vehicle.

Accident benefit costs

And don't forget accident benefits if you injure another person. The injured person's insurance will provide them will the immediate coverage they need for their medical expenses, but their insurance company can then sue you for compensation. Claims where people have been even mildly injured can run into the millions of dollars.

Increase in future auto insurance premiums

So you got caught drinking and driving, paid your fine, escaped without an accident, but now it's time to renew your auto policy. That one DUI (Driving under the influence) charge will cost you for years to come.

Your driving record is automatically wiped out after a DUI charge and you have to start from scratch earning the trust of an insurance company. This means your rates could double or triple for the first year alone, and your rates will remain higher than normal for at least 6 years following the charge. This can add up to thousands of dollars over the years.

The bottom line

There are hefty financial implications of drinking and driving, but those effects pale in comparison to pain you can cause other people. If you are going to be drinking, please use a designated driver.

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