Can I Get Car Insurance If I’ve Had A Heart Attack?

Caeva O'Callaghan | October 30th, 2020

After a heart attack, you may not be able to do some of the things you used to do with ease. But can you still get car insurance?

In short, yes. As long as your driving licence is valid, you will be able to get car insurance. You must be medically fit to drive in order to get a valid driving licence.

Also, you need to tell your car insurance once you have any medical issues which may affect your ability to drive. You must also get your doctor to sign off on any medical paperwork you need to get a valid licence.

In this article, we’ll answer questions such as:

  • Will a heart attack affect my car insurance?
  • Do I need to tell my car insurance if I have a heart attack?
  • If I’m medically unfit to drive, will this affect my car insurance?

You must declare any pacemakers or defibrillators you’ve had fitted on your licence renewal form. Failure to do so will result in your car insurance being invalid.

After you have a heart attack

As soon as you’re feeling well again, you need to tell your car insurance provider about what happened. This is even if the NDLS advises you that you are medically fit to drive.

This is because heart attacks increase the likelihood of you making a claim. If you make a claim later because of an incident that was due, at least in part, to your heart problems, and you didn’t tell your insurer about the risk, your claim may be invalid.

In most instances, you won’t need to tell the NDLS about your heart attack until you’re feeling better. But, you will need to notify them immediately if you:

  • Have more than one heart attack in three months
  • Your condition gets worse 
  • You experience epileptic seizures
  • You have brain surgery
  • A doctor says you can’t drive
  • You’re a lorry or bus driver

Having a heart attack can increase the risk of a car accident. Don’t put yourself or other road users at risk. It’s best to inform your insurer every step of the way.

Becoming medically fit to drive

If your driving licence is due to be renewed, and you have an implanted cardiac pacemaker or an implanted cardiac defibrillator, you must declare it on your renewal form.

Your medical history may present issues when getting your licence, but never when getting your insurance. This is because insurers assume that if you hold a full licence – a prerequisite for getting car insurance – then your heart will be up to scratch.

Once you have a valid driving licence, you can get car insurance and drive a car.

It is your responsibility to be a safe driver. Not operating a car safely will mean you fall foul of your car insurance conditions, your driving licence conditions and the law.

This means you need to:

  • Take any prescribed medication and manage your condition(s)
  • Stop driving if any of the medications you are taking for your heart have side effects that affect your ability to drive (for example, drowsiness)
  • Tell the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) and your insurance provider of any long-term or permanent injury or illness that may affect your ability to drive safely
  • Comply with requirements of your licence as appropriate, including periodic medical reviews
  • Get professional advice on your medical fitness to drive if you develop a medical condition during the term of your licence

Remember, you will commit an offence if you drive after becoming aware that you are not fit to do so. “Aware” doesn’t necessarily mean a doctor has brought it to your attention, either. If you notice that you’re dizzy, fainting or so on, this constitutes awareness.

A note on COVID-19

In normal circumstances, people aged 70 and over must submit a medical questionnaire that is signed by their GP confirming that they are fit and capable of driving.

However, this is slightly different at the time of writing (October 2020). This is in response to the need to facilitate social distancing and the expected additional burdens on medical services from COVID-19. Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, will remove the requirement for those age 70 and over (under certain circumstances) to provide a medical report.

This means persons aged 70 years of age or over can apply for, and renew, their driving licence or learner permit until the 31 December 2020. They can do so without the need to submit a medical report, providing they do not have an identified or specified illness.

Want to know what you need to tell your car insurance if you’ve had a heart attack? Call us today and we can help.