Diabetic drivers need to declare condition warns insurance experts

A leading Insurance comparison website is warning that many motorists with diabetes risk a hefty fine if they fail to declare the condition to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA).

Quotezone.co.uk also warns that policies could be void and claims disputed if diabetic drivers have not declared the disease to their insurer – and that includes those newly diagnosed.

As the pandemic-induced lockdowns forced people to alter their lifestyles with the closure of gyms, restricted exercise and reported spike in fast food takeaways – elements which can increase a person’s chances of developing the disease – it may lead to a surge of people being diagnosed with diabetes.

According to research from Manchester University, the first lockdown in April 2020 led to diagnosis rates falling 70% on the 10-year average.  It estimates that more than 45,000 type 2 diagnoses were either missed or delayed between March and July alone, creating an imminent surge in new diabetes patients as things slowly begin to open up. 

Diabetes UK states that there are nearly five million people with the disease in the UK: 90% with type 2, 8% with type 1 and the remainder with rarer types. The charity predicts diabetes could rise to five and a half million by 2030 and 13.6 million are at risk of becoming type 2 sufferers.

The charity shared the following advice to show the various levels of restrictions for drivers with diabetes:

  • Those who have suffered a severe hypoglycaemia (hypo) attack at the wheel or while awake in past year stop driving and tell the DVLA straight away. Driving licences will be revoked but can be applied for again after three months. Severe hypo attacks do not need to be declared if sufferer experiences it asleep.
  • Prescribed insulin – apply to the DVLA for a restricted licence – one to three years. Temporary insulin users do not need to tell the DVLA.
  • Medication that can risk hypos –a severe hypo while awake in a 12-month period, stop driving and tell the DVLA. Driving licence will be revoked, but can be reapplied for 3 months later.
  • Other diabetes medication or new exercise and diet – no need to tell the DVLA.

The penalties for not declaring a medical condition can result in a £1,000 fine and the risk of prosecution if the driver is involved in an accident.  In addition to diabetes, motorists with heart issues and other conditions such as epilepsy, sleep apnoea, strokes should visit  the DVLA’s website for more information.

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments:  “A serious medical diagnosis on top of the fear of losing transportation and independence can be devasting. On a more positive note,  many conditions and medications won’t impair driving, which the DVLA and insurers recognise.

“However, anyone whose condition or medication could affect their driving needs to keep the DVLA up to date. It won’t necessarily mean a permanent loss of a licence and many successfully reapply when their condition is managed and the risk declines.  It is however essential that all drivers are properly covered with an accurate policy, to protect themselves and other road users.

“If a motorist sees their premiums go up due to the insurer’s updated risk assessment, and it looks like they might be priced out of affordable insurance, they should shop around for new quotes – insurance comparison websites are a good place to start.”

Quotezone.co.uk is one of the country’s leading price comparison platforms, helping over 3 million users find a more competitive deal each year on everything from car insurance and motorbike insurance to caravan and motorhome insurance.

The Exeter Daily