People with epilepsy often have difficulty finding and keeping automobile insurance at affordable rates. Insurance companies generally believe that persons with epilepsy are more at risk of having accidents due to their condition and are therefore more likely to cost the company money by submitting large or frequent claims. With respect to epilepsy, the type and severity of seizures, and the seizure free period will probably be taken into account when the insurance company is deciding whether to cover an individual. Providing detailed information from one's doctor about one's specific situation can be helpful, particularly if seizures are controlled.
How Companies Decide
Every insurer has specific criteria which it uses in deciding whether to insure an individual. Most insurance companies' underwriting conditions will include a valid driver's license and will consider the individual's driving record. A driver's past insurance coverage will also be considered. Standard insurance carriers usually require that any driver have three years of prior coverage before being eligible for standard coverage. However, if an individual has not had coverage previously or if they have a poor driving record, they may still be eligible for sub-standard coverage.
Need To Shop Around
Since policy-writing practices vary so much among companies it is extremely important to "shop around" in order to get the broadest coverage at the lowest rates. It is often helpful to contact an insurance broker who is familiar with eligibility in the state and with the practices of companies doing business in the state. The insurance broker can be a good advocate in obtaining coverage. They can best inform you of whether you would be eligible for standard or sub-standard coverage.
Standard coverage usually provides better coverage plus amenities such as rental cars and towing services. Within standard coverage, there may be different levels of coverage. Level one may be the best coverage at the best rate and level two may be the best coverage at increased rates for people who are assigned to the high-risk pool. People with uncontrolled seizures or people who experience seizures regularly would probably be assigned to the high-risk pool. People who have been involved in accidents or who experience a change in their medical condition can be reassigned to a high-risk level, or their policy could be canceled altogether.
Sub-standard coverage usually provides only basic coverage (the least amount of coverage possible according to state statutes) with high premiums. If you do qualify for sub-standard coverage, you may later become eligible for standard coverage after establishing a record of insurance coverage. Bargaining with coverage amounts and deductibles may be a good approach if an insurance carrier is reluctant to cover you. If one family member makes the entire household ineligible for coverage, a broker may help you find a policy that allows for a 'named-driver exclusion,' provided they are legal in your state.
Providing Medical Information
If faced with a medical inquiry at any time, it is important not to falsify any information. Falsifying medical information may provide the insurance company with a valid reason to void any and all existing coverage, and could impact existing claims, even those not related to your disability. A state may have an assigned risk plan for individuals who can not obtain private insurance. The state insurance commission should be able to provide information about state assigned risk plans.
Regulating the Insurance Industry
The state insurance commission regulates the insurance industry within each state. Insurance discrimination laws and state insurance commissioners' activities in combating discrimination vary significantly from state to state. If a person is denied insurance coverage due to their epilepsy, they should consult the commission about whether the insurer's actions were legal under state laws. For your state's insurance commission information contact our Information & Referral Department at (800) 332-1000 or, visit this website.