What is disability car insurance? Is there such a thing as auto insurance for the disabled? What is the best insurance to buy with a disability that can make you a greater risk on the road?
We are here to help you find out what you need to know. Let’s go over your insurance options for when you are a disabled driver and what kind of coverage you need, and most importantly, what your legal rights are on the road.
What is disability car insurance?
Technically, there is no such thing as disability car insurance, handicap vehicle insurance, or even disabled car insurance.
There is such a thing as disability insurance, but that is not the same thing as disability car insurance. Insurance companies are not allowed to charge more or less money for insurance just because a driver has a pre-existing condition or disability.
Even so, many would think that having such conditions make you a greater risk on the road and that an insurance company would charge you more, but neither of these things is the case.
While all of this is true, that isn’t to say that there are not certain situations where a disability will have an impact on your car insurance.
How a Medical Condition or Disability Can Affect Your Car Insurance
There aren’t any disability car insurance rules. However, while a car insurance company cannot legally discriminate against you, there are certain situations where your medical condition can have an impact on your coverage.
If your medical condition has an impact on the way you drive such as having some sort of vision impairment, missing a limb, having a medical condition like severe seizures, or even a temporary injury, then you will likely need to provide an insurance company with paperwork about your medical condition and a periodic medical evaluation letter from your doctor stating that it is safe for you to drive.
The specifics range from state to state, though, so there isn’t a “one size fits all” in this situation. You may have to have long-term disability insurance, depending on your personal needs.
Some states may issue a restricted driver’s license (like only being able to drive during the day), or you may have to make modifications to your car to make sure that it is safe for you to drive.
You must disclose any medical condition to your auto insurance company that could put yourself or others at risk while on the road. If you don’t mention your condition or disability to your insurance and you later get into an accident and they determine that your disability caused it, then this will lead to the termination of your insurance.
With that said, know your rights.
Auto Insurance Discrimination Laws
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that insurance companies cannot charge higher premiums to drivers with conditions or disabilities. There are also several resources for you if you have a low income or are unemployed due to disability.
There are disability-focused nonprofits that can help you find low rates and cheap insurances and policy benefits for disabled veterans or military members.
How to Modify Your Vehicle and Get Assisted Technology
In some cases, your condition or disability may require you to make adjustments to your vehicle to better suit your needs. This will increase the overall worth of your car, however, so your premiums will be much higher. You may also need to get extra coverage to protect any medical equipment for your car in case of an accident.
To modify your vehicle, first start with researching the modification you need and how much it will cost. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is a good source for finding vehicles with modifications and mechanics who can make those additions to your vehicle.
Be sure to ask technicians their background in installing modification equipment and be sure to look for shops that can also make repairs to these types of equipment.
Modifying a vehicle can get expensive, especially if you are already struggling with money. Make sure to check out organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs, Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS), and the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
There are also several medical tax deductibles you can write off as well as manufacturer rebates from auto manufacturers.
How You Get Coverage on a Vehicle with Expensive Equipment
You will need to get specific coverage for your medical equipment. There are adaption coverages and equipment insurance that you will want to look out for when researching auto insurance.
You need to disclose any modification your vehicle has had to your auto insurance company. Failing to do so could mean that in the case of an accident or damage, your equipment repairs will not be covered.
Additional Car Insurance Coverage You May Need
Having full coverage on your vehicle is even more important when you are a driver with a pre-existing condition.
On top of what is normally offered in full coverage — personal liability, collision and comprehensive, personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments (MedPay), and uninsured and underinsured motorist — you will want to add some additional coverage as well:
- Roadside assistance in case your vehicle and medical equipment are ruined in an accident
- Adaption or special equipment coverage for your medical equipment and the custom parts that you added to your vehicle. This equipment is very expensive to buy and even more expensive to replace, so good insurance coverage is important. This coverage should also cover the equipment that is not attached to your car, such as your wheelchair, walker, or scooter.
- Mobility car insurance coverage to reimburse you for the cost of temporary transportation if your vehicle is being repaired
How to Find Cheap Car Insurance
You may wonder: “If you have a disability, is car insurance cheaper or more expensive?” And the answer to that can range. Theoretically, your insurance should not cost any more or any less regardless of the driver’s conditions or disabilities.
When you consider adding equipment to your vehicle and further insurance to cover that equipment, then the answer usually comes out to insurance costing disabled drivers more.
So how do you work around this? Discounts, discounts, discounts. Search not only for any discounts that you are eligible for, like senior driver discounts, veteran or military discounts, and low-mileage and loyalty discounts.
You may also want to consider looking for disability insurance coverage when shopping around for auto insurance. Likely, if you are a disabled driver, you will also need disability insurance, and you can often get much cheaper rates when grouping auto insurance, life insurance, and other kinds of insurance with the same company.
Remember, though, that getting disability insurance is separate from navigating car insurance with a disability.
You can also choose not to add yourself to a policy if you do not plan on driving. Most cities and areas with larger populations provide transportation assistance, and they can sometimes be the cheaper option.
There are many transportation options for more urbanized areas. Buses, trains, and subways are a common and often cheaper way to get around. Just be sure to check out their accessibility guidelines and pathways before using these services.
Some places like Paratransit have door-to-door transportation systems specifically for someone with a disability.
You could also opt to use services like Uber, Lyft, and taxis to get around. A number of these companies like Uber offer very specific services to disabled people. They have drivers with vehicles that can fit large equipment like wheelchairs, and the drivers may have training in how to accommodate and respond to any needs a disabled passenger may have.
Breanne Lingo writes and researches about auto insurance for AutoInsurance.org.