Can insurance deny your claim if you have a DUI?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can insurance deny your claim if you have a DUI?

I totaled my truck, and the police gave me a dui citation. Can my insurance refuse to pay my truck off even though I haven’t been officially convicted of a DUI? They said that it was in my poilicy that I couldn’t drive over the legal alcohol limit and still be covered, but they never gave that to me in writing until after the accident.

Asked on September 22, 2017 under Accident Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They can only deny you coverage if the policy (including any addendums or endorsements to it) stated that they could: the policy is a contract, and therefore they can only deny coverage when the terms of the policy/contract permit it. 
Furthermore, the grounds for denial must be in your policy prior to the incident. Therefore, to see if they can do this, review your policy documents and see what they say. It is very common, however, for the insurer to be able to deny coverage for DUI; that said, it is  certainly advisable to double check your policy documents.
If you were driving impaired, they can deny you coverage even if you were not convicted of DUI--all that matters is that you were driving under conditions that, per the policy, allow denial. If you believe that you were not impaired, you could sue the insurer, if they deny coverage, for "breach of contract": if you can prove in court that you did not meet the policy-determined standards for denial of coverage, they'd have to cover you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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