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Driving with medical conditions

Car insurance for drivers with medical conditions

published: 31 July 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

Everything you need to know about car insurance and medical disclosure

If you develop a medical condition that affects your ability to drive, you have to tell your car insurance provider.

You must also inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) whether it’s a new condition (e.g., head injury) or an existing medical condition, such as diabetes, that’s become more severe.

That way, you know you’re staying within the law. This should allow you to make a claim on your car insurance policy if you’re in an accident.

What medical conditions can stop me from driving?

Certain medical conditions can affect the way you drive. Usually, this is because you can’t see well enough to react quickly or because you are at risk of suffering a seizure at the wheel. Medical conditions that can impair your ability to drive include:

  • Heart conditions

  • Strokes (or mini strokes)

  • Diabetes

  • Visual impairment (such as glaucoma)

  • Epilepsy

  • A severe head injury

  • A brain condition (such as dementia)

  • A physical disability

  • Sleep apnoea

  • Syncope (fainting)

You have to notify the DVLA about these conditions, so your ability to drive can be assessed. Depending on your condition, you may be required to take certain precautions, such as always wearing glasses while driving. Alternatively, you may be told it’s no longer safe for you to drive.

You must also stop driving if your doctor tells you to. What’s more, you should be ready to surrender your licence if you’re told to stop for three months or more. You can then apply to get it back if and when you’re able to drive.

Do I need to disclose medical conditions to my car insurance provider?

Yes, medical conditions should generally be disclosed to both your car insurer and the DVLA. You may be asked to pay a higher premium for car insurance as a result. However, failing to give your insurer full medical disclosure could invalidate your policy and lead to any claims being refused.

Not disclosing a medical condition to the DVLA, meanwhile, can mean a fine of up to £1,000. It may even result in prosecution if you cause an accident.

Driving in car

What medical conditions should I report to the DVLA?

You have to tell the DVLA if you develop certain medical conditions, which are known as “notifiable” medical conditions. It’s also your responsibility to notify the DVLA if your medical condition or disability has become more severe since you got your driving licence.

Medical conditions that can affect your ability to drive include diabetes, epilepsy, and glaucoma. For a full list of notifiable conditions, check out the DVLA website.

What happens when I tell the DVLA about a medical condition?

When you tell the DVLA about a medical condition, it will launch a medical enquiry that could involve:

  • Contacting your doctor

  • Arranging for you to be examined

  • Asking you to take a driving or eyesight test

You can contact the DVLA if you have any questions during this process. This will result in one of four outcomes:

  1. You can continue to have a full driving licence

  2. You can have a driving licence but with a shorter expiry date (of between one and five years)

  3. You have to adapt your car with special controls to keep driving

  4. You can no longer drive

How long do DVLA medical enquiries take?

You will usually get a decision from the DVLA within six weeks of informing it about your medical condition. If your case is going to take longer than that, you should receive a letter from the DVLA explaining that.

Do I need to tell the DVLA if I’m on medication?

You may need to tell the DVLA if you need to start taking certain long-term medications. For example, you would need to inform them if you’re prescribed insulin treatment lasting more than three months.

You don’t need to inform the DVLA about a short course of medication, even if that medication could impair your ability to drive. As long as, of course, it’s not been prescribed due to a “notifiable” medical condition developing or getting worse.

However, bear in mind that it’s illegal to drive in the UK on certain prescription drugs, including morphine, diazepam, methadone, and other medicines that make you unfit to drive. Therefore, it’s vital to follow the advice of the doctor who prescribes them. Otherwise, you could face a year’s driving ban, an unlimited fine, or up to six months in prison.

Will I pay more for car insurance if I have medical conditions?

It depends on the insurer. Some insurance companies could charge higher premiums for people living with medical conditions. This is because your condition may put you in a ‘high risk’ category.

However, with the aid of MoneySuperMarket, you will be able to compare a wide range of deals and find the one that best fits your pockets and needs.

Can I drive while waiting for the results of a DVLA medical enquiry?

Yes, you can usually keep driving while you wait for the results of a DVLA medical enquiry. However, make sure your doctor agrees you’re fit to drive. The advice you get from your doctor should follow the guidance issued by the DVLA.

Can I drive if I have hearing impairments?

The answer is yes. As things stand, there are no restrictions for driving with a hearing impairment, which means you can still drive a vehicle if you suffer from one. What’s more, you are not required to tell or be assessed by your insurer and the DVLA.

However, if you drive for a living (e.g., lorry drivers), there is an exception. In fact, commercial drivers who have a hearing loss of more than 40 decibels have to sustain regular check-ups.

Can I drive after having surgery?

If you have undergone general anaesthesia, bear in mind that it will stay in your body for about 48 hours. This means that it’s important you do not drive for at least two days after your operation. When leaving the hospital, ask a friend or family member to offer you a lift home.

Depending on the surgery you’ve had, it may take you a little longer to recover. In this case, it is wise to contact your doctor, as they will be able to advise on when you can safely get back behind the wheel. As for the DVLA, you will only need to inform them about any major operation that stops you from driving for three months or longer.

How can I find car insurance that covers medical conditions?

Car insurance can cost more if you have certain medical conditions, so it’s even more important to shop around for the best deal. Find cheap car cover for people with medical conditions by comparing car insurance policies with MoneySuperMarket.

Finding the perfect car insurance that covers medical conditions

Car insurance can cost more if you have certain medical conditions. Therefore, it’s even more important to shop around for the best deal.

Find cheap car cover for people with medical conditions by comparing car insurance policies with MoneySuperMarket. Just tell us a bit about you and your medical history, and we’ll scour our market to find the right policy for you. You can also get in touch for more information on what medical conditions have to be declared for car insurance.

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