Is Car Insurance Cheaper If You Are Disabled?
Finding auto insurance as a driver with disabilities can be difficult. It’s illegal for car insurance companies to discriminate against drivers based on that driver’s disability. However, many drivers with disabilities still face discrimination in the auto insurance market.
Is car insurance really cheaper if you’re disabled? Will you pay lower or higher rates because of your disability? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about car insurance for individuals with disabilities.
How Does Car Insurance Work for Drivers with Disabilities?
As a driver with disabilities, you have the same rights as any other driver. Insurance companies are not allowed to deny car insurance coverage based on your disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits insurance companies from charging higher rates to individuals with disabilities.
However, insurance companies will still use certain factors – like your medical history, credit score, and accident history – to calculate insurance premiums, and that could result in individuals with disabilities paying more for car insurance.
For example, many insurance companies will ask the following question on an insurance application:
“Do you have any medical, nervous, physical, or mental conditions that would impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely?”
Many drivers with disabilities – including visual, mobility, and other disabilities – are forced to answer yes to this question.
Is It Illegal for Insurers to Charge Higher Rates to Drivers with Disabilities?
There are laws in place that prohibit insurance companies from charging disabled drivers higher rates because of their disability.
However, many insurance companies still ultimately charge drivers with disabilities higher rates because of risk. Insurance companies argue that certain disabilities make certain drivers riskier to insure, and the insurance company has to charge higher rates to cover this higher risk.
Insurance companies use dozens of risk factors to determine how much you pay for insurance coverage. There are big factors – like your driving history. There are also smaller factors – like your credit score and gender.
Here’s the problem: insurance is, by nature, discriminatory. Insurance companies use statistics to calculate risk, and those statistics can show that certain groups are at a higher risk of making a claim than other groups.
That’s why a 16-year old male will pay more for car insurance than a 16-year old female.
Ultimately, insurance companies cannot specifically use your disability to raise insurance premiums or deny you coverage. However, they can use your accident history, gender, age, credit score, and other factors to determine your risk.
Ultimately, this means some insurance companies will indirectly use your disability to charge you higher insurance premiums.
Insurance Companies Can Raise Rates for Certain Medical Conditions
Insurance companies are prohibited from charging higher rates based on a driver’s disability. However, insurers can still charge higher rates to drivers with disabilities based on:
- Medical conditions that are considered safety risks
- In-vehicle mobility enhancements or disability adaptations
If your vehicle has modifications that allow you to drive, for example, then your insurer may charge higher premiums to cover the cost of repairing or replacing these items after an accident.
Similarly, if you have a medical condition that makes you a higher-risk driver – like a condition that could cause you to lose consciousness while driving – then your insurer may charge higher premiums.
Insurance Companies Cannot Prevent You From Driving
It’s not up to the judgment of the insurance company to determine if you can drive safely. Instead, this is up to your state’s DMV and a medical professional. Your doctor might tell the DMV that your vision-related disability does not prevent you from driving, for example. Your insurance company might argue that you cannot safely drive, but the insurance company cannot prevent you from driving based on that reason.
If you are uncertain about your own driving limitations related to your disability, then contact your DMV for more information.
Insurance Can Cover Special Modifications to Vehicles
Many drivers with disabilities will use special modifications to safely drive. Fortunately, insurance companies can extend coverage to these modifications. Contact your insurance company to verify special equipment coverage.
Most insurance companies will easily add $1,000 of special equipment coverage to your policy.
If your special equipment is worth more than $1,000, then you may require additional coverage (which comes with additional fees). By paying an extra premium every month, for example, you can raise your special equipment coverage to $4,000 or $6,000.
Some of the special equipment covered by car insurance can include:
- Wheelchair elevators and ramps
- Amputee rings
- Pedal extenders
- Floor-mounted steering
- Push-pull hand controls
- Siren detectors for hearing-impaired drivers
- Wheelchair-adjustable seats and belts
If your vehicle has any of these modifications, then you will need to contact your insurance company to ensure this equipment is covered. If you don’t contact your insurance company, then you will not be compensated for special repairs or replacements if it’s damaged in the future.
Do Insurance Companies Offer Discounts to Drivers with Disabilities?
Do drivers with disabilities pay cheaper rates for car insurance? Do insurance companies offer special discounts to drivers with disabilities?
No, insurance companies do not offer any specific discounts to drivers with disabilities.
As mentioned above, drivers with disabilities are more likely to pay higher rates because of their higher perceived risk factor. However, there are still dozens of discounts available to drivers with disabilities. We’ll talk about those discounts next.
Discounts Available to Drivers with Disabilities
Drivers with disabilities can still access certain discounts. Some of the best discounts available to drivers with disabilities include:
Safe Driving Discounts: If you haven’t made a claim in 3+ years, then you may qualify for a safe driving discount.
Safety Equipment Discount: If you have safety equipment in your vehicle – like side airbags – then your insurance company may offer a small discount.
Telematics or Driver Tracking Devices: Many major insurance companies now offer discounts to individuals who install tracking devices into their vehicles. If you use an app or install a tracking device, for example, then your insurance company might give you a discount of up to 30% based on your usage. You can qualify for discounts based on safe driving behavior, low mileage, or driving outside of rush hour.
None of these discounts are available exclusively to drivers with disabilities. All drivers can qualify for the discounts above.
Car insurance typically isn’t cheaper for drivers with disabilities. Insurance companies are technically prohibited against discriminating against drivers based on their disabilities, which means insurance companies cannot raise rates or deny coverage specifically because of a driver’s disability.
However, many drivers will still charge drivers with disabilities higher insurance premiums because of other risk factors – like a driving record, medical condition, or disability-related vehicle modifications.
For all of these reasons, we recommend drivers with disabilities compare insurance quotes to ensure they get the best possible deal on car insurance.