Can an insurance company refuse to pay in a DWI case?

My son totaled his car, which we insured. The police report indicated he had a sizeable amount of Xanax in his blood, which was not prescribed. The car was called a total by the appraiser with a payout of $6,700. However, the adjuster then left a message indicating she must speak with our son before any processing is to take place. No charges by police as yet, and the accident was 10 days ago.

Asked on September 25, 2015 under Criminal Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Most insurers have what is known as an "exclusion" i.e. exception for coverage regarding certain events. A a DUI is one of these. You'll have to check your policy but chances are it is there. If so, then they do not have to cover your claim if it is not, then you shoud be compensated for your claim.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Check the terms of the insurance policy, which is a contract. The insurer must pay whenever, but only whenever, the terms of the policy say that it should and is not required to pay when there are exclusions or exceptions in the policy. It is common for insurance policies to include exclusions for having to pay in DUI cases if your policy has such an exclusion, that exclusion is legal and the insurer can avoid paying.

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