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Car insurance after a stroke

A stroke can be life-changing, leaving you with all sorts of questions. Are you still allowed to drive? Will you be able to get car insurance? What kind of car is best? Here, you’ll find all the answers.

A stroke can be life-changing, leaving you with all sorts of questions. Are you still allowed to drive? Will you be able to get car insurance? What kind of car is best? Here, you’ll find all the answers.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 11 NOVEMBER 2019

Can I drive after a stroke?

Having a stroke or TIA (transient ischaemic attack/mini stroke) can seriously impact your ability to drive. You can suffer long-term problems with your eyesight, such as sight loss or double vision. You may also have difficulty concentrating and making decisions.

Some people experience pain or weakness in their arms and legs, balance problems and odd nerve sensations. Not to mention extreme tiredness and memory lapses.

For these reasons, you’re not allowed to drive for a month following a stroke. But after a month, your doctor can examine you and, as long as you don’t have any sight or cognitive issues and your doctor says it’s safe to do so, you can start driving again.

Many people are able to drive again as normal after a stroke – it just takes time. It could take two years or more to fully recover.

When do I need to notify the DVLA if I have a stroke?

If you drive a car, you won’t need to tell the DVLA in that first month. But if you drive a PCV (passenger-carrying vehicle) or an LGV (large goods vehicle), you’ll need to let the DVLA know about your stroke ASAP.

Telling them is easy. Simply go to www.gov.uk and fill in the form, or send an STR1 form to the DVLA.

Remember, if you don’t tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving, you could be fined £1,000. And if you’re involved in an accident as a result of a condition, you may even be prosecuted.

In most instances, you won’t need to tell the DVLA about your stroke for the first month. But you’ll need to notify them straightaway if:

  • you’ve had more than one stroke in the past three months
  • your condition gets worse 
  • you’ve been having epileptic seizures
  • you’ve experienced a number of TIAs
  • you’ve had brain surgery
  • your doctor says you’re not fit to drive
  • you’re a lorry or bus driver

If, after a month, you’re still suffering memory loss, visual disturbance or paralysis/weakness in your arms and legs, it’s time to contact the DVLA.

Can I get car insurance after a stroke?

If you’ve had a stroke or TIA, you must tell your insurance provider – even if your doctor says it’s okay for you to drive. If you don’t, you could invalidate your insurance.

You should still be able to get car insurance, but it could be worthwhile shopping around.

What kind of car should I drive after a stroke?

The type of car you drive can make a big difference. Some have built-in features that make driving much easier.

For instance, you might find an automatic car with power steering works better for you. You can even buy cars with hoists that lift you into the driver’s seat, or swinging seats that make it easy to get in and out of the car. It’s worth investigating the options.

If you make any modifications to your car to help you drive, you may need to consider disability car insurance. 

What happens if my doctor says I’m not fit to drive?

If your doctor says you’re unfit to drive, you’ll need to tell both your insurance provider and the DVLA. Failure to do this is a criminal offence and you could be fined.

You might be assessed at a local mobility centre. Then, based on that, the DVLA will make a decision. Either you’ll: 

  • keep your licence and carry on driving
  • be given a temporary licence
  • be given a licence but one that specifies your car must
  • be adapted
  •  have your licence taken away.

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