Does having sleep apnea affect your car insurance?
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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021
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- Sleep apnea affects all areas of life including car insurance
- In general, car insurers do not have the right to know about your medical conditions
- Sleep apnea can lead to car accidents; a history of accidents will lead to increased premiums
- Controlling your sleep apnea with a CPAP or other treatments can mitigate these effects
If you have sleep apnea, you know that it can impact every aspect of your life. Loss of sleep and sleep deprivation can have significant effects on your job performance, daily life, and health. Attempting to solve the sleep problems may itself occupy your time and energy.
One unexpected area where sleep apnea can have an impact on your life is in insurance rates and policies, specifically auto insurance policies. Just as your driving can be impacted by the disorder, active sleep apnea can impact your coverage and your monthly or annual premiums.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a lack of sleep and overall exhaustion, putting drivers at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy driving is the direct cause of more than 100,000 auto accidents every year. Anyone who is overly tired is at increased risk of a car accident.
This situation and the car accidents it can produce can impact the rates that auto insurers charge you.
You can shop online to compare the rates and coverage options from different insurance companies to make sure you’re receiving the best deal for the full coverage you’re looking for. Enter your zip code above into our free comparison tool above to get started.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that happens during periods of sleep. Snoring and gasping during sleep can be signs of sleep apnea.
This gasping or snorting interrupts sleep, which means that people suffering from sleep apnea may cause them to be sleepy and overly tired throughout the day.
Going to sleep does not solve the problem because the interruptions prevent you from becoming fully rested.
Sometimes, sleep apnea is caused by other medical issues, like a nasal problem or congestive heart failure. In these cases, treatment of the medical issue may solve sleep apnea as well.
In other cases, sleep apnea can appear alone. In these cases, treatments including the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device can help to provide effective treatment.
Sleep apnea can be more dangerous than it might appear. Along with the effects of excessive tiredness, the interrupted breathing itself can cause serious issues.
Of course, behind the wheel of a car, untreated sleep apnea can also pose a significant problem. People with sleep apnea that is undiagnosed or untreated may doze while driving, leading to serious crashes or dangerous driving on the road.
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Car Insurance Risk Assessments
Car insurers price their premiums on the basis of statistical and individual risk characteristics. The riskier you are deemed to be as a driver, the more expensive your policy can be. Some aspects of this assessment are under the control of the driver.
These factors can include your accident history and driving record, car insurance claim history, and even your choice in car. Your credit history is also used in this regard. Some of the factors included in assessing your driving history include:
- Number of auto accidents
- Fault in the accidents
- Severity of accidents and damage caused
Other factors are based on a statistical assessment of who is most likely to have a car accident. These do not take into account each driver’s individual style or characteristics but reflect statistical probablilities over an entire group.
Thus, insurers use age, sex, and other statistical factors to make a determination about risk.
In most cases, however, health factors and medical diagnoses are not part of the risk profile when car insurance is rated.
While doctors may have an obligation to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state about your diagnosis if there is cause for concern, they do not need to inform auto insurers. Auto insurers do not have access to your health records to determine risk.
If your sleep apnea is not reflected in your own driving history with accidents or errors, the impact of the diagnosis on your impact is minimal. Your own history of safe and reliable driving is perhaps the most substantial element of risk assessment.
You can compare the policies and prices from a wide array of auto insurers online to ensure that you are making the best choice with the greatest value. Rates offered can vary widely from insurer to insurer, so it can be important to shop around.
Controlling Sleep Apnea
While some people suspect they may have sleep apnea, many are undiagnosed, which means they are also not receiving treatment. In most cases, doctors use a sleep study to help diagnose sleep apnea in adults.
One thing that can sometimes cause people to hesitate before seeking help for sleep apnea is the fact that some states place restrictions on drivers with untreated sleep apnea.
The positive side, however, is that sleep apnea is very treatable with a CPAP machine and mask or other new treatment options.
Treated and controlled sleep apnea is generally not subject to driving restrictions.
By showing a healthy apnea-hypoxia index (AHI) on a consistent basis, you will avoid or remove restrictions on your driving license imposed due to sleep apnea. By using a CPAP machine and following doctors’ advice, you will be fully capable of driving safely.
How can you choose the best insurance for you?
When you are choosing the best car insurance options for you, it’s best to compare multiple policies from a variety of insurers. Auto insurers offer an array of options, coverage levels, and premiums.
If you are concerned about the potential impact of sleep apnea on your driving and car, making sure that you have a fuller insurance policy like collision or comprehensive insurance can help to make sure that you are protected.
While basic liability coverage ensures that other motorists are protected in case you are at fault in a crash, collision and comprehensive coverage provide important reassurance for you.
- Collision coverage can even protect you in the case of collisions with a guard rail, telephone pole, mailbox, pothole or another inanimate object on the side of the road or in your driveway.
- Comprehensive coverage goes even further, to cover damages caused by other factors including fires, natural disasters, fallen objects or theft.
Choosing the right kind of auto insurance can help you achieve the level of financial protection that is right for you. Shop around to compare policies from multiple insurers to find the best fit and value. Enter your zip code into our quote tool below to get started.