Car Insurance for the Disabled
Most insurance companies won’t ask drivers outright whether they have a disability, but that doesn’t mean a disability won’t affect the policy-building process. Having a disability can often mean higher premiums – one study concluded that those with disabilities paid an average of $600 more annually for insurance. And higher costs are not the only concern; simply finding appropriate coverage can be challenging as well.
Why Do Disabled Drivers Pay More for Car Insurance?
Insurers can’t charge disabled policyholders more than anyone else because of a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act strictly prohibits this kind of discrimination. And yet, there are certain risk rating factors which are likely to work against disabled drivers and result in higher premiums:
- Health Problems: A number of health problems can land a disabled driver in a higher risk category.
- Vehicle Upgrades: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of modified, accessible vehicles is only expected to increase as the American population continues to age. These custom cars can be difficult for the insurance company to replace. An accessible vehicle may require specialized parts and labor which increase costs significantly. For example, a wheelchair conversion for a van can cost up to $20,000.
Special Coverage Worth Considering
Disabled drivers might also pay more when they take advantage of additional, special coverage options extended to them. Some examples include:
- Adaption Coverage: Standard insurance policies often limit vehicle repair/restoration to ‘factory condition’, which wouldn’t include any modifications or after-market upgrades which may have been made to the vehicle. Adaption coverage will pay for these installations if they need to be repaired or replaced due to an accident.
- Mobility Insurance: Many policies will provide a rental car should you be involved in an accident, but not every rental vehicle is able to accommodate disabled individuals. Additional mobility insurance will cover alternative transportation costs such as taxi expenses.
- Equipment Insurance: This special coverage option is sometimes unnecessary, as your homeowner’s policy should cover items like a walker, wheelchair, or other special medical equipment. But if the loss of special medical equipment isn’t covered in the event of an accident (such as a car crash), equipment coverage under your car insurance policy is a worthwhile investment.
Finding auto insurance companies that offer these three special coverage options can be more difficult than shopping for a standard policy. If you’re having trouble, contact your state’s insurance regulator to inquire about your options. Also, if you feel that you’ve been discriminated against due to your disability in your attempts to purchase insurance, contact the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division or consult an attorney for advice.