Does having a pacemaker affect your auto insurance?
Having a pacemaker typically does not directly affect car insurance unless you have a history of accidents related to your condition. Your insurance company may have access to some of your medical information through the DMV. Learn more.
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UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022
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- Having a pacemaker does not directly affect your auto insurance
- If you have a record of pacemaker-related accidents or your doctor submits your medical information to the DMV, it may affect your insurance
- You can prepare for potential issues involving your pacemaker by investing in extra coverage
A pacemaker is a tool placed in the chest or abdomen that stabilizes the erratic beating of your heart if it is too fast or too slow or if its electrical pathways are blocked. Pacemakers help improve your quality of life. However, you may wonder, does having a pacemaker affect car insurance?
Does having a pacemaker directly affect your auto insurance?
In general, simply possessing a pacemaker won’t by itself make it harder for you to get car insurance or lead to unreasonable rates. This is because auto insurance companies usually do not look at your health when approving coverage.
What do auto insurance companies look at?
Auto insurance companies consider several factors when reviewing potential or current policyholders. These may include your:
- Driving record
- Driving habits
They usually do not consider your medical condition, so they may never know that you have a pacemaker. However, there are two exceptions to this that may indirectly impact your auto insurance.
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How may a pacemaker indirectly affect your auto insurance?
If your pacemaker results in you having vehicular accidents or your doctor feels that it endangers you while driving, then it may impact your rates. This is because either of these may lead to you being labeled as “high-risk.” As a high-risk driver, you may face reluctance from companies to grant you a policy or see an average monthly rate that is $137.35 higher than normal rates.
Pacemakers Come With Risks
While pacemakers are meant to help treat existing heart problems, they come with risks, including:
- Heart failure
If these occur while you are behind the wheel, you could have a serious wreck. While many individuals with pacemakers continue to live normal lives and can drive without problems, the possibility of issues is enough to put insurance companies on guard in the two instances where they usually notice a customer or potential customer has a pacemaker.
A History of Pacemaker-Related Incidents Is a Red Flag to Insurance Companies
One way having a pacemaker can indirectly impact your auto insurance is if you have a history of accidents and insurance claims that were in some way caused by your pacemaker. Your driving record is something insurance companies pay a great deal of attention to regardless of whether you have a pacemaker or not. However, if you have a long, accident-free record, your pacemaker should not pose an issue.
Insurance Companies Can Access Your Medical Record if Your Doctor Submits Them
If your doctor feels that your medical condition may affect your driving ability and safety, they will submit your medical documentation to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. They have a moral obligation to do so.
Your doctor may also place limits on your driving license. Examples of such limitations include:
- Only driving during the day
- Only driving with another licensed adult driver in the vehicle
- Only driving short distances
If your condition is severe enough, your physician may even remove your driving privileges completely. Limitations usually are not permanent and may be lifted over time. You are more likely to have restrictions placed on your license right after the pacemaker surgery since that is when symptoms are more likely to express themselves. Your doctor may also place restrictions initially if you have a long history of complex heart problems.
Insurance companies can access your medical documentation as long as the DMV has the records. They also look at your driver’s license, which means they will see any limitations placed on it. Most physicians will notify you if they send your medical documentation to the DMV.
How can you guard against future pacemaker-related incidents?
If your pacemaker has played a role in an accident or if your doctor submitted documentation to the DMV, you may no longer be eligible for traditional auto insurance at comfortable rates. However, there are companies that specialize in insuring high-risk drivers. Your state may also have assigned risk pools you can join so you can ensure you have the coverage you need. There are also steps you can take to prepare for and minimize the chance of accidents.
Invest in Additional Insurance Coverage
Most states have a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage you must have to be legally compliant. Standard policies usually include general liability which has bodily injury and property damage coverage. You can increase the levels of these coverages, though.
You may also want to acquire collision coverage and medical payments coverage. The first covers damages if you collide with another vehicle or an object such as a mailbox or telephone pole. The latter covers the medical bills and any lost wages if you suffer a serious injury in an accident. Having additional coverage will buffer the expenses if you have a wreck.
Maintain Your Health
Taking care of yourself can help prevent pacemaker failure. This involves simple tasks, such as:
- Attending regular check-ups
- Following your physician’s instructions exactly
- Contacting your physician if you notice abnormalities in your health or the pacemaker’s performance
- Including heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains in your diet
- Incorporating more physical activity into your life without overstraining yourself
By maintaining your health, you lower the possibility of you having a wreck, which would lead to an increase in your rates.
Pacemakers and Auto Insurance: The Final Verdict
If you have a pacemaker, you should not have any trouble driving if your doctor clears you for it. Auto insurance companies generally do not consider whether you have a pacemaker or not when providing coverage, so your rates or ability to obtain insurance should not be directly affected.
However, if you have a record of accidents resulting from issues with your pacemaker or your doctor feels you may need restrictions on your license, you may need extra coverage and other solutions.