Disability Car Insurance – Do You Need It?
Do you need disability car insurance? First of all, there is no such thing. But there is good news: you can purchase insurance policy add-ons to attach as riders to your regular insurance.
The American Disabilities Act (ADA)
Thanks to ADA, it is illegal for insurance companies to charge disabled drivers more solely because of the disability. However, there are certain situations, where your disability is deemed a potential risk for the insurance provider. That means that your premiums will likely be higher than they would be otherwise.
Some of the conditions considered disabilities that could impair driving:
- Cerebral palsy
- Epilepsy and other neurological disorders
- Vision impairment
- Hearing impairment
What to Do If You’re Not Sure About Your Limitations
It is not up to your insurance company to keep you from driving. Talk to your physician to sort out whether or not you have disabilities, what they are they and whether they would impair driving. If they determine that you shouldn’t drive, your doctor might notify your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Your impairments will be shown on your driver’s license. Get in touch with your state’s DMV if you have questions.
How is My Premium Amount Decided?
Insurance companies use a variety of factors, including disabilities, to decide premium costs. Even though the ADA states that you can’t legally be charged more because you are disabled, you can be considered a higher risk, depending on particular disabilities. Impaired vision, for example, can lead an insurance company to determine you are at higher risk of being in an accident than a driver with another type of disability.
As with all drivers, insurance providers also consider the following risk factors, depending on the state:
- Type of car you drive
- Mileage of your car
- Your gender
- Your age
- Your driving history
- Your credit rating
- Where you live
Vehicle Modifications and Insurance
If you have a vehicle modified due to a physical disability, make sure you have comprehensive collision coverage. You can add your level of coverage if you think your auto modifications would cost more than the typical $1,000. Additional coverage, usually possible for custom equipment, can increase your limit to $4,000 up to $5,000.
Typical vehicle modifications include:
- Floor-mounted steering
- Wheelchair ramps and lifts
- Special push-pull hand controls
- Amputee rings
- Pedal extenders
- Adjustable seats and seat belts to accommodate wheelchairs
- Siren detectors for hearing impaired
Note that you should disclose if your disability or condition is considered a safety risk or if your vehicle is, or needs to be, modified. Otherwise, if you are in an accident your insurance provider might refuse to give you a payout or might even cancel your policy.
Disabled Car Insurance Coverage for Drivers
There are additional kinds of auto insurance that can be helpful if you are disabled. Some insurance coverages to consider if you want to beef up your coverage include the following.
Personal injury protection (PIP) – Pays for bodily injury costs for you or your passengers due to an accident including:
- Lost wages due to temporary inability to work
- Other medical expenses
PIP coverage is no-fault, meaning that it covers your whether or not the accident is your fault or the fault of another driver. Some states, called no-fault states, require drivers to carry PIP coverage.
Adaptive equipment coverage – If you modify your vehicle due to your disabilities, this insurance covers damage the installed or unattached special equipment sustains.
Mobility car insurance – When your modified vehicle is being repaired due to damages in an accident, mobility car insurance covers the costs of temporary replacement transportation.
Roadside assistance – Provides peace of mind knowing that you are covered for roadside assistance and towing should you need it following an accident.
Other Sources for Help with Expenses
Manufacturer Mobility Reimbursement Programs
A lot of car dealers offer financial help when you purchase a new vehicle that is modified for your disabilities. If you are qualified, you could be provided reimbursement for these costs.
Here is a sampling of manufacturers, listed in alphabetical order, who offer mobility reimbursement programs:
- Disabled veterans can access options through Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Find resources that can help at Mobility International USA.
- If you need to rent an adapted van, Accessible Vans of America, LLC can help.
- Apply for a vehicle modification grant with National Organization for Vehicle Accessibility (NOVA).
- You can receive training for adaptive equipment added to your vehicle through an adaptive driver education company. Check with your local DMV.
50 State DMV Links
All 50 states and Washington, DC have websites with motor vehicle information for consumers. Some states have separate agencies for driver licensing and vehicle registration.
For road conditions and restrictions, visit the Federal Highway Administration.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
Ways to Keep Your Insurance Costs Down
Whether or not you are disabled, there are several tactics for keeping your insurance costs down. Here are some ways to save with discounts:
- Bundle your insurance policies
- Maintain low mileage
- Maintain good credit
- Good student discount
- Discount for having a car that is 5 years old or younger
- Raise your deductible if possible
- Reduce your coverage
- Get new quotes annually
- Make bi-annual insurance coverage payments instead of month-to-month
- Let your insurance company monitor your driving habits with a device attached to your car
- Buy insurance that bills based on a monitoring device installed in your car; the lower your mileage each month, the less you pay monthly.
Start comparing quotes online to find the best disability car insurance for you.