Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Many of the drivers on the nation’s roads suffer from disabilities
  • Drivers who have disabilities may eventually need to have their vehicles modified to carry mobility assistance equipment like wheelchairs
  • Drivers who have wheelchair equipped vehicles can often save money by using car insurance comparison shopping websites

Millions of people use the roads of the nation for their transportation needs every day. A sizable number of these people have disabilities and drive vehicles that they modify for use with wheelchairs.

These wheelchair modified vehicles and the people who drive them face a unique set of challenges in the car insurance marketplace.

Luckily, there are many good methods in place to handle these challenges.

This article will take a closer look at some of these effective insurance-management methods, as well as ways in which drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles can find the most appropriate car insurance policies.

Find the car insurance you need for the best rate by using our free comparison tool above.

Car Insurance Considerations for Drivers of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

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There are a few basic types of wheelchair lifts for vehicles, and these include external, hybrid, and internal wheelchair lifts.

  • External wheelchair lifts – attached to the outside of vehicles, usually on the rear-end. These kinds of lifts can be used on smaller cars as well as larger vehicles but may require drivers who use wheelchairs to walk from the rear to the front of the car in question.
  • Internal wheelchair lifts – installed on the inside of vehicles. Because of their size, these kinds of lifts are usually installed on larger vehicles such as SUVs.
  • Hybrid wheelchair lifts – installed inside vehicles, but also offer drive-in platforms that make it easier for wheelchair-bound people to wheel themselves into the vehicle.

There are many reasons why people may need to drive vehicles that have wheelchair accessibility adaptations in place. Some common reasons can include:

  • Someone who drives the vehicle on a regular basis has mobility issues.
  • Someone who is a member of a household that owns a wheelchair adapted vehicle has mobility issues.
  • Someone who drives the wheelchair adapted vehicle has a need to transport non-family members who may have mobility issues.

Whatever the underlying reasons may be for vehicular adaptations, these modifications can end up costing the owners of such vehicles a lot of money. Luckily, people who need such vehicles can often find financial aid designed specifically for vehicle modifications.

For example, veterans who have mobility issues and wish to modify their personal vehicles can often secure financial aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

One organization that makes it their business to provide guidance for people with mobility issues is the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA).

The NMEDA maintains a list of dealers that are industry certified to install, service, and repair vehicle-based wheelchair lifts.

In order to forestall possible insurance and liability problems, it is important for the owners of wheelchair accessible vehicles to have such equipment installed by people who have such certifications in place.

Once prospective owners of wheelchair equipped vehicles have decided on an installer, they will need to decide whether or not they want to buy a new or used vehicle.

If they decide to buy a brand new vehicle, prospective owners are usually eligible for rebates from the maker of the vehicle in question.

For example, a person who makes the choice to buy their future vehicle from Toyota may be able to secure valuable savings by visiting the toyotamobility.com website. Many of the other major automakers have similar programs in place.

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Possible Insurance Pitfalls That Drivers of Wheelchair Adapted Vehicles Should be Aware Of

Car insurance companies are in the business of making a profit as well as providing coverage.

They often hesitate to cover drivers who they either consider high-risk or who operate vehicles that are on the expensive side.

– Proper Treatment by Insurance Companies

Since wheelchair modifications can actually increase the value of modified vehicles, some car insurance companies may seek to save cash by overcharging their disabled customers.

In order for drivers with disabilities to avoid such treatment, they may commit to using the services of car insurance comparison shopping websites.

These websites collect the policy details of many different car insurers and then place these details in their databases, saving their users time and money along the way.

Drivers who operate wheelchair adapted vehicles certainly owe it to their bank accounts to make thorough use of these valuable online repositories of insurance information.

– Using Wheelchair Adapted Vehicles for Work

Drivers of wheelchair adapted vehicles who use such vehicles for work purposes may need to take out business owners policies (BOPs).

By increasing policy limits, BOPs provide extra levels of protection and thus allow drivers of wheelchair adapted work vehicles to use their cars while on the job.

Shopping for the Right Coverage

People who drive wheelchair accessible vehicles can certainly have a hard time finding compatible car insurance policies.

As these drivers engage in this search for coverage, many insurance companies will try to sell them policies that are less than adequate for their needs and more expensive than they can afford.

The good news is, even though these insurance issues are widespread, drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles who make good use of the information found in this article can almost certainly find adequate and affordable car insurance coverage.

Compare car insurance rates today for free by using our free quote tool.