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Cannabis DUI and Car Insurance — What You Need to Know

If you are involved in a cannabis DUI, you can face serious financial repercussions, legal consequences,  and personal hardships such as losing your job, your vehicle, obtaining car insurance or even relationships with your family and friends.

Some of the biggest questions and complications that can arise if you are in a cannabis DUI-related car accident are related to car insurance. Here are answers to the biggest questions about car insurance and cannabis DUI charges.


Does Cannabis Legalization Cause More Collision Insurance Claims?


A 2018 Highway Loss Data Institute analysis estimated a 6% increase in collision claims with the implementation of cannabis legalization in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, compared with neighboring states that have not legalized adult-use cannabis. The combined-state analysis was based on collision data from January 2012 through October 2017 and was controlled for differences in the rated driver populations, the insured vehicle fleet, the mix of urban versus rural exposure, unemployment, weather, and seasonality.

Poly-drug driving, or driving under the influence of two or more drugs, is the most common reason that drivers who test positive for cannabis get into fatal car accidents. The most common substance in poly-drug drivers is alcohol, followed by THC. The combination of alcohol and THC is by far the most common poly-drug combination.

A 2018 report from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission found that starting in 2012, poly-drug drivers became the most prevalent type of impaired driver involved in the state’s fatal crashes. Furthermore, the commission reported that since 2012, the number of poly-drug drivers involved in fatal crashes increased an average of 15% every year.


Does Car Insurance Cover a Cannabis DUI-Related Accident?


In most states, insurance cannot deny coverage for a collision or comprehensive claim, whether you were driving under the influence or not. If you are involved in a cannabis DUI-related accident, in general, your liability insurance will cover the other vehicle’s driver and passengers up to your policy limit the same as it would in any other accident.

However, some automobile insurance companies argue that damages from a cannabis DUI are based on intentional negligent conduct, and will sometimes deny coverage on that basis for injuries to other drivers or passengers.

Similarly, sometimes lawyers in personal injury cases in cannabis DUI-related accidents may argue that driving under the influence constitutes an intentional act of misconduct. If the case goes to trial and the plaintiff is awarded damages for the driver’s misconduct, it is possible the DUI driver’s insurance company will not pay for damages.

An umbrella policy is an extra insurance that provides coverage beyond the existing limits of other policies, such as coverage for injuries, property damage, certain lawsuits, and personal liability situations. However, an umbrella policy will likely not cover costs if you commit a crime, such as driving under the influence.


Could Car Insurance Rates Be Affected by a Cannabis DUI?


Car insurance company practices are evolving to keep up with the ever-changing cannabis laws, and there is uncertainty about whether cannabis use could become a factor in setting rates. Regardless of the circumstances, any kind of car accident or DUI conviction can negatively affect your car insurance, possibly resulting in higher premiums, cancellation of your coverage, or difficulty in finding new coverage.

The most important piece of advice to prevent a cannabis DUI? Don’t drive high.


Final Thoughts


Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access legal defense. That is why it is important to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.

If you’re a medical or recreational cannabis consumer concerned about potential DUI charges, consider what a reepher membership has to offer.

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