If You Fall Asleep at the Wheel and Cause an Accident Will Insurance Pay?
Last Updated on March 6, 2020
Does car insurance cover falling asleep at the wheel? Or will your insurance claim be denied because you fell asleep while driving?
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how falling asleep at the wheel impacts your car insurance claim – if at all.
Insurance Should Cover Your Claim After Falling Asleep at the Wheel
When you buy car insurance, your insurer is agreeing to cover your risk. You pay your insurance company a premium, and your insurance company agrees to pay your liability in an accident.
If you cause an accident after falling asleep, then your car insurance company is still generally required to pay for your damages.
Your insurance company could raise premiums or cancel your insurance policy altogether after the accident. However, your insurance company is generally still required to pay for any damages resulting from the accident.
Remember that your car insurance company will only cover the cost of repairing your own vehicle if you have collision coverage. Collision coverage is not legally required in any state. Liability coverage, which is legally required in most states, covers any damage you cause to other people or property from an accident.
Which Type of Insurance Covers Falling Asleep at the Wheel?
Most car insurance policies consist of three main components, including liability coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage.
If you cause an accident after falling asleep at the wheel, then you will make a claim under your collision coverage to repair your own vehicle.
The other driver will make a claim through your property damage liability coverage to repair his vehicle. The other driver can also make a claim through your bodily injury liability coverage to cover his medical bills, lost wages, and other damages incurred as a result of the accident.
Liability coverage consists of two main components, including bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage will cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses incurred by anybody you injure in an accident. Property damage liability coverage will cover the cost of repairing the other driver’s vehicle or any other property you damage in the collision.
Your insurance policy has limits. Your state might require $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage, for example. If your policy meets the state’s minimum limits, then it might not be enough to cover the cost of the accident. You are at-fault for this accident and are required to pay to make things whole again. If your insurance does not cover the cost of making everything whole again, then you will need to pay any remaining expenses out of pocket. The other driver could sue you for pain and suffering, for example.
Inform Your Insurance Company If You Have a High Risk of Falling Asleep
Some people fall asleep at the wheel due to certain conditions – like insomnia, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy.
If you have any condition that could raise your risk of falling asleep at the wheel, then you should inform your insurance company of these factors immediately.
If you do not inform your insurer of your condition and then cause an accident, then your insurance company may be able to deny your claim. Your insurance company could argue that you did not disclose certain factors that significantly impacted your risk as a policyholder.
Insurers May Investigate Your Claim More Thoroughly
Generally, it’s rare for an insurance company to deny a claim because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. If you are an insurance policyholder in good standing, then your insurance company should approve your claim.
However, if your insurance company discovers you have a medical condition that you did not disclose, then the insurance company could investigate your claim further. Your insurance company could ask more questions, for example, and seek to determine how much of an impact that condition had on your accident.
Ultimately, even if the insurance company investigates your claim further, they should still pay your claim.
How to Reduce the Risk of Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Tips for reducing the risk of falling asleep while driving include:
- Improve your sleep habits and ensure you get enough sleep every night
- Avoid operating a vehicle for long periods of time without a break
- Pull over as soon as you start to feel drowsy
- Avoid driving a vehicle if taking medications or other substances that could cause drowsiness
It’s rare for an insurance company to deny a claim because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. However, if you have a medical condition that causes drowsiness and you did not disclose this condition to your insurer, then it’s possible – although rare – that your insurer could argue or even deny your claim.
Generally, insurance companies will pay your claim after an accident as long as you are a policyholder in good standing – regardless of whether you caused the accident after falling asleep or caused the accident while driving under the influence. However, your insurance premium should rise significantly after an at-fault accident.