Medical conditions and car insurance
Your driving ability is one of the many factors used by insurance companies to calculate how much risk you present. If your driving is impeded by a medical issue, that presents an additional risk for your insurance company to take into account. Learning how to navigate how your condition affects your car insurance could prevent unwelcome surprises when it comes to your coverage.
How do health issues affect eligibility for car insurance?
There is no straight line from diagnosis to loss of your insurance. Health becomes an insurance issue if and when your medical condition affects the status of your driver's license. Your doctor can notify the DMV that you are not fit to drive. Unless you dispute this assessment with an appeal or your doctor updates your status, your license can be suspended. Your auto insurance company can drop you from coverage due to your suspended license. Insurers cannot judge whether your condition affects your driving — they must instead rely on your doctor’s judgment and the DMV's guidance.
If you suffer from a minor health issue, you may face a license restriction — such as the required use of corrective lenses or no driving at night — which should not affect your insurance eligibility.
How do health issues affect car insurance premiums?
If you have a pre-existing condition and are in the process of buying car insurance, the insurer may inquire about any medical conditions that might impair your ability to drive. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities — thereby barring car insurance companies from charging higher premiums strictly on the basis of a disability — insurers rate premiums based on the risk profile you present.
To an insurance company, a motorist with impaired vision or limited mobility represents an increased risk while driving. The insurer will charge accordingly, assigning a higher premium. While the numbers might indicate insurers are not abiding by ADA standards, the truth is that a driver’s risk factors — age, gender, credit score, driving record, and more — are integral details about which insurers care, regardless of whether the driver has a medical condition or not. In addition, drivers with medical issues may require extra coverage or endorsements for accessibility equipment or vehicle modifications, potentially raising premiums. These coverage options and additional insurance policies include:
Also known as adaptation or special modification to vehicle coverage, this add-on covers car modifications for accessibility like pedal extenders, wheelchair ramps, adjustable seats, and push-pull hand controls. You can only get this coverage if you already have comprehensive and collision coverage.
If your ride is out-of-service, this additional coverage accounts for any costs for a temporary mode of transportation.
This covers extra-auto equipment that should be insured. These include walking sticks, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, etc.
What medical conditions should be disclosed to a car insurance company?
It’s best to be completely transparent with your insurance company when shopping for quotes. Anything that affects your mental, physical, or cognitive state should be disclosed. Not doing so can risk your insurance coverage.
Even if your condition is temporary — for example, if you’re recovering from a stroke — you should abstain from driving until you get the go-ahead from your doctor. Here are some health conditions that could affect driving ability.
- Heart conditions
- Sleep apnea
- Vision issues like cataracts
- Chronic mental health issues
- Neurological conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or stroke
Insurance companies cannot deny you coverage solely due to a health condition — as long as it’s “controlled” with treatment or medication and your driving capabilities are vouched for by medical professionals, insurers and the DMV should clear you to drive. Keep in mind that in some states, insurance providers are allowed to void policies of customers with conditions — like epilepsy — that can be a serious driving liability if not controlled by treatment. With a condition like epilepsy — and depending on the state you reside in — you need to have been seizure-free for some period of time before your driving privileges are reinstated. This protects both the insured driver and any fellow drivers they encounter on the road from potential accidents, mitigating the risk that insurance companies are so keen to lower.
If you’re involved in a car accident that your medical condition may have played a role in causing, but you kept this detail under wraps from your insurer, they could refuse to pay your insurance claim upon discovery of this factor. There's no upside to failing to disclose a medical condition that could affect your driving to your insurance company. If you’re not sure whether your specific condition affects your driving ability, consult your doctor and the DMV.
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