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What medical conditions have to be declared for car insurance?

If you don't declare medical conditions that affect your driving to the DVLA, you could end up with a fine. You might invalidate your car insurance too. This is because these medical conditions can affect your ability to drive safely.

But which medical conditions have to be declared for car insurance and to the DVLA and how do you do it?

Person conducting eye test


What are the DVLA notifiable conditions?

Conditions you must notify the DVLA of (known as notifiable conditions) are:

  • diabetes
  • sleep apnoea
  • fainting spells
  • heart conditions
  • epilepsy
  • stroke
  • glaucoma

If you have any condition that may affect your ability to drive safely, you should notify the DVLA. If you don’t, you could be fined up to £1,000.

You may also be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result, and you could invalidate your car insurance.

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Medical conditions and your car insurance

If you have an undisclosed medical condition, it could affect your car insurance and have serious consequences.

If you claim on your car insurance and have a medical condition that impacts your ability to drive, it could potentially invalidate your claim.

So it’s vital to tell your car insurer about any medical conditions when you take out your car insurance, or when you're diagnosed with a serious medical condition.

You may need to pay more as a result but you should at least get the peace of mind that your cover won’t be invalidated.


The DVLA and medical conditions

Some of the more common conditions that people frequently ask about with regards to driving include:

Let’s take a look at each in turn:


Epilepsy and driving

Due to the nature of the condition, epilepsy has the ability to affect driving safety quite significantly.

If you've had an epileptic seizure and you've lost consciousness, the DVLA will take your licence away.

You can reapply to get it back after 6 months, provided you've not had any seizures for that time.

The type of seizure is also important, for example if you only get them at night.

Medical advisors will act on the information you and your doctors send them about your epilepsy. For more information visit GOV.UK.


Driving after a stroke

When it comes to strokes and driving, you only need to notify the DVLA if you’re still having problems 1 month later.

If you’re not sure whether you’re fit to drive, then you can ask your doctor whether you need to notify DVLA. Visit GOV.UK for more info.


Diabetes and driving

Whether you need to notify the DVLA about your diabetes largely depends on what type of medication you’re on.

If your condition is treated by tablets or non-insulin injections, check with your doctor to find out whether you need to notify the DVLA.

If your diabetes is treated with insulin for more than 3 months, then you must notify the DVLA.

For more information, including how to report diabetes, you should visit the GOV.UK's diabetes and driving page.


Mental health conditions

Mental health problems are common throughout the general population. Many of those who have a mental health condition see no ill effects on their ability to drive.

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, according to mental health charity Mind.

When it comes to notifying the DVLA, mental health issues are usually judged on periods of stability and the driver’s particular condition.

For example, if you have anxiety or depression you only need to tell the DVLA if they affect your ability to drive safely.

You should ask your doctor if you’re not sure if your anxiety or depression could affect your driving.

There are other mental health conditions where you need to notify the DVLA. These include bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia.


Driving eyesight rules

There’s a minimum standard of vision that every driver must meet.

You must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres, a test that should be familiar from your driving test.

For the purposes of driving this can be completed with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary.

And you must wear glasses or contact lenses every time you drive if you need them to meet the required standard of vision for driving.


Can I drive with 1 eye?

You can still drive if you only have vision in 1 eye, as long as you can meet the required standard of vision for driving in that eye.

You should ask your doctor or an eye specialist if you’re not sure.


Driving on medication

Some medicines do affect your ability to drive safely. If you're prescribed any of the following it’s vital to discuss driving with your doctor first:

  • Amphetamines such as dextroamphetamine and selegiline
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine or opiate based drugs (such as codeine, tramadol or fentanyl)
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

You may still be able to drive while taking these drugs, however you need to take advice from the doctor prescribing them.


Driving after surgery

If you've had a general anaesthetic you’ll not be able to drive for at least 48 hours.

Beyond that you must follow the advice of your doctor. They’ll want to know, for example, you’re comfortable in the driving position and fully able to perform an emergency stop.

It’s always a good idea to inform your insurance company or check your policy wording - some policies might require you to stop driving for a specific number of weeks.

Should your recovery take longer than 3 months you must notify the DVLA.


Driving with cancer

Cancer shouldn’t necessarily stop you driving. You only need to notify the DVLA if:

  • Your doctor tells you to
  • There are problems with your brain or nervous system
  • You're restricted to certain vehicles that have been adapted for you
  • Your medication gives you side-effects which impair your ability to drive

Driving with a heart condition

Whether or not you can drive with heart problems depends on the nature and severity of your condition.

It’s important to discuss driving with your specialist and follow their advice. The vehicle you need to drive is a consideration too - rules might be tighter if you drive for a living.

It’s also important to stop driving immediately if you suffer from dizziness, blackouts or fainting and seek medical advice.

If you cannot drive for 3 months or more you must surrender your licence and apply for it again once you’re fit to drive.


Driving with physical disabilities

Technological advancements are making it easier for people with physical disabilities to drive.

However it’s still important that you notify the DVLA when you first apply for a licence or if you develop a notifiable condition or disability down the line.

The DVLA then assess whether you're fit to drive.

If you have a physical disability you could be eligible for a blue badge. To find out more, read our guide on blue badge schemes.


Driving with a hearing condition

If you're driving a car or motorcycle you don't need to notify the DVLA that you’re deaf. However you need to notify the DVLA if you hold a bus, coach or lorry licence.


How to notify DVLA of a medical condition

If you want to report a condition to the DVLA, you can do it online or by post. The online process has a comprehensive list of conditions.


What happens once I’ve notified the DVLA of a medical condition?

Once you’ve notified your condition to the DVLA, what happens next depends on the condition.

Generally, the DVLA state what restrictions, if any, they decide to impose on your licence.

For example, it could impose a 1, 2 or 3-year restriction.

This relates to how often you’ll have to get re-examined for the condition to see if you're fit to drive.


Other health conditions and driving

This guide has only covered some of the medical conditions that can affect your ability to drive safety.

For a full list, check out the government guide on health conditions and driving.

And if you’re not sure whether a condition could affect your driving then you should always seek professional medical advice.

And if you don't feel up to driving or don't feel safe to drive - don't drive. After all better safe than sorry.