Can You Get Car Insurance If You Have Dementia?

Last Updated on October 24, 2021

If a loved one has dementia, then you may be concerned about car insurance.

Generally, you cannot get car insurance if you have been diagnosed with dementia. However, insurance providers have different rules regarding dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative brain conditions.

If you or a loved one is dealing with dementia and needs car insurance, then keep reading to discover everything you need to know about whether or not you can get car insurance with dementia.

Notify Your Insurer Immediately After a Dementia Diagnosis

If you have been diagnosed with dementia, then you need to notify your insurer immediately.

If you cause an accident and have been previously diagnosed with dementia, then an insurer may refuse to cover your claim. You did not disclose the risk to your insurer, and your insurer has the right to refuse your claim.

Each insurer approaches dementia differently. However, most insurers will cancel your policy if you have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Insurers are unlikely to raise rates because of your dementia; instead, they’ll cancel your policy altogether.

Good drivers are alert, think clearly, and make smart decisions. Dementia can prevent drivers from doing all of these things. When you cannot drive safely with dementia, you need to stop driving.

People with Moderate to Severe Alzheimer’s Disease Should Never Drive

According to the National Institute on Aging, people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease should never get behind the wheel.

People with very mild Alzheimer’s may be able to drive safely in certain conditions.

However, as dementia gets worse, it can quickly impact driving. Dementia makes your memory and decision-making skills worse over time. If you have dementia, you may not be able to react to an emergency as quickly. You could hurt yourself, passengers, or others on the road.

Signs that Someone with Dementia Should Stop Driving

People with very mild dementia may be able to drive safely. However, it’s important to monitor the individual for signs they should stop driving.

Signs that someone with dementia should stop driving include:

  • New, unexplained dents and scratches on the vehicle
  • Getting lost while driving for simple errands
  • An unexpected increase in traffic tickets, warnings, citations, or violations
  • Comments from friends or neighbors about driving
  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Other health issues worsening driving ability, like reduced vision, hearing, or mobility

Doctors may also recommend a change in driving habits. A doctor can monitor the condition for changes. As mild dementia turns into a more severe condition, the doctor may tell the patient to stop driving.

Some States Require Drivers with Alzheimer’s to Stop Driving

Your insurer may cancel your policy after a dementia diagnosis. However, some states forbid you from driving after an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. Even if you could get car insurance, you would be unable to legally drive.

In some states, doctors need to report Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnoses to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. California, for example, requires doctors to notify the DMV of the condition by law.

In other states, anyone can report a bad driver to the DMV. Adult children may report their parents to the DMV, for example, to prevent them from driving and harming others.

When the DMV receives reports of an unsafe driver, the DMV may ask the driver to retake a driver’s test to verify their ability. IF the driver cannot demonstrate their ability, the DMV may revoke their license.

Other States Allow Drivers with Dementia to Drive Until Told Otherwise

Although some states restrict drivers with dementia, other states allow drivers with dementia to continue driving until instructed not to by a driver.

However, most states have laws governing the disclosure of medical conditions that impact your driving. You must disclose these medical conditions when renewing your license.

Furthermore, most states allow drivers with dementia to keep driving until they receive an alert from a licensed medical professional. If your doctor believes it’s unsafe for you to drive, then the doctor may alert the DMV in any state to restrict your driving privileges.

Prepare to Re-Take a Driving Test

If you have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s and want to continue driving, and there are no legal or insurance issues, then prepare to re-take a driving test.

Your state DMV may require you to re-take a driving test to verify your driving ability.

In California, for example, the DMV may issue a ‘Request for Driver Re-Examination.’ The driver needs to complete a driving test.

Meanwhile, people in Oregon can submit a Driver Evaluation Request, and doctors can submit a report to the At-Risk Driver Program of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

After the driving test, the DMV may issue a full loss of driving privileges. Or, the DMV may restrict driving at certain times of the day.

If a loved one has dementia and you are concerned about their driving ability, then take a driving test before you are required to do so by the DMV.

You Must Disclose Medical Conditions that Impact Driving Ability

All states require drivers to disclose medical conditions that could impact their driving ability.

When renewing your license with the DMV, you may need to disclose your dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

If you fail to disclose this information when renewing your license, the DMV could restrict your driving privileges or insurers could deny future claims.

Contact Your Insurer

Your insurer needs to know about medical conditions that affect your ability to drive. If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, then your insurer needs to know about this diagnosis.

Failing to disclose this diagnosis to your insurer could lead to denial of your insurance claim. If you cause an accident and it’s later revealed that you hid a dementia diagnosis, then your insurer could rightfully deny your claim.

After receiving information about your dementia diagnosis, your insurer may cancel your policy. However, insurers treat Alzheimer’s and dementia in different ways.

Final Word

If you have dementia or Alzheimer’s, then it can be difficult to get auto insurance. In fact, some insurers cancel your policy (or stop renewing it) after a diagnosis.

Additionally, some states forbid you from driving if you have been diagnosed with dementia. In all states, your doctor may alert the DMV to your condition, and the DMV may restrict your driving privileges.

Assess your loved one’s driving ability regularly. Talk to a doctor to verify it’s safe to drive.

People with dementia or Alzheimer’s can cause serious accidents. They can harm themselves and others. Many people wait until it’s too late.

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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