Learning from Lindsay Lohan's motorist mess

John Egan

Some say that Lindsay Lohan's life is a wreck. But one thing that's undeniable: Her car wrecks have gotten her into plenty of trouble.

Her latest highway horror: In June 2012, the actress crashed a rented Porsche into the back of an 18-wheeler. The car was totaled. Lohan walked away from the crash with relatively minor injuries. The kicker to the whole episode: Given her previous roadway run-ins (drunk driving, for instance), an insurance policy taken out by the producer of her in-the-works movie "Liz & Dick" prohibits Lohan from driving while the flick is being filmed.

Lohan undoubtedly has other ways of getting around Hollywood, so the Porsche drama probably won't force her to hitch a ride with friends or on public transportation.

So, if you're an average motorist -- like most of us are -- what can we learn from Lindsay? First and foremost, be aware that if you rack up a record of wrecks and DUI's, you'll pay sky-high premiums for car insurance.

"Ultimately, the decisions we make and risks we take can have a dramatic impact on what we pay for insurance. For Lohan, paying a lot for insurance may not be a big deal in the overall scheme of things; however, to you and me, it could lead to us taking the bus or train instead of driving," says Tully Lehman, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Network of California.

In California, where the crash happened, consumers with clean driving records can buy car insurance from practically any company, according to Lehman.

"However, tarnish that record, and your options drop off dramatically. With a record of at-fault accidents and DUI's similar to Lohan's, your options could reduce to about 10 percent of companies that would take you on," Lehman says.

Here's what insurance broker Billy Van Jura has to say about the Lohan debacle.

"Find out where she is," he jokes, "and be sure to not walk or drive anywhere near her."

Van Jura adds: "But seriously, on a weekly basis I have people with similar records ask me for insurance; she just happens to be an attractive news story. Irresponsibility and recklessness are in your neighborhood, as well so drive defensively."

Van Jura stresses that driving is a privilege, not a right.

"Unlike a hot-shot B-list celebrity, you may not have the resources or attorneys to keep you from losing your license. It happens," Van Jura says. "Then if you keep your license and have a record with this much frequency of accidents and tickets, you may not even be able to insure a car so you can drive."

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