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Do I need to tell my car insurance after a stroke?

Quick Answer

Yes, you should inform your car insurance company if you have had a stroke. A stroke is considered a serious medical condition that can impact your ability to drive safely. Notifying your insurer allows them to reevaluate your policy and make any necessary adjustments. Failure to report significant health changes like a stroke can potentially lead to denial of claims or cancellation of your policy.

Should I report a stroke to my auto insurer?

If you have suffered a stroke, it is highly recommended to contact your car insurance provider and inform them of your condition. Here are some key reasons why reporting your stroke is important:

It’s often legally required

Most auto insurance contracts require policyholders to report any significant health changes that could affect driving safety. A stroke falls into this category. Not disclosing your stroke would be considered failing to meet your contractual obligations.

It allows the insurer to reassess your risk

Insurers calculate your premium based on the level of risk you represent. Health conditions like a stroke can alter your risk profile. Letting the insurer know allows them to reevaluate your policy rates and coverage to match your current situation.

It impacts your ability to claim

If you fail to disclose your stroke, the insurer may deny any future accident claims. They could argue that your lack of disclosure amounts to misrepresentation of risk. Reporting it protects your ability to rightfully make a claim if needed.

It avoids cancellation of your policy

Not informing your provider of your stroke means you are essentially misrepresenting yourself on your policy application. This gives the insurer grounds to potentially cancel your coverage altogether. Reporting it maintains transparency and compliance.

How long after a stroke should I tell my insurance?

You should notify your auto insurance company about your stroke as soon as realistically possible. Don’t wait until your policy is up for renewal or your next premium payment comes due. The sooner you inform them, the sooner your insurer can reassess your policy and make any necessary adjustments. This protects you from driving uninsured.

Ideally, you should contact your provider within 1-2 weeks following your stroke diagnosis or discharge from hospital treatment. This gives them timely information to reevaluate your driving risk. Waiting months to report it leaves a lengthy gap where you are not accurately insured.

What information do I need to provide about my stroke?

When you contact your insurance company, they will need some key details about your stroke. Having this information ready can help facilitate the reporting process:

Date the stroke occurred

The insurer will need to know when you suffered the stroke. This establishes the timeline for your health changes.

Type and severity of stroke

Knowing whether you had an ischemic stroke (clot) or hemorrhagic stroke (bleed) and how severe it was will assist the insurer in understanding your driving risk profile. Details on any impairment or disability may be required.

Ongoing treatment and recovery

Your provider will want information on your rehabilitation therapy, medications, doctor follow-ups, and any counseling you are undergoing to manage stroke effects. This demonstrates your recovery actions.

Physician clearance to drive

The insurer may request a letter from your doctor stating you are medically cleared to operate a vehicle safely or detailing any restrictions. This evidence is important for correctly rating your policy.

DMV reporting

They may ask if you have notified your state DMV of your stroke. In most states, this is also required for continued licensure after major health events.

Should I notify my DMV after having a stroke?

Yes, having a stroke is considered a medical issue that impairs driving ability. Most states legally require you to report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This allows them to possibly reevaluate your license status.

Exactly when and how to notify your state DMV depends on individual state laws. Many states require reporting a stroke within 5-30 days of occurrence. You may need to provide medical reports from your doctor.

Failing to notify the DMV of your stroke could potentially lead to license suspension or revocation if you are deemed unfit to drive. So it is essential to comply with your state’s reporting laws.

How will my rates be affected by reporting a stroke?

Informing your auto insurer of your recent stroke will likely cause your premiums to increase. How much they increase depends on factors like:

Your previous driving history

If you have a clean history with no prior accidents or violations, your rate hike may be lower versus a policyholder with previous infractions.

Type and severity of your stroke

A mild stroke with minimal impairment may not impact your rates as much as a severe stroke with ongoing disability.

Your rehabilitation progress

If you can provide evidence of successful rehabilitation and clearance to drive, the insurer may limit rate increases.

State regulations

Some states limit how much insurers can increase premiums due to health issues. Your location matters.

