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Elderly mother fibbing on car insurance

(178 Posts)
Transitory73 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:24:28

I think that I’m in the right, but would appreciate some insight.

(I’ve namechanged for this).

My mother is 86. She learned to drive in her fifties, and has had a car ever since. My father is still alive, and doesn’t drive.

I discovered today that when she renewed her car insurance earlier this year, she deliberately concealed a medical condition. She has been undergoing treatment for macular degeneration for a year.

She’s just acquired a new (to her) car, which arrives next week, and because she goes to pieces when she has to deal with any kind of call centre, I called up on her behalf to ask for her insurance to be adjusted. After I’d made the call, she said, “you didn’t mention my macular degeneration did you?”

I was furious with her. She thinks that everything is ok because she had an eye test at the optician earlier this year, after she’d renewed the insurance having failed to disclose her eye condition, and the optician pronounced her fit to drive.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve had it out with her today and explained to her that she has invalidated her car insurance by concealing her condition. If she crashes her car, no insurance but worse still, if she hits somebody else and injures or kills them, her insurance won’t cover them. I think that she’s committing fraud, as well as being selfish and irresponsible.

None of this cuts any ice with my mother: her response is, “stop going on about it” and when that fails, “you’re really upsetting me now and I can’t cope with the stress at my age”.

She’s worried that her car insurance will go up, but my view is that if you want to carry on driving in your eighties, you need to pay the appropriate car insurance premium. She can’t understand why her premium is almost £1,000 even without disclosing her eye condition. The answer, of course, is that old people have more accidents.

What would you do?

A: tell her that if she doesn’t call her insurers and disclose her condition, I will.

B: leave well alone, on the grounds that she is an adult who can make her own decisions and take her own risks.

(The problem with B, of course, is that it’s not just herself she is putting at risk).

OP’s posts: |
Peach1204 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:27:00

Option A and take her keys until she lets you. It sounds awful but maybe that's a way of her knowing how dangerous it is.

Drumple Thu 06-Aug-20 19:27:46

Oh god. Nightmare.

Whoknowswhocares Thu 06-Aug-20 19:29:23

Stop calling it fibbing for a start. That’s white lie, doesn’t hurt anyone territory and diminishes the awfulness of what she is doing.

Option A for me without doubt. She may or may not be safe to drive, but that isn’t her call to make and she is deliberately breaking the law

Grumpymum789 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:29:54

She has invalidated her insurance by not declaring so in theory it’s actually the same as not bothering to buy it but with the added risk of vision loss.
If she reports it now will they not just adjust the premium and get the optics Ian to say she fit drive?

mnahmnah Thu 06-Aug-20 19:30:44

Can I assume that the DVLA don’t know either?

MsVestibule Thu 06-Aug-20 19:32:23

Definitely option A. You know you couldn't live with yourself if anything happened to either her or anybody else. Just make the call and deal with the family fallout. Do you have any siblings who can support you?

Transitory73 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:35:51

She has also concealed it from the DVLA.

When I spoke to her about it, I definitely used the word ‘lie’ instead of ‘fib’.

Yes, I assume that if she declares it now, her insurers will simply adjust her premium. That’s what I wanted her to do, but she won’t do it.

Anybody in the insurance biz who knows whether that is the case please? I’ll pay the difference myself, although she can afford it.

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:35:52

Crikey, this is so hard. I think I'm in the A camp. Many years ago, my grandfather was deemed unfit to drive due to his eyesight and had his license taken away. Well, the stubborn sod kept driving and was very sneaky about it. My dad found out, went to his home, and took the car away. His dad said he was stealing his car, and my dad responded by telling him to call the police then. grin

My grandfather was angry for a day or so but quickly got over it. He knew he was in the wrong.

kerfuffling Thu 06-Aug-20 19:36:38

Has she been renewing her licence every three years? If she hasn't told the DVLA she is breaking the law.

Floralnomad Thu 06-Aug-20 19:37:21

Definitely A ,the DVLA are actually really helpful , my mother had loads of medical conditions including eye problems and she still had a driving licence , she just had to renew it more frequently and have additional eye tests .

RoseAndRose Thu 06-Aug-20 19:37:31

"She thinks that everything is ok because she had an eye test at the optician earlier this year after she’d renewed the insurance having failed to disclose her eye condition, and the optician pronounced her fit to drive "

As she is for to drive optically, this is a case of ensuring that her insurers cannot declare her policy void.

