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UPDATED: May 8, 2020
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Auto insurance companies do not typically ask about medical conditions when setting premium levels. This private information will normally remain between you and your doctor, so it is not one of the factors that determine your auto insurance rates.
Does diabetes affect your car insurance? The truth is, diabetes can become a concern and lead to higher rates. Whether you have Type I or Type II Diabetes, otherwise known as DMI or DMII, insurance rates might be on your mind. Here’s what you should know about auto insurance for diabetics and your ability to be a safe driver.
If you are also looking for better auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping with no medical questions by entering your ZIP code above.
Diabetes, Higher Risk for Accidents, and Auto Insurance
Research shows that drivers with diabetes are at greater risk for accidents, meaning you’re a type of driver who needs high-risk auto insurance coverage.
Studies reveal that they’re 12 to 19 percent more likely to be involved in a crash, and roughly 60 percent of diabetics don’t test their sugar levels before getting behind the wheel.
People can often recognize the serious symptoms of their sugar dropping and pull over, but it’s harder to catch the mild symptoms like blurry vision or just feeling irritable. Also, sometimes your sugar can drop with little warning, leaving you unable to correct it before serious symptoms occur. This is why it is important to check your sugar before getting into your car.
Among diabetics who struggle with hypoglycemia, the risk of being involved in a car accident increases by about 40 percent.
The chart below shows how your driving record can affect your annual insurance premium.
|Driving Record by State||Allstate||Geico||Progressive||State Farm||USAA|
|Clean Record – MA||$2,843.93||$2,256.59||$3,220.36||$1,077.70||$1,373.89|
|With One Speeding Violation – MA||$2,843.93||$2,382.22||$3,974.60||$1,154.69||$1,536.81|
|With One Accident – MA||$4,239.63||$3,104.81||$4,538.99||$1,745.31||$1,783.42|
|With One DUI – MA||$4,770.08||$3,545.26||$3,601.17||$1,467.80||$3,026.22|
|Clean Record – GA||$3,465.70||$1,991.22||$3,524.11||$3,084.80||$2,416.20|
|With One Speeding Violation – GA||$3,647.83||$2,244.40||$4,102.75||$3,384.88||$2,693.63|
|With One Accident – GA||$4,363.29||$2,493.90||$4,157.29||$3,384.88||$3,058.95|
|With One DUI – GA||$5,365.97||$5,179.25||$6,212.74||$3,684.98||$4,461.07|
|Clean Record – OR||$3,828.80||$2,120.41||$2,729.50||$2,408.68||$1,874.54|
|With One Speeding Violation – OR||$4,670.30||$2,928.42||$3,516.70||$2,654.33||$2,194.01|
|With One Accident – OR||$5,162.22||$3,378.95||$4,977.18||$3,145.65||$2,616.67|
|With One DUI – OR||$5,337.70||$4,447.98||$3,251.19||$2,654.33||$3,638.37|
|Clean Record – NY||$4,004.39||$1,894.00||$3,664.67||$4,267.85||$3,348.28|
|With One Speeding Violation – NY||$4,004.39||$1,894.00||$3,688.99||$4,267.85||$3,402.69|
|With One Accident – NY||$5,070.67||$2,064.88||$4,066.27||$4,701.32||$3,402.69|
|With One DUI – NY||$5,884.41||$3,860.07||$3,664.67||$4,701.32||$4,893.09|
|Clean Record – DC||$5,526.28||$2,255.62||$4,332.07||$3,703.83||$1,969.44|
|With One Speeding Violation – DC||$6,499.40||$2,813.29||$5,091.60||$4,074.05||$2,212.93|
|With One Accident – DC||$6,624.38||$3,832.82||$5,478.69||$4,444.25||$2,510.06|
|With One DUI – DC||$7,225.63||$5,869.52||$4,978.67||$4,074.05||$3,629.33|
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A stable, healthy blood sugar level is typically between 80 to 120 mg/dl. Blood sugar levels below 70 can begin to make you feel bad, while blood sugar levels below 60 can quickly begin to cause serious problems like dizziness and fatigue.
