Car Insurance for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
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Getting car insurance for a wheelchair accessible vehicle may seem complicated – but it’s easier than you think. Thousands of Americans have adequate coverage for their wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Car insurance for a wheelchair accessible vehicle works similarly to other car insurance policies, although you need to add modified parts coverage to your policy. Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal for insurers to charge higher prices for wheelchair adapted vehicles.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about wheelchair accessible vehicle insurance, including how much it costs, how to save, and how to ensure you have adequate coverage.
How Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Insurance Works
If you have a disability, then you might own a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Your vehicle has been modified to work with a wheelchair.
Wheelchair accessible vehicle insurance policies work similarly to other policies. You can buy liability coverage (to cover damage you may cause to other people and property). You can buy collision coverage (to cover accident-related repairs to your own vehicle), and you can buy comprehensive coverage (to cover theft, vandalism, and non-accident-related damages).
Where wheelchair car insurance differs, however, is with modification coverage. You may need to list your vehicle modifications on your insurance policy. You may need to pay extra to cover this modification. Or, if the modification is worth less than a certain amount (typically around $1,000), it may be covered by your policy at no extra cost.
It’s Illegal for Insurers to Charge Higher Rates Because of a Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums to drivers because of their disability.
Drivers with a disability could pay higher rates for car insurance due to other factors – like having more speeding tickets or at-fault accidents on their record. However, insurance companies cannot charge that driver higher rates simply because of the disability.
Let’s say you have two 29-year old male drivers. Both drivers have a clean record with no speeding tickets or at-fault accidents within the last five years. One driver has a disability that requires the use of a wheelchair. The insurance company must legally charge both drivers the same price for car insurance: the insurer cannot charge higher premiums to the driver with the disability.
If You Can Pass a Driver’s Test, Then You’re Allowed to Drive
Drivers with disabilities often encounter barriers. However, insurers cannot prevent a driver with a disability from driving. In fact, only the DMV or a doctor can prevent you from driving.
As long as you meet the following qualifications, you can legally drive and buy car insurance regardless of your disability
- You have passed a driver’s test
- A doctor has not alerted the DMV that it’s unsafe for you to drive
Drivers with a severe disability may be unable to safely operate a vehicle. In this case, a doctor may alert the DMV that the driver cannot safely operate a vehicle, in which case the driver cannot obtain a license.
In other cases, however, drivers with a disability can freely operate a vehicle without issue. As long as you can pass a driver’s test, a driver with a disability is treated no differently than a driver without a disability.
Disclose your Wheelchair Modification When Buying Car Insurance
Wheelchair modification car insurance works similarly to ordinary car insurance. However, you still need to alert the DMV about your vehicle modification.
When applying for car insurance, be sure to disclose your vehicle’s modifications. Different changes can affect your rates in different ways.
Make sure you get coverage for any additional equipment on the vehicle. Wheelchair lifts and other modifications can cost thousands of dollars. If this equipment is damaged in an accident, you could be forced to pay out of pocket. Insurance could deny your claim because this equipment was not stated on your policy.
When applying for car insurance coverage, ask your insurer about the following:
- Ask about the possibility of disability discounts
- Ask about discounts for veterans, if applicable
- Verify you have adequate coverage for your vehicle modification
- Check additional coverage and costs
Some insurers let you easily add modifications to your insurance policy. You might simply need to name the equipment on your policy for it to be covered.
In other cases, the insurer requires you to pay a few extra dollars per month to cover the equipment. The insurer is not discriminating against a driver with a disability when charging them a few extra dollars per month: the insurer is charging more because the car is more valuable. A car with a $4,000 wheelchair lift, for example, is worth more than a similar car without a wheelchair lift.
Does Insurance Cover Wheelchair Modifications?
As long as wheelchair modifications are listed on your car insurance policy, and as long as your insurer knows about these modifications, insurance will cover wheelchair modifications.
Insurers cover damage that occurs to your wheelchair modifications in certain situations. Depending on the situation, you may be covered through your collision coverage or comprehensive coverage.
Collision Coverage: Collision coverage covers damage to your vehicle during an accident you caused. If you smash into another vehicle at an intersection, for example, and cause $5,000 of damage to your vehicle and your wheelchair lift, then collision coverage will cover these costs up to the limits of your policy.
Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle caused by non-accident-related incidents, including hail damage, vandalism, or theft. If someone steals your vehicle and vandalizes your wheelchair lift, for example, then comprehensive coverage covers the cost of repairing or replacing everything, up to the limits of your policy.
Overall, insurance will make you whole again after an accident. Your insurer will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle – including any modifications to your vehicle like wheelchair accessibility equipment.
Final Word on Getting Car Insurance for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
Car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles works similar to car insurance for other vehicles. You buy a policy, and that policy covers the cost of repairing or replacing your items.
When buying car insurance for a wheelchair accessible vehicle, make sure your insurer knows about the modifications. You may need to buy added coverage. At the very least, you need to list these modifications in your policy for everything to be covered.
Compare car insurance quotes online today to ensure you’re paying the lowest possible rates for your wheelchair accessible car insurance.