What vision questions do they actually ask?

foxyknoxy30 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:38:41

Unfortunately option A you would never forgive yourself if something terrible happened

islandislandisland Thu 06-Aug-20 19:38:42

How incredibly selfish of her. Option A. A family member had macular degeneration and ended up almost entirely blind. Whilst I hope this doesn't happen to your mother, at what point would she admit that she shouldn't be driving if you don't intervene? There was a really powerful program about elderly drivers where a young man lost his wife when a car mounted the pavement and the driver didn't even notice, it was heartbreaking. Maybe see if you can find something like that and show it to her!

VettiyaIruken Thu 06-Aug-20 19:39:05

A.

Transitory73 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:39:23

Yes, she has been renewing it every three years and no, she has not told the DVLA. I could kill her.

For her it’s about loss of independence, but they don’t live in the middle of nowhere. She can walk to the shops easily, and to the train station, and she can afford taxis. I think she genuinely believes that if she’s in a crash she could just cry a bit and a kind policeman would pat her on the shoulder and make it all go away for the sweet old lady.

OP’s posts: |
blacksax Thu 06-Aug-20 19:39:42

This isn't really a car insurance issue. You know that, don't you?

This is all about whether she is actually fit to drive, or whether her failing eyesight makes her a danger to herself and everyone else. She has to have her eyes tested to see whether she can still legally drive or not.

Jojobar Thu 06-Aug-20 19:40:34

A.
It's basically insurance fraud. You're right that cover could be refused (not all insurers cover certain risks) and if it comes out after an accident they're likely to refuse to indemnify her, so she could be facing a bill for £1000s.

She really needs to declare it asap. The longer it goes on the worst it will be.

SisyphusAndTheRockOfUntidiness Thu 06-Aug-20 19:40:47

Option A. How will you feel if (when) she kills or injures someone, & is prosecuted for insurance fraud?

VinylDetective Thu 06-Aug-20 19:41:00

Does she have it in both eyes? This is what the NHS says:

AMD can make it unsafe for you to drive. Ask your specialist if they think you should stop driving.

You're required by law to tell DVLA about your condition if:

it affects both eyes
it only affects one eye but your remaining vision is below the minimum standards of vision for driving
Find out how to tell DVLA about a medical condition.

Transitory73 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:41:31

What vision questions do they actually ask?

I can’t speak for the DVLA (thanks to the poster above who described her mother’s experience in disclosing conditions to them) but the insurer specifically states that macular degeneration is a disclosable condition for car insurance.

OP’s posts: |
Transitory73 Thu 06-Aug-20 19:44:27

This is all about whether she is actually fit to drive, or whether her failing eyesight makes her a danger to herself and everyone else. She has to have her eyes tested to see whether she can still legally drive or not.

She had an eye test and the optician said that her eyes were good enough for her to drive (verified by third party...I wouldn’t believe my mother’s report of what went on) but the problem is her failure to disclose the macular degeneration on her insurance declaration.

She can’t accept that failing to disclose any medical condition probably invalidates the car insurance. She could have had the same eye test and failed to disclose e.g. high blood pressure: the result would be the same, ie invalid insurance.

OP’s posts: |
SisyphusAndTheRockOfUntidiness Thu 06-Aug-20 19:47:06

I'd love to drive. I could probably pass a test. However, medically, I am not allowed to, so I don't. I would probably kill someone eventually. I can't access manageable work because I can't drive. It makes our lives immeasurably harder, & we have to manage on very little money. It pisses me off that other people cannot be bothered to be responsible. Please do the right thing.

ChikiTIKI Thu 06-Aug-20 19:48:15

Out of deep love for whoever might get injured by your mother, please please report this to dvla and insurance. She could case extreme trauma, lifelong injuries or death and grief to someone and their loved ones.

Ohtherewearethen Thu 06-Aug-20 19:48:27

She's basically paying £1000 for nothing as the insurance is invalid. So she is wasting that money effectively. And driving illegally. She is breaking the law. Paying whatever the difference is would make her legally allowed to drive and the optician has declared her fit (is that definite by the way? Does she have any proof of this?) Otherwise you could try contacting the DVLA to register your concerns and leave it with them?

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