Does Auto Insurance Cover Falling Asleep at the Wheel?

Last Updated on February 19, 2021

Driving is a huge responsibility. As soon as you get behind the wheel of a car and start driving, there is a chance that you could be involved in an accident. As such, every motorist is expected to use the utmost care while operating a motor vehicle. This includes ensuring that you are driving defensively, that you are following the rules of the road, and that you are keeping distractions to the absolute minimum.

Accidents can occur for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:

There’s another cause of collisions that many people are not aware of. What is it? – Falling asleep behind the wheel.

It can happen to anyone. We all live such busy lives and too many people aren’t sleeping for the recommended 8 hours they should be every night. When you’re overtired and you get behind the wheel of a car, you are putting yourself and others in serious danger. Why? – Because there’s a real possibility that you could fall asleep behind the wheel.

Falling Asleep While Driving = Major Catastrophe

falling asleep at the wheelBe honest: how many times have you been driving and felt your eyes getting heavy?

If you’ve felt drowsy while driving, you’ve probably noticed that you aren’t paying as much attention to the road as you should be. Your reflexes slow and it’s also likely that you’ve started veering out of your lane. Driving while drowsy significantly increases the risks of an accident; however, if you end up falling asleep behind the wheel, it’s almost guaranteed that a collision will occur. Even if your eyes are closed for just a few seconds, you could cause irreparable damage.

If you’re asleep behind the wheel, there’s a real chance that you could run a red light, cause a head-on collision, drive into a building or pole, or hit a pedestrian. These are just some of the events that can unfold, and none of them will result in “minor” injuries. In fact, falling asleep behind the wheel can result in major damages, and severe, or even life-threatening injuries.

If you’ve fallen asleep behind the wheel and you’re lucky enough to survive, it’s almost certain that you are going to face serious financial upheaval. You will be held liable for any accidents, damages, and injuries that you cause. You could also end up dealing with lawsuits. The costs of falling asleep while driving are almost guaranteed to be exorbitant.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Thank goodness I have insurance!” But, will your auto insurance provider actually cover the cost of damages, injuries, and litigation? Read on to find out.

Will Your Auto Insurance Cover You?

Generally, an accident that occurs as a result of falling asleep while driving would be covered by your liability auto insurance. However, your insurance provider will only be responsible for paying the limits of your policy. For example, if the limits of your liability policy are $25,000 for property damage and $50,000 for bodily injury, yet you are being sued for $500,000, it’s likely that you will still be in a serious financial situation.

Nevertheless, if you fall asleep while driving and cause a crash, it’s important to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to find out how you are protected.

Avoiding Serious Issues

If you think you are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, you might want to consider purchasing an umbrella policy. If you do end up causing a crash and the limits of your liability policy are maxed, an umbrella policy would kick in and cover the remaining cost.

Of course, even if you have an umbrella policy, the hope should be that you will never have to rely on it. Even if your policy will cover all damages, injuries, and litigation, the results of an accident that can occur when you fall asleep while driving can be irreparable. For instance, you could end up taking someone’s life, and no amount of money will ever fix that.

To avoid serious problems, take steps to reduce the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.

Ways you can reduce the risk include:

  • Making sure you get the proper amount of sleep each night
  • Improving your sleeping habits
  • Avoid driving for long periods of time
  • If you are going to be driving for a long time, take frequent breaks
  • Don’t operate a vehicle if you are taking medications that are known to cause drowsiness
  • Pull over if you start to feel drowsy

Most importantly, if you are feeling exhausted before you start driving, avoid getting behind the wheel completely. Even if your insurance will cover you, it’s just not worth the risk.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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