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If you need glasses to drive, do you need to tell your insurer?

Published 2 June 2016 by

There are a number of ways that you could invalidate your car insurance – underestimating your mileage, failing to tell your insurer about certain car modifications or listing yourself as the main driver when you’re not.

Something you might not be aware of is that not wearing your glasses or contacts while driving can also invalidate your car insurance. To give you an idea of what the consequences of this could be, we’re going to take you through the risks involved.

More likely to crash

Before we take you through what leaving your glasses at home could mean for your car insurance, let’s first take a look at how it could affect your driving. In a study by Direct Line, more than 13 million motorists with a vision defect admit that they drive without glasses or contacts sometimes.

Around a fifth of drivers say that they always drive without them. Direct Line found that people were most likely to drive without glasses or contacts on short trips. Shockingly, one in 10 people said they drove without their glasses on the school run.

The study found that men and those aged between 18 and 34 were more likely than any other group to drive without the aid of their glasses. That’s not all – many are failing to make sure their eyesight is good enough to drive. Almost two-fifths say that they haven’t had an eye test in the past two years.

Potential risks

Driving without your glasses or contacts can not only cause harm to yourself and others, but can carry other severe consequences.

The failure to wear the correct eyewear to drive could invalidate your car insurance policy. This means that if you have an accident and need to make a claim, your insurance company could say that you have to foot the bill for the repairs.

That’s not all – you could also face fines of up to £1,000 and potentially, be given a prison sentence if you’re found guilty of causing an accident by negligence. Based on historic prosecution data, those who cause death due to inadequate eyesight could face up to 14 years in prison – but keep in mind that this is rare.

Eyesight standard

The legal requirement to drive is that you can read a licence plate at 20 meters in good conditions. You could see your licence revoked and you might even be prosecuted you can’t do this when you’re asked to. If your eyesight is registered below 0.5 (6/12) on the Snellen scale, or you have an eye condition such as cataracts, you should inform the DVLA.

At the moment, it’s not compulsory for motorists to have regular eyesight tests until they reach the age of 70. From this point onwards, motorists must re-apply for their licence every three years and are obliged to declare any medical issues such as weakening eyesight.

It’s recommend that you have an eye test every two years. You might be entitled to a free eye test as part of the NHS Low Income scheme if you receive certain benefits. To find out more about this, check out our blog.

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