Driving with low blood sugar is comparable to driving while under the influence of alcohol (and this is how a DUI impacts your auto insurance). Many diabetics say that they’ve never been warned of the ways that being a diabetic can impair their driving.
How can diabetes impact my driving?
Short term problems caused by diabetes can include dizziness, irritability, fatigue, shakiness, anxiety, confusion, and in extreme situations, loss of vision, seizures, and loss of consciousness. These are all signs that your blood sugar is too low.
Experiencing any of these symptoms while driving is dangerous and can cause loss of control behind the wheel, potentially causing an accident.
Long term problems with diabetes can include glaucoma and retinopathy, heart attack or stroke, nerve damage in your feet, and neuropathy. These things tend to become problems for people who have had trouble controlling their blood sugar over long periods of time.
All of these symptoms can potentially cause problems while driving, making it less safe for you to drive a car.
How Medical Reports to the State Are Reviewed
Most states rely on drivers to honestly answer questions regarding medical conditions that can cause problems behind the wheel. However, they may also have programs in place for people to report concerns about friends, family members, or even patients.
In California, the DMV can find out about potentially dangerous drivers through a range of sources, including:
- Police officers who encounter drivers who seem to be unsafe
- Physicians and surgeons who have concerns about a patient’s ability to drive
- Family members who are trying to keep their loved ones safe
- Judges who are overseeing cases with people involving specific medical problems
Diabetes is not the only medical condition that can lead to blackouts, slow responses, and other dangerous behavior while driving.
There is also a concern about people who have residual effects from strokes, seizure disorders (though auto insurance for epileptics shouldn’t be affected), Alzheimer’s, or dementia. Physicians are required by law to report any disorder that results in lapses of consciousness or that would otherwise impair driving ability.
Diabetes and Driver’s License Applications – How are the medical questions worded?
Almost every state asks questions on the driver’s license application about mental and physical ailments that might impact your driving ability.
|State||Medical Condition Questions||Does the application mention diabetes?|
|AL||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|AK||Do you have any physical impairments?|
Have you had heart trouble, seizures, fainting, dizzy spells, and/or loss of consciousness in previous five years?
|AZ||Do you have a medical condition that may affect your abilities to operate a motor vehicle?||No|
|CA||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|CO||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|CT||Applicants must sign a medical statement stating that they do not have any health ailments or conditions.||No|
|DE||Do you have any physical impairments?||No|
|DC||Do you have insulin-dependent diabetes and seizures, loss of consciousness, or any other mental or physical conditions that would impair driving?||Yes|
|FL||List all physical or mental problems and disabilities.||No|
|GA||List all physical or mental problems and disabilities.||No|
|HI||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|ID||Are you affected by any physical or mental conditions that can trigger momentary or prolonged lapses in consciousness or control?||Yes, insulin-dependent diabetes is listed as an example of such a condition|
|IL||List all physical or mental conditions that might cause a momentary or prolapsed loss of control.||No|
|IN||Do you have any medical issues that cause fainting or seizures or otherwise affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|IA||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|KS||Do you have any mental or physical conditions which may make it difficult to operate a motor vehicle?||No|
|KY||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?|
Have you experienced blackouts or seizures in the last 90 days?
