Is falling asleep at the wheel covered by car insurance?

Your auto insurance company should pay for an accident caused by you falling asleep. Drowsy driving accounts for 20 percent of all car crashes in the U.S.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 18, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Falling asleep at the wheel can be due to some various conditions including sleep apnea
  • You should inform your insurer if you have high-risk factors when applying for coverage
  • In most cases, your insurance will pay if you have treated sleep disorders and are doing your best to keep the risk down

There are many situations that people want to know more about when they are purchasing insurance. Some of the situations are regarding health conditions or disabilities.

While some people may have disabilities that cause them to fall asleep behind the wheel, others may fall asleep simply due to lack of sleep. Depending on why you fell asleep while driving, your insurance may cover you if you’re in an accident.

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What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a brain disorder that makes a person extremely sleepy; these individuals find it difficult to stay awake even while doing important tasks like driving or working. Victims of this disorder report that they even fall asleep while talking to people or reading.

This condition is very dangerous, and it poses a threat to the individual as well as others on the road. For this reason, insurance companies may charge you higher rates if you divulge that you have this condition.

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Non-specific Causes of Falling Asleep at the Wheel

Some people who fall asleep behind the wheel may fall asleep for a variety of reasons. Truck drivers who drive into the early hours of the morning and who drive for too many hours at a time are especially prone to falling asleep while driving.

If you have ever had an accident due to this issue or received a moving violation for it, you will be more likely to see your insurance increase.

These types of accidents will still be covered by your insurance company. If you carry collision coverage, your own vehicle will be covered. If you only carry liability coverage, only the damages done to others will be covered.

Auto Insurance is About Assessing Risk

It’s important to understand that car insurance companies are in the business of assessing risk. They use some factors to assess your level of risk including:

Always remember that there will be a direct positive correlation between your level of risk in the minds of the insurer and your premiums. As your risk goes up, so does your premium.


 Is high-risk auto insurance an option?

If you are a victim of sleep apnea and you are having the condition treated, you may find your insurer will not increase your premium that much. It is your responsibility to divulge any information that could increase your risk on the road to others or yourself.

If you cannot qualify for standard insurance due to your condition, you could look into “high-risk insurance” instead. Sometimes the company you have will offer this type of high-risk coverage for people with a disorder such as sleep apnea.

Sometimes, you will need to look into other companies to find this coverage.

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What if I have an accident due to sleepiness?


If a police officer at the scene documents that your sleepiness did cause an accident that you were involved in, it is possible that your car insurance will not pay your claim. But, more than likely, if you are in good standing, they will still pay it.

This determination will be made at the time of the claim by the adjuster and the insurance company.

As long as you were forthcoming and honest about your condition before the accident, it will likely pay.

Holding back information increases your chances that the company may question a claim since they were unaware of the risk factor when you applied.

With today’s technology systems and online databases of big data, there is not much that an insurer won’t know as long as it is documented somewhere.

Tips for Driving with Sleep Apnea

If you tend to get sleepy or fall asleep at the wheel, you should have your condition checked out, diagnosed, and treated as soon as possible. The sooner you get help for the condition, the more likely you are to avoid an accident due to this problem.

You have a responsibility to other drivers, as well as yourself to look into this if you think you have sleep disorders of any kind that would make you prone to falling asleep at the wheel.

For those who simply drive too far or too long such as truck drivers or others, it is your legal and ethical responsibility to get enough sleep the night before so that you will not be dangerous on the road.

You could be sued for punitive or personal injury damages by other parties if you fail to get help or stay off the roads when you are experiencing this problem.

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a great extra coverage to get to avoid this scenario in circumstances that are deemed your fault.

Once you have determined what kind of insurance you need and have taken the necessary steps to stay safe on the road with your sleep disorder, you should compare several policies to see which one can give you the best deal.

Be honest with them if you have this problem and they can help you find the best policy for you.

Find the best rate possible by using our free car insurance comparison tool below.

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