Car Insurance for a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Insurance companies do not base their decisions on whether a potential client is disabled
  • They base their decisions on a potential client’s level of risk, which is fully allowed by law
  • Companies may also consider the degree of modifications you make on your vehicle due to your disability
  • Be sure to disclose your condition fully to get the best possible rates

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) of 1990 prohibits car insurance companies from refusing car insurance to people with disabilities. They are also banned from raising rates simply because of their disability.

However, since some physically challenged persons are more of a risk to insurance companies than those who are not, some insurance companies use other criteria to determine rates in the case of persons with disabilities.

If you are physically challenged, make sure you have the right auto insurance coverage. Just enter your zip code to start comparison!

Loopholes in the Law

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Some insurance companies charge more for wheelchair accessible vehicles because they are more “highly modified” than the average vehicle.

The more modified a vehicle is the more the driver risks an accident due to obstructions in their line of sight, interference with normal driving conditions, or other factors.

Opponents of the higher rates argue that this is discrimination. However, this would be difficult to prove.

Insurance companies argue that the extra modifications add to the overall value of the handicapped vehicle and increase the likelihood of theft or vandalism in some cases.

Things to Consider When Applying for Insurance

With this in mind, you may want to consider the following concepts when obtaining insurance for your wheelchair user accessible vehicle.

  • Full Disclosure – When applying for an auto insurance policy for a wheelchair accessible vehicle, be sure to fully disclose all modifications to your vehicle. This should include any and all modifications that you made to your vehicle. Different types of changes can have different effects on your rates
  • Equipment Coverage – Make sure that any of the handicapped equipment such as wheelchairs are covered under your insurance. Wheelchairs that are going to be placed on the outside of your vehicle, as well as any other equipment that you take with you, should be covered
  • Disability Classification – Fully disclose your specific disability to remove doubts about your level of risk while driving. Your rates may be determined based on the likelihood of an accident due to your disability but not because of the disability itself
  • Ask for details – Ask questions before signing up when you have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. If you ask the right questions when you apply for insurance, you will be able to compare different types of insurance coverage adequately and make a more educated decision on your policy

Concerns for Safety on the Road

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The New York Times recently reported that, due to the increased number of physically challenged and physically challenged drivers, there is a growing concern among other drivers, as well as the physically challenged drivers themselves for their safety on the road.

Physically challenged drivers are inhibited physically in some cases which may limit their ability to respond quickly or to perform simple driving tasks that non-handicapped people take for granted.

Rob Smith is a quadriplegic who must use something called a “tri-pin” which enables him to operate his steering wheel.

Despite the fact that it would be desirable to think these physically challenged individuals are as safe or capable as their non-handicapped peers, it simply isn’t true.

Still, insurance providers try to help handicapped persons compensate for these disabilities when it comes to their insurance.

No matter what situation a person finds themselves in, as long as it is not overtly dangerous for them to drive, they are entitled to insurance.

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What should you look for in insurance coverage?

If you are a disabled driver with a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you are entitled to coverage, as long as your disability does not interfere greatly with your ability to drive safely.

The law protects other drivers equally with physically challenged persons.

You must shop and compare insurance plans and fully disclose your disability, to get the best rates on your insurance.

Discrimination does not occur if insurance companies make their decision on your coverage on vehicle modifications, an extreme disability that increases your risk factor, or other situations that raise your risk level.

However, if you present the proper information regarding your handicapping condition, communicate with and ask questions, and compare policies, there is no reason why you cannot obtain suitable insurance for your wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Remember that your disability does not excuse you from following the law and you are still fully responsible for driving safely and obeying all traffic rules.

Your driving record is the single most influential factor on your premium rates, just as it is with a non-handicapped person.

What questions should you ask your insurance agent?

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When shopping and comparing insurance plans, here are some questions you can ask your online agent. By asking these questions upfront, you will have less trouble finding the right coverage as you shop and compare.

  • What do you consider a modification on a vehicle?
  • What are the rates for a handicapped driver with my specific disability?
  • How can I decrease my insurance rates?
  • Do you offer any disability discounts?
  • Do you offer comprehensive coverage for handicap equipment that rides outside my vehicle?

All of these questions will shed some light on your particular options with different companies. If the quote you receive is too high, you may want to consider another company.

Don’t stop until you have found the policy that you are most comfortable with and one that you feel best protects your interests.

Use our FREE comparison tool below. Just enter your zip code to get started!

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