Does Legalizing Marijuana Increase Car Insurance Premiums?
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Marijuana has been legalized in more than half of the 50 states. Jerry analyzed over 1 million points of driver data to examine how marijuana legalization has impacted the frequency of DUIs and other driving violations.
In some states, DUIs are interchangeable with DWIs, or driving while intoxicated/impaired, after alcohol or drug consumption. Car insurance rates increase by 80% on average after a DUI.
Although DUIs make up a bigger percentage of violations in states where marijuana is legal, this didn’t have the effect you’d expect on car insurance premiums.
Does marijuana legalization have any impact on your car insurance premiums?
Marijuana legalization doesn’t have a big impact on car insurance premiums
It may come as a surprise that car insurance premiums are almost identical in states where marijuana is illegal compared to states where it’s legal.
Jerry found that drivers pay an average of $233.68 per month in states where marijuana is illegal. In states where marijuana has been decriminalized, drivers pay around $232.99 a month in premiums.
You might assume that the risk of dangerous driving behaviors increases when the drug is legal, so why don’t premiums also increase?
Does driver risk change when marijuana is legal?
According to our data, in states where marijuana is illegal, DUIs only make up around 2.9% of violations. In comparison, DUIs account for 5.3% of violations in states where marijuana is legal.
There could be a lot of underlying factors that help explain why this is the case. According to USA Today, health experts found that drivers are more likely to drive while high after marijuana is legalized.
Jake Nelson, AAA director for traffic safety advocacy and research, said “The problem here is that people don’t think they’re going to get caught.”
However, there isn’t a lot of data about whether fatal crashes have risen significantly in states with legal marijuana.
Premiums are usually a good indicator of driver riskiness, and it’s important to note that they remain nearly the same whether or not marijuana is legal. This could mean that car insurance companies don’t think driver risk changes substantially even if recreational marijuana is legalized.
This doesn’t mean you should drive under the influence
Even if your premiums aren’t affected by the legalization of marijuana, this doesn’t mean you should drive while high. Marijuana intoxication can have similar effects to alcohol including delayed reaction times and impaired spatial awareness.
It’s harder to tell if people are impaired after marijuana use, but it doesn’t mean they are fit to drive. USA Today reported that alcohol-related crashes still remain a far larger problem than stoned drivers. But, it’s not worth it to put yourself and other road users at risk by driving impaired.
If you’re caught driving high, you’d face the same consequences as you would driving with excessive blood alcohol levels. This means DUIs, fines, and potential license suspension.
If you’ve been cited for a DUI and want to find affordable car insurance, Jerry can help. Jerry is a personal car insurance broker that fits in your pocket. The app will help you compare rates from 50 top providers to get you the best coverage for the best price. Jerry can even help you cancel your old policy.