ASD & Car Insurance

Hi all, I hope you are all safe and well ? This is my first post,  I am posting on behalf of a friends acquaintance.   They have asked me to find any information regarding discrimination and policy procedures with regards to car insurance.

Last week (Julie) had a car accident, thankfully she was not injured, but her car insurance have advised her that Insurance is void resulting in a very expensive claim and the hiring of a personal insurance lawyer, The insurance company have voided her insurance due to the non disclosure of her diagnosis. (unfortunately I do not know how they have become aware of this information).  I have managed to find the following information - which also seems to have huge grey and contradictory areas,  If anyone out there can advise me further or point me in another direction, this would be greatly appreciated.   I am hoping from this post we can either educate each other or bring to light the unfair discrimination of Car Insurance companies in general. 

Car insurance companies should be notified of a disability. Under the Equality Act 2010 (or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland), insurers can only charge disabled people higher premiums if the extra charge is based on factual or statistical data, or there are other relevant factors which indicate that a disabled person is at higher risk.

The NAS Autism Helpline does not know of any car insurance companies who are specifically aware of ASDs. We can only suggest that you check in detail the policy of individual insurace companies. Please see the 'Useful contacts - insurance' section below for details of some specialist companies who provide insurance for people with a disability.  
Gov.uk states 

Autistic spectrum condition (ASC) and driving

You must tell DVLA if your autistic spectrum condition (ASC) affects your ability to drive safely. This includes Asperger syndrome.

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

If you’re applying for your provisional (learners) driving licence

You do not need to tell DVLA about your condition unless you think that it may affect your ability to drive safely.

Ask your doctor if you’re not sure if your condition will affect your driving. 

Car or motorcycle licence

If you already have a car or motorcycle licence you need to tell DVLA if:

  • there is a change to your condition that may make you an unsafe driver
  • you are prescribed medication that causes side effects that will affect your driving

Fill in form A1 and send it to DVLA. The address is on the form.    

Many thanks in advance and thanks for taking the time to read !! 

  • Insurers are always looking to find ways of not paying out - I think the first port of call would be to see if the application process online for get specific insurer says anything about autism when it gets to the disclosure of medical conditions. If there is any ambiguity at all it’s grounds for appeal. If there is the expectation that all conditions are disclosed regardless then technically she is in the wrong and although harsh their actions are legally justifiable. However, this am said you could ask that the insurance company evidence that the autism increased risk - this would be subjective of course and there is no guarantee it would reverse a decision. As I say the first port of call us to scrutinise the application process for her insurers. 

  • Thanks for your reply Anthony, she is currently trying to fight the ambiguity of the policy wording.  

    Take Care 

  • They are trying it on - scumbags.

    Does her ASD affect her driving?    If yes, she must disclose, if no - there's no issue so they MUST pay out.

    I would suggest passing the driving test to be clear evidence of competency.

  • good luck with this :) 

  • If the disability potentially impacts on the ability to drive it should be notified to the DVLA and also to the insurer.

    The onus is on the insurer to ask the questions. They can only void the policy in the event of deliberate or negligent non-disclosure. I can't comment on the details but no insurer can void a policy just because a person has autism.

  • Sorry I don't know the specific answer to this but after some research I thought that ASD did not need to be disclosed to insurance or the DVLA unless your doctor tells you that it affects your ability to drive. E.g. if part of the diagnosis was struggling under pressure and having anger issues

  • I never told my insurance company about my diagnosis, if it does not affect my driving then it's none of their business.

  • As others have said, this seems like a classic example of an insurer attempting to avoid paying a valid claim.  I would first start by looking at the entire policy document and see what it says about disabilities, etc.  In depends on the wording used, but it would specifically have to say something along the lines of them being made aware of ASD at the time of taking out the policy.  You might also want to see if there was anything in the applications process (which should be detailed in the personal details section of the policy document) which specifically asked for such.  If your friend wasn't asked about this, then they can't simply introduce it later as a way of not paying.

    Also, if it doesn't affect or impact their ability to drive, then in my view it's irrelevant. 

  • When I was diagnosed (in 2013) I explicitly asked if this was something for which I would have to notify the DVLA. I was told that it was not.

    My view is that if the DVLA don't need to be told then insurers do not either. All of the disability related questions I've seen when applying for car insurance are worded very much along the lines of "Do you have a notifiable disability" so it's easy to truthfully answer, "No."

    This means that I'm in agreement with others here: the insurance company are likely in the wrong.

  • That's the same way I look at it. I've been driving since 1991 and was diagnosed in 2018, it never had any impact on my driving at age 17 and I'm still that same kid that passed the test back then. DLVA only needs to be told if it has any effect on driving, in my case it doesn't so in my eyes it's none of my insurer's bizwax.