Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • Epilepsy can have a dramatic affect on your ability to get a license because you can suffer from recurring seizures
  • State laws vary regarding licensing rules for people with epilepsy so you’ll need to check out the medical restrictions
  • In California, if you’re seizure-free for three months you can get a restricted license with a medical evaluation
  • If you have an accident post-seizure, you could be held criminally responsible for injuring or killing someone
  • As long as you’re given medical clearance to hold a license, you shouldn’t have a problem finding auto insurance

Epilepsy is a serious neurological disorder that can cause unpredictable and recurring seizures. Unlike some medical disorders that typically affect only people in a certain age group, people of all ages can suffer from epilepsy.

More than three million people in the US have been diagnosed with the condition and one-third of these people have uncontrollable seizures that can’t be treated.

Since epilepsy will affect one out of 26 people at some point in their lifetime, it’s been crucial that states create unique laws surrounding epilepsy and licensing requirements.

You can never quite predict when you’ll have an episode, which creates a unique risk. It’s possible to get your license and therefore it’s possible to get insurance with epilepsy.

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Why is it so risky for epileptics to drive?

Epilepsy is one of those medical conditions that often misunderstood. Since so many people suffer from the chronic disorder, it’s crucial that you gain an understanding of what to expect after you or a loved one are diagnosed.

Anyone suffering from a seizure disorder who’s had active seizures will be at least a little leery of the idea of driving.

While you do suffer from physical limitations during and immediately after seizures, there are some who are not physically limited at other times.

What makes it so risky for epileptics to drive is that there are so many types of seizures and epilepsy that it’s hard to predict when you’ll have an episode and how long the seizure will last.

Medication may be able to stop seizure activity for some epileptics.

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Can you get a driver’s license after being diagnosed?

It’s possible to live a normal life with epilepsy. As scary as it is to hear that you have this chronic disorder that’s not currently curable, you’re not alone in the world.

Millions of people have managed to maintain their quality of life even with their disorder.

It’s still possible to get your driver’s license and be epileptic. Sufferers who have a type of epilepsy that can’t be treated with medication may find it difficult to qualify for a restricted license if they have active seizures often.

Others who are one medication or who’ve gone an acceptable amount of time without having an episode can apply for their license.

Licensing Rules for Epileptics Vary By State

You shouldn’t be dishonest on your licensing application just because you desire independence.

It’s unsafe for some epileptics to drive so states have their own unique laws pertaining to epileptics and licensing.

Every Department of Motor Vehicles in the nation requires people with seizure disorders to report their condition, but actual eligibility requirements vary.

  • You have to fill out an application and disclose any medical conditions that you have that could affect your ability to drive safely
  • In some states, you can apply for a license and restricted driving privileges
  • You may be eligible to drive after you’ve gone three months without having a seizure that makes you lose consciousness
  • Some states will require your doctor to sign an evaluation

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What happens if your condition changes?

Seizure disorders like epilepsy are known to change. There can be a change in the frequency of your seizures and a change in the severity.

Your doctor could also change your medications if you’re having more seizures than you were in the past. There has to be a protocol for people with restricted and unrestricted licenses.

In some states, your doctor is required by law to report anytime their patient has a lapse of consciousness to the DMV. 

Your driving privilege could be revoked until the doctor has deemed it safe for your to drive again.

Other states only ask about seizures and changes in your condition when it’s renewal time.

Are you eligible for auto insurance if you have epilepsy? Since your disorder will have a direct effect on whether or not you can get a license, it will also impact your ability to find insurance.

If you aren’t eligible to get a restricted or unrestricted license, you won’t be eligible for auto insurance. Anyone who can legally drive also can legally buy auto insurance.

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Can your insurer charge you more for being an epileptic driver?

Medical disorders that affect your ability to drive can certainly be considered when an insurer is reviewing your application but you won’t be charged more for your rates because you’re epileptic.

If, however, you’ve had an accident in the past because of a seizure, it can lead to auto insurance surcharges that raise your rates.

You might assume that it’s best to hide a small seizure from your doctor or the DMV, but doing this is very dangerous.

As much as you don’t want to lose your license because of something that you can’t control, choosing to stay on the road knowing you’ve had a recent seizure can put everyone at risk.

If you have an accident while you’re having a seizure, you could find yourself in even more trouble. It’s possible that a judge could sentence you to jail if it’s discovered that you hid seizures and decided to keep driving.

Purchase High Limits

You need even more liability protection if you have a seizure disorder. Since you could lose consciousness at any time without any warning, it’s best that you have more third-party liability protection than the average driver.

This coverage will also protect you in the court of law if you’re sued.

The best thing that you can possibly do when you’re shopping for car insurance as an epileptic is to shop around.

Enter your personal information in our online comparison tool to get quotes instantly from the comforts of your home.