Will My Car Insurance Go Up If I Have Epilepsy?
Last Updated on June 20, 2020
If you have epilepsy, then you may be concerned about the cost of car insurance. Do insurance companies raise premiums for people with epilepsy? Or do you pay the same rates as other drivers?
Epilepsy is a condition that can lead to seizures, which means it can affect someone’s ability to drive safely. In most states, epileptics must meet certain requirements in order to legally drive.
As long as you meet the driving requirements for your state (i.e. you have a valid driver’s license), you can get car insurance as an epileptic. A car insurance cannot deny you insurance solely because you suffer from epilepsy. The car insurance company cannot charge you higher rates specifically because of your epilepsy.
In some states, however, insurers can cancel coverage for epilepsy. Your doctor may inform the DMV that epilepsy impacts your driving, for example, which could force your insurer to raise rates.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about car insurance and epilepsy.
Epilepsy and Car Insurance
Epilepsy is a cognitive disorder where someone experiences unprovoked seizures due to changes in brain activity.
Epilepsy is more common than many people realize. You can be diagnosed with epilepsy if you have one or more seizures caused by an unknown condition. That means millions of Americans – approximately 1 in 30 people – will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their life.
Some people with epilepsy can control their seizures, allowing them to safely drive.
Generally, as long as you can safely complete a road test and get your driver’s license, you can legally drive with epilepsy, buy car insurance, and enjoy the same benefits as any other driver.
However, some states require epileptics to meet certain requirements to receive a license.
In all states, however, insurers are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That act states, among other things, that companies cannot discriminate against people because of a disability. Because of the ADA, insurers cannot charge someone higher rates because of their disability, nor can they deny someone car insurance because of their disability.
However, the ADA does not apply to everything: if someone has a disability that increases their risk of causing an accident, then insurers can cancel coverage. This is the case with certain severe forms of epilepsy. In severe cases of epilepsy, an insurer may cancel coverage because you are a higher driving risk.
How Epilepsy Impacts Driving
Epilepsy can cause seizures that alter your awareness, consciousness, or muscle control. If you have epilepsy, then you may not be able to legally drive – depending on your state and a doctor’s diagnosis.
In most states, you need to be seizure-free for at least 6 to 12 months to receive a driver’s license.
You may also need to show proof to the DMV that you are taking treatment for epilepsy – like medication or therapy – to receive a license.
Insurers Can Drop Coverage for Epilepsy in Certain States
In some states, insurance companies are allowed to cancel coverage for customers with health problems – assuming those health problems make driving unsafe.
Epilepsy, for example, causes seizures. If you experience a seizure while driving, you could easily kill yourself or someone else, cause a serious accident, or damage someone’s property, among other issues.
However, insurance companies cannot deny coverage without just cause.
Epilepsy only becomes an insurance issue if it becomes a driver’s license issue. If your doctor notifies the DMV or court that you are unfit to drive due to a medical issue, then the DMV could suspend your license.
Then, your insurance company drops you because of your license status – not for a specific health reason.
Yes, your insurance company indirectly canceled coverage because of your epilepsy. Technically, however, it was the DMV that canceled your license because of epilepsy, and your insurer cancel coverage because of the canceled license.
Insurance companies treat other health issues in a similar way. If you have any medical condition that affects your ability to safely drive, and the doctor notifies the DMV of this condition, then your license could be suspended, and your insurer could cancel your policy.
Other medical conditions that could impact insurance coverage and driving status include unstable diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, depression, substance addiction, or aggression.
With treatment, your epilepsy may become less of a driving issue, and you could return to the road safely. In this case, your doctor could file an appeal to the DMV.
Will Car Insurance Premiums Rise Because of Epilepsy?
Legally, you must inform your DMV that you have epilepsy – or any other medical condition that affects your driving. You are not legally required to inform your insurer to you have epilepsy, although they might see this data by contacting the DMV.
Even if you do not disclose your epilepsy to your insurer, your insurance coverage should be valid as long as you told the DMV. You have done nothing wrong: you have told all applicable parties about your disability, and you can continue driving legally.
However, your car insurance could go up in the future.
If you have a seizure while driving and cause an accident, for example, then your insurer will increase your rates. You caused an accident, and you were at-fault for this accident. Your insurer charges higher premiums to anyone who causes an accident – regardless of your disability.
A single at-fault accident could raise insurance rates by 30 to 50%, depending on your insurer, your state, and your driving history, among other factors.
Can an Insurer Cancel Coverage for Epilepsy?
An insurance company may or may not know you have epilepsy. Unless your doctor notifies the DMV or court of your epilepsy, it’s unlikely your insurer knows about your epilepsy.
If the court or DMV is aware of your epilepsy, however, and if a doctor considers your epilepsy to be a driving risk, then an insurer can cancel coverage for epilepsy. At this point, the DMV could suspend your license, and your insurer could suspend coverage.
Insurance companies will not cancel an existing insurance policy for no reason. In most cases, insurance companies only cancel a policy for serious incidents – like multiple major accidents within a short period, failure to pay your policy, or fraud.
Insurers can also not renew your policy. With non-renewal, your insurance company decides it no longer wants you as a client, so your policy is not renewed.
Generally, if you have epilepsy that impacts driving, then your insurer will cancel your insurance policy (assuming the DMV has suspended your license).
Final Word on Car Insurance with Epilepsy
In some states, car insurance companies can cancel your policy because of epilepsy. Epilepsy increases your risk while driving, and insurers are allowed to cancel your policy for that reason.
In other states, insurance companies cannot discriminate against people with epilepsy. Unless the person causes an at-fault accident or similar incident, the insurance company cannot raise rates or cancel coverage because of epilepsy.
Insurers will only cancel car insurance or raise rates if a doctor alerts the DMV to your epilepsy, claiming it increases your driving risk. If you have a minor case of epilepsy, or if your doctor never informs the DMV, then it’s unlikely your epilepsy will impact insurance rates.
Overall, epilepsy can affect insurance premiums – especially if it’s a severe form of epilepsy that impacts driving. However, if your epilepsy does not affect your driving, and if a doctor has not diagnosed a driving risk, then you should not experience insurance issues or pay higher rates for insurance as an epileptic.