While it varies across individuals, expect an increase of 25-75% in your premium payment after reporting a recent stroke. Your insurer may also adjust policy limits or coverage.

Can my insurance drop me after having a stroke?

In most cases, your auto insurance company cannot immediately cancel or refuse to renew your policy solely for having a stroke. However, they can choose not to renew your policy when it is up for renewal.

Reasons an insurer may terminate your policy after a stroke include:

  • You lack physician clearance to drive safely
  • Your state licensing authority suspends your driver’s license due to your stroke
  • You fail to cooperate with requested medical exams to reevaluate driving fitness
  • You are deemed too high-risk based on severity of your stroke and inability to safely operate a vehicle

So while strokes themselves do not always lead to policy termination, lack of fitness to drive often does. Maintaining your driving privileges is key.

How can I minimize rate increases after a stroke?

While premium hikes often do occur after reporting a stroke, some proactive steps can help minimize the impacts:

  • Ask your neurologist for a letter stating you are cleared medically to drive, if appropriate
  • Complete recommended rehabilitation therapy to improve functional ability
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor and discuss your progress
  • Inquire about insurer discounts for completing defensive driving courses
  • Raise your deductible amount to offset payment increases
  • Ask about policy exclusions if you will not drive often

Taking actions to demonstrate you are committed to being a safe driver can influence your insurance company’s view of your risk profile.

Should I shop for a new insurer after my stroke?

Having a stroke may make shopping for a new auto insurance provider seem logical, especially if your current company raises your rates significantly. However, a new insurer will still consider your stroke medical history heavily in determining policy pricing.

Switching may make sense if you find a company offering specialized discounts or incentives to stroke survivors committed to safe driving. But generally staying with your current familiar insurer and maintaining a good driving record going forward is recommended.

How can I evaluate my driving readiness after a stroke?

Assessing if you are truly ready to resume driving after a stroke is crucial. Here are some tips:

  • Be cleared medically by your doctor
  • Pass vision and road sign tests
  • Exhibit quick reaction times
  • Have regained strength and coordination on your affected side
  • Practice driving in empty parking lots or low-traffic areas
  • Install hand controls or other modifications if needed
  • Avoid risky driving behaviors like speeding or distracted driving

Discuss any uncertainties with your physician and only drive when you feel 100% safe. Having patience through your rehabilitation is key to being ready again.

What policy adjustments may be made after my stroke?

Once you report your stroke, your insurance company will likely make some specific policy changes tailored to your condition and needs. Common adjustments include:

  • Increasing your premium payment amount
  • Raising your deductible or lowering your coverage limits
  • Limiting your annual mileage or renewing for 6 months only
  • Adding exclusions for driving in high-risk scenarios (e.g. extreme weather, nighttime only, teen passengers, etc.)
  • Requiring you complete an approved defensive driving course
  • Requesting periodic medical examinations to reevaluate fitness to drive

Be sure to discuss any policy changes in depth with your provider to ensure you still have adequate, affordable coverage.

What happens if I don’t report my stroke?

Choosing not to inform your auto insurance provider that you’ve had a stroke can risk serious consequences:

  • You may be accused of rate evasion if the insurer later finds out somehow
  • The insurer may refuse a future claim for an accident
  • Your policy could be cancelled for misrepresentation of facts
  • You will lack appropriate coverage if driving skills are impaired
  • It jeopardizes compliance with state licensing regulations
  • You are violating the terms of your policy agreement

Overall, not reporting a major health event like a stroke is never recommended. Transparency with your insurer protects you in the long run.


Suffering a stroke can deeply impact your health and daily functioning. Driving readiness may be affected. That’s why promptly informing your auto insurance provider of your stroke is so crucial, though it may raise your rates. Taking proactive steps like physician-guided rehabilitation and defensive driving courses demonstrates your commitment to safe driving. With some policy adjustments, recovery focus and responsible actions, stroke survivors can successfully navigate this process to maintain proper insurance.