Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Collision insurance will cover damages to all people and vehicles involved in a vehicular collision
  • Comprehensive insurance will cover property and physical damages caused by a variety of situations not related to a collision
  • Liability insurance covers damage that you may cause to another person’s body or property

While most insurance companies don’t offer specifics policies to wheelchair-accessible vehicles, the cost and terms of your policy will reflect any modifications made to your vehicle.

Small adjustments such as the addition of an exterior lift won’t impact your insurance as much as larger modifications.

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Table of Contents

What should your insurance policy cover?

When shopping for insurance to cover an unmodified vehicle, it’s easy to compare quotes online and pick the best policy for your needs.

You can still compare prices online for disability insurance policies, but you will eventually want to speak to an insurance agent in person.

You want to tell the agent that the modifications and specialized equipment on your vehicle are for medical purposes, distinguishing your vehicle from those modified for leisure or racing purposes.

An agent can help you explore your options to ensure you obtain the best terms for your medical needs without inflating your insurance premium unnecessarily.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance covers damage that you may cause to another person’s body or property in the case of an accident.

It doesn’t cover your personal damages, so the insurance company isn’t concerned about modifications or specialized equipment added to your vehicle.

While you can get the most affordable premium for this type of policy, you will have to pay to replace and repair your own property in the case of an accident.

Comprehensive and Collision Insurance

Collision insurance will cover damages to all people and vehicles involved in a vehicular collision.

Comprehensive insurance will cover property and physical damages caused by a variety of situations not related to a collision.

Full auto coverage refers to a policy that includes collision and comprehensive coverage.

While you’ll pay higher premiums for this type of insurance, it’s the best option if you want to fully protect your vehicle.

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Special Equipment Insurance

When adding coverage, you should list all of the specialized equipment on your vehicle. The value of that equipment will allow the insurance company to cover replacement expenses when that equipment is damaged.

If you buy comprehensive coverage, you may still need to add special equipment coverage.

Don’t confuse this with handicapped equipment insurance which is often limited to basic equipment.

For instance, this type of policy may cover a standard wheelchair lift but not a lowered vehicle floor needed to accommodate a wheelchair.

Specialized Equipment

It’s important to tell your insurance company about all specialized equipment carried in your vehicle, including items that aren’t attached to the vehicle.

For instance, you may want to cover your wheelchair or a walker if you travel with them and they aren’t covered under another insurance policy.

The insurance company probably will not cover any item not listed on your policy, so try to include all medically-required items that you cannot afford to replace.

Access to Suitable Rental Cars

Many insurance policies allow you to rent a vehicle while your car is in the shop for repairs after an accident.

Since you require specialized equipment or modifications to drive safely and comfortably, you will need a rental vehicle that fits your needs.

If you don’t make sure that this is designated in the policy, you can’t expect the insurance company to expend more money finding an accessible vehicle if you are in an accident.

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Will you pay more to insure your wheelchair-accessible vehicle?

You can expect to pay at least a little more for your auto insurance when your vehicle is modified to accommodate a wheelchair.

Here are three reasons why this happens:

  • The addition of special equipment and advanced modification increases the value of your vehicle. This means that the insurance company will pay more to replace the vehicle if it’s totaled in an accident.
  • Many wheelchair-accessible vehicles require added coverage for specialized equipment that may get damaged in an accident. The insurance company will have to pay to repair and replace this equipment, so they need to charge more for the added coverage.
  • Insurance companies may consider disabled drivers a higher risk. Even though it’s illegal to increase rates due to a disability, many disabled drivers report receiving unfair treatment from insurance companies.

There are many other factors that insurance companies use to determine the level of risk associated with a driver, and many of these factors work in the favor of disabled drivers.

For instance, insurance companies will consider how often you drive and how far away from home you drive, and statistics show that disabled drivers are less likely to go on long-distance trips.

The Cost of Adaptive Driving

Adapting a vehicle you already own to accommodate a wheelchair is expensive, so you may not receive much assistance from your health insurance company.

Once you pay for the necessary modifications, the last thing you want to hear is that your wheelchair will also increase your insurance premium.

Here are two ways to handle this problem:

  • Take the time to compare quotes from as many insurance companies as possible, including smaller companies that you haven’t used in the past. Every company has a unique formula for assessing risk, and a good insurance agent can help present your situation in the most favorable manner.
  • Search for programs offering financial assistance to disabled drivers. These programs may not reduce the cost of your auto insurance, but they can lower the cost of adapting your vehicle or purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

You may qualify for assistance from the PASS program offered by the Social Security Administration if you need an adaptive vehicle to secure a job.

If paying for auto insurance and a vehicle modification is too much for your budget, try to find wheelchair-accessible transportation in your area.

Many states offer wheelchair-accessible taxis, and your health insurance may cover some type of transportation for medical appointments.

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References:

  1. http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/transport/vehicle-insurance.php
  2. http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/freedom_to_travel/html/data_analysis.html
  3. https://www.dmv.com/pa/pennsylvania/disabled-drivers
  4. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/wi/pass.htm
  5. http://ohr.dc.gov/taxis/request