Does Car Insurance Cover Drink Driving Accidents in Australia?

Learn about the impact of drink driving on your car insurance with Savvy.

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, updated on February 15th, 2024       

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In Australia, driving while over the limit is a criminal offence. Causing a drink driving accident can therefore have significant legal and financial consequences, including the voidance of your car insurance policy.

In this guide, Savvy examines the implications of drink driving, looking at what happens if you cause an accident while drink driving and the impact on your car insurance.

Am I insured if I cause a drink driving accident?

No. If you are over the limit and cause an accident, your car insurance policy will be voided and you will not be covered for any claims. You will also not be covered if you refuse to take a test for alcohol after the incident.

If you have been drinking but are under the limit, any insurance claims could still be refused if you are deemed to be under the influence of or having your judgement affected by alcohol – your insurer will detail this in its product disclosure statement. You may also face other consequences down the line such as non-renewal of your policy or higher car insurance premiums.

Is it illegal to drive after drinking alcohol?

In Australia, if you hold a full licence and get behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 or above, you are breaking the law. If you are on a learner’s or provisional licence, your BAC must be zero.

If you are caught driving over the limit, penalties include demerit points and immediate loss of licence. However, even if you are under the legal limit, if you have been involved in an incident after drinking alcohol, you could face repercussions.

Can I get car insurance if I’ve been convicted of drink driving?

You will likely find it difficult to get car insurance if you have a criminal offence on your record such as drink driving conviction. Many insurers will refuse to cover a driver with a suspension on their record, although some may accept a single licence suspension on your record.

If you do find car insurance cover, you may face significantly higher premiums or excess.

How can I get back on the road after a drink driving conviction?

If you have a drink driving conviction and your licence has been suspended or cancelled, you will have to meet a number of requirements to be allowed to drive again. This may include:

  • Completing a drink driving education course: this teaches drink drivers about the effects of alcohol and drug use and its impact.
  • Fitting an alcohol interlock device: a small, breath-testing device fitted to your car’s ignition that measures the level of alcohol in your system.

Frequently asked questions about car insurance cover for drink driving

What happens if I am in an accident caused by a drink driver?

Road users, including drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians, who are injured in an accident caused by a drink driver can claim compensation from the driver. The drink driver’s compulsory third party (CTP) insurance – which is a mandatory requirement for all cars driven in Australia – should cover the liability of the at-fault driver.  

What are the consequences of drug driving?

In Australia, it is an offence to drive with illegal drugs in your system, as well as some prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medication that may affect your ability to drive safely. As with drink driving, if you are caught drug driving, you could face fines, licence suspension and imprisonment, and may find it more difficult to find car insurance cover further down the line.

Can I get car insurance if my licence has been suspended?

It may be possible to take out car insurance with a suspended licence, but your options will likely be limited. Most insurance providers require a valid licence to offer coverage and their decision will also depend on your individual circumstances and risk profile. If you are approved, you may face higher premiums as a high-risk driver.

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