|LA||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|ME||Application provides a list of conditions that can impact driving, including diabetes.||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|MD||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||Yes|
|MA||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|MI||Have you had fainting spells, blackouts, seizures, or episodes of loss of consciousness within the past six months?||No|
|MN||Do you use insulin and/or any medications to treat loss of consciousness?||Yes, specific mention of insulin|
|MS||Are you currently being treated for diabetes?||Yes|
|MO||Do you have or have you had convulsions, epilepsy, blackouts, paralysis, heart attack, heart disease, stroke, or other medical conditions?||No|
|MT||Do you suffer from any chronic or potentially chronic condition that may cause loss of consciousness or control?||No|
|NE||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|NV||Do you have any disabilities, illnesses, missing extremities, or take any medication that can affect your driving abilities?||No|
|NJ||Do you suffer from any mental, physical, or convulsive disorder?||No|
|NM||Do you have diabetes?||Yes|
|NY||Do you have a condition which causes unconsciousness or unawareness?||No|
|NC||Have you ever suffered from diabetes?||Yes|
|ND||Describe any physical or mental conditions that you have that may impair your driving ability.||Yes, asks about insulin-dependent diabetes|
|OH||Are you currently suffering from any physical or mental disability or disease, and if so, what is the nature and severity of the disability or disease?||No|
|OK||List medical conditions, including diabetes.||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|OR||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|PA||All first time applicants must have a medical evaluation.||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|RI||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|SC||Have had a loss of consciousness, muscular control, or seizure, within the last six months?||No|
|SD||Have you experienced any epileptic episodes, convulsions, seizures, or blackouts within the previous 12 months?||No|
|TN||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|TX||Have you had insulin-treated diabetes within last three years?||Yes|
|UT||Application provides a list of conditions and asks the applicants whether they have any of these conditions.||Yes, in a list of medical conditions|
|VT||Do you have any medical issues that affect your ability to drive safely?||No|
|VA||Have you experienced any convulsions, seizures, or blackouts?||No|
|WA||Do you have any mental or physical conditions that might impair your driving?||No|
|WV||Do you have any mental or physical conditions which may make it difficult to operate a motor vehicle?||No|
|WI||Have you had an incident of loss of consciousness or muscle control due to various conditions, including diabetes and a seizure disorder?||Yes|
|WY||Have you had a loss of consciousness, muscular control, epilepsy, seizures within the previous two years?||No|
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While some of these questions don’t specifically mention diabetes, every state wants to know if you are a diabetic when applying for your license.
It can seem tempting to say no to the questions if they don’t specifically ask about diabetes, but it could potentially become an issue for you later if you exclude the condition from your application.
Your license could be revoked if you are later found to have lied about or omitted your diabetes when applying for a license.
Consequences for Providing the DMV With Inaccurate Information About Diabetes
Some states require people to disclose their diabetes. While this information may not be used to deny driving privileges or in setting insurance premiums, it must still be answered honestly.
Don’t hesitate to ask the DMV staff to clarify any questions that seem vague to you.
If the department of motor vehicles finds that you’ve provided them with false information, they can revoke your license. If you’re involved in an accident, then the insurance company can refuse to cover the claim.
Even if you filled out the form honestly, if you’ve recently had a severe hypoglycemic episode and you haven’t been cleared by a doctor to drive again, technically it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle. If you cause an accident during this time your car insurance may not cover any damages you cause.
Some people have asked, “Do I need to inform DVLA if I have diabetes?” They wonder, too, if type 2 diabetes is notifiable to the DVLA. DVLA stands for Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which is a government agency located in the United Kingdom.
As our article is specific to the United States, we do not have any information at this time as to whether or not citizens of the U.K. are required to report diabetes to the DVLA.
Due Process is Required To Revoke a Drivers License
The matter of diabetics being allowed to drive has gone before the courts. In Bell v. Burson, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled driving an “important interest” that cannot be taken away from a citizen without due process.
In the lower courts, drivers have been supported through rulings stating that insulin dependence is not, in and of itself, sufficient cause to take away an individual’s driving privileges.
Driving With Diabetes – A Personal Story
Ben Brennan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1991. In 2005, he had his first and only serious diabetic incident while driving.
“I was driving and started to feel sick. I pulled over to the side of the road and the next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital.
“My aunt was there, and she explained that the police officer who found me originally assumed I was drunk, but when he noticed there were no empty beer cans in the car and that I didn’t smell like alcohol he called an ambulance instead of throwing me in the drunk tank. His decision probably saved my life.”
While that was the only time he ever needed an ambulance while driving, Ben understands the danger that can come with a low blood sugar episode while on the road.
“I keep candy and juice in the car in case my sugar goes low,” he explained, “but my sugar dropped too fast that time for me to catch it.”
