Is Car Insurance Cheaper If You Are Disabled?
Last Updated on July 24, 2020
It’s illegal for car insurance companies to discriminate against drivers based on that driver’s disability. That means drivers with a disability cannot be charged higher prices because of that disability.
However, many drivers with disabilities still face discrimination in the auto insurance market. In many cases, drivers with disabilities still pay more expensive rates for car insurance.
To compensate, many drivers with disabilities search for discounts. Although rare, some drivers with disabilities may pay cheaper rates for car insurance by taking advantage of discounts.
How Car Insurance Works 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. Insurance companies are also not permitted to charge higher rates because of your disability, assuming you have a valid physical or cognitive disability, like epilepsy.
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?
Fortunately for many, it is illegal for insurers to charge higher rates to drivers with disabilities. There are laws 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 your 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 use your disability to directly 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. In other words, some insurance companies will indirectly use your disability to charge you higher insurance premiums.
Insurance Companies Can Raise Rates for Certain Medical Conditions
In most cases, 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. The reason high premiums are warranted is that this equipment can be very expensive.
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 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 with minimal hassle. Just call your insurer to add this endorsement to your policy.
If your vehicle has extensive modifications, however, then $1,000 may not cover the value of this equipment. If your modifications are worth $2,000 or more, then add supplemental coverage to your policy to stay protected.
Some of the special modifications and equipment that can be covered by car insurance 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
No major insurance company offers a discount for any specific disability. However, 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 or a claims-free discount.
Safety Equipment Discount: If you have safety equipment in your vehicle – like side airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, lane departure systems, or daytime running lights – 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.
Final Word on Insurance Rates for the Disabled
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 insurers 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. Take advantage of discounts to ensure you pay low prices on car insurance as a driver with disabilities.