You have to tell your car insurance provider if you develop a medical condition that affects your ability to drive.
You must also inform the driver and vehicle licensing agency (DVLA), whether it’s a new condition such as a 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 – and should be able to make a claim on your car insurance policy if you’re in an accident.
What medical conditions can stop me driving?
Certain medical conditions can affect the way you drive, usually 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)
- Visual impairment (such as glaucoma)
- 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 it can assess your ability to drive. Depending on your condition, you may be required to take certain precautions – such as always wearing glasses while driving – or you may be told it’s no longer safe for you to drive.
You must also stop driving if your doctor tells you to; and 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, but 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 – and possible prosecution if you cause an accident.
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, which will result in one of four outcomes:
- You can continue to have full driving licence
- You can have a driving licence but with a shorter expiry date (of between one and five years)
- You have to adapt your car with special controls to keep driving
- 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 have to start taking certain medications long term. For example 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 it’s not been prescribed due to a “notifiable” medical condition developing or getting worse.
But beware: it’s illegal to drive in the UK on certain prescription drugs, including morphine, diazepam, and methadone, if they make you unfit to drive. So 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.
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 – as long as your doctor says you’re fit to drive. The advice you get from your doctor should follow the guidance issued by the DVLA.
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.