Because he reacted quickly when he felt his sugar drop and the officer was paying enough attention to get him the help he needed, Ben’s story had a happy ending.
Brittle Diabetes and Driving Safely
Brittle diabetes is a description for when a person’s blood sugar levels can jump quickly from high to low or from low to high.
Many brittle diabetics require additional assistance to monitor their condition. Devices like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors can help, but some brittle diabetics may even require the help of a service dog to monitor their blood sugar.
While diabetes can be concerning when you are behind the wheel, brittle diabetics are the diabetics most likely to be unable to drive because of their medical condition.
If you are a brittle diabetic or otherwise find your diabetes hard to control, talk to your doctor about whether or not it is safe for you to drive.
Life-Saving License Plates For Diabetics
Some states are now allowing diabetics to get special plates. In Mississippi, the special license plate alerts law enforcement to the fact that the driver of a car may be diabetic.
It is important to know if a driver is diabetic in the event that a driver is behaving erratically or if there’s an accident.
There’s no additional charge for the plate provided the vehicle’s owner is diabetic, and it should not have any bearing on the insurance rates charged. Though Mississippi may offer this life-saving option for diabetics, most states currently do not have a diabetes-specific license plate. You can purchase special license plate frames, decals, or other items that can display your diabetic status on your car.
You may also choose to wear a Medic Alert bracelet or another type of identification that will let a police officer know you are diabetic in the event of an emergency.
Driving Tips for Diabetics
While your insurance company may not be interested in your diabetes in and of itself, they will be interested in any accidents or tickets you receive as a result of the condition, especially those that add points to your driving record, and these points affect auto insurance rates.
In order to keep your rates low and remain a safe driver, you may want to follow these tips:
- Check blood glucose levels before you drive and at regular intervals if you’re on a long trip
- Carry your blood glucose meter with you along with appropriate snacks and insulin
- If you feel like your sugar is dropping, pull over right away and check the levels
- Do not drive again until you have tested your sugar in normal ranges and you are fully aware again
- Have regular eye examinations done to ensure that your vision is still in an acceptable range
Living with diabetes can be hard, but it doesn’t have to come between you and the open road. By properly managing your diabetes, you may be able to stay safe on the road and avoid accidents.
Even diabetics who’ve become amputees can potentially drive a car. You might need a special prosthetic or maybe even car modifications to drive, but it is a possibility. Reach out to your doctor for more information and research auto insurance for disabled persons if this is a concern for you.
What should you do if your diabetes makes it unsafe to drive?
While most diabetics can drive without a problem, some people may find that diabetes does make it difficult, if not impossible, to drive.
Brittle diabetics are not the only ones who may find that diabetes prevents them from driving. Diabetics who have other conditions may find that the combination of things means it is unsafe to get behind the wheel.
For example, someone with diabetes and ADHD may find it difficult to remember to check their blood sugar regularly. This person may not have a problem driving with just one of their medical conditions, but the combination of the two may put them in a place where they don’t feel safe driving a car.
If you believe that it is unsafe for you to drive, you may want to consider the following:
- Let Someone Else Drive – If you have a spouse, parent, roommate, or another person who can help you, reach out to them for assistance.
- Taxi or Rideshare – Taxis, Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies can help make sure you are able to get where you need to go.
- Public Transit – Trains and buses can be an excellent way to get around, especially in an urban area.
- Bicycle – If you don’t have far to go, biking (or jogging, rollerblading, etc.) can help you get where you need to be and get some exercise at the same time.
Diabetics can work with their doctors to make sure that they are medically safe behind the wheel.
Auto Insurance for Diabetics: The Bottom Line
Diabetes is a serious health condition that can impact your ability to drive. It is important to work with your doctor to manage your diabetes, not just for your own health but also for the safety of other drivers on the road.
If your diabetes affects your driving record, you will see that reflected in your insurance costs.
If you feel that your insurance is too high, then see about finding lower rates by shopping around. Even if you have diabetes, you still may be able to lower premiums by going with a different company.
Looking for affordable auto insurance? Start comparison shopping today without any medical questions by entering your ZIP code below.