Mothers who have given birth by C-section are often told they won’t be able to drive for several weeks, even if they feel well enough, but the reality is much more complicated.
Like all operations, C-sections require recovery time while the body heals.
But unlike other operations, a myth has grown around C-sections and car insurance, namely that mothers are not insured to drive for the next six weeks. This is not completely true.
Insured? Many new mothers believe they won’t have insurance if they drive after a C-section, but that’s not necessarily true.
No major auto insurer has set rules for insuring women who have had C-sections.
Instead, they rely heavily on medical and government guidelines for when it’s safe to get back behind the wheel.
Here’s everything you need to know about driving and insurance after a C-section.
Driving and C-sections: What is the advice?
The major auto insurers we spoke to told us they don’t have a six-week waiting period during which C-section moms can’t drive.
This is Money spoke to the 10 largest motor insurance groups, which issue the majority of UK motor insurance policies, including Aviva, Direct Line, Esure, RSA and Hastings Direct.
Ultimately, all insurers say it’s safe to resume driving after a C-section once the mother and doctor agree. That could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
An Aviva spokesperson said: “As long as the doctor has given the go-ahead and the person is fit to drive, then they are absolutely fine.”
“They don’t need to provide proof and we don’t need to write down anything about their policy, including C-sections.
“A customer would only need to notify us of a medical condition if they have notified the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about it.”
However, it is better to stay safe and not rush back to driving too fast.
In part, this is for safety reasons, because a C-section is a serious operation and it takes time to recover properly.
But also, if you drive in an unfit state after surgery, your auto insurer may refuse to pay any claim.
The largest auto insurance company, Admiral, said it was relying on mothers driving again when their doctor advised it was safe to do so.
Get medical advice: Aviva insurer says that if a new mother is comfortable driving and her doctor has said it’s okay, then she can go ahead.
An Admiral spokesman said: ‘This applies to any major medical treatment. For example, if someone had an operation that affected their ability to drive, we would expect them to follow their medical expert’s advice on when it is safe to do so.
“This is mainly to reduce the risk of further injury. They may also be taking strong painkillers or have limited mobility, which could affect their ability to drive safely and put other road users at risk.”
Other insurers, such as Hastings Direct, rely on the DVLA’s guidance on when mothers can drive again.
What does the DVLA say?
The DVLA says drivers should talk to their doctor about when it is safe to get back behind the wheel.
The driving agency also said motorists do not need to tell it about any surgery unless it affects your driving and lasts for more than three months.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you fail to report a medical condition affecting your driving to the DVLA. You can also be prosecuted if you later have an accident.
Motorists must be able to drive a car safely before returning to the roads after surgery and must have valid insurance.
A Hastings Direct spokesperson said: “We have no specific restrictions relating to driving after caesarean or other operations, however we always advise customers to follow DVLA guidance on medical conditions and driving to ensure the customer is within of the terms of your license.
Does Driving After a C-Section Mean Driving Without Insurance?
Yes, but only if you are unfit to drive by the time you get back behind the wheel and then have an accident.
Admiral’s spokesperson said: “While it would not automatically invalidate your insurance if someone drove against medical advice, if they did and were involved in an incident to which your condition directly caused or contributed, then we could refuse coverage.”
“However, this would be rare, and we would evaluate it on a case-by-case basis and consider any extenuating circumstances.”
Can I get a car insurance reimbursement if I can’t drive?
If you’re recovering from surgery and can’t drive, it seems reasonable to wonder if you can get reimbursed for some or all of your auto insurance costs during that period.
After all, your car will be sitting there, which means there is no risk of crashing it.
But insurers don’t see it that way, and no insurer offers money back to drivers who are recovering.
A Hastings Direct spokesperson noted that even if a car is not being driven, the insurance policy must still cover the owner for the risk of theft or fire damage.
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