The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was first enacted in 1990 to prevent auto insurance companies from discriminating against people with disabilities are charging them a high premium. That said, the premium for disabled drivers can still be a bit more than the average amount. This is because of the inherent costs involved in making a car safe for disabled drivers and additional car modifications that can be expensive to repair.
However, no insurer can deny insurance to a person with disabilities, especially if they have a good track record as responsible drivers. Mobility enhanced cars make it safe for disabled people to drive around and be independent.
Let’s read more about car insurance for disabled drivers and other information you need to know when choosing an insurance policy.
Firstly, there is no special car or auto insurance for people with disabilities. The purpose of ADA is to prevent any discrimination. Disabled people can apply for vehicle insurance the same way others do. The only difference here is that they might have to go for additional coverage like mobility car insurance or add-ons to protect the specialised vehicles and pay for damages.
One vital point is that people with disabilities are not high-risk drivers. Insurance companies cannot use disability as a criterion to categorise clients as low, medium, and high risk. People with hearing or visual disabilities will have to be medically approved and legally certified for driving.
Factors to Consider When Getting Car Insurance for Disabled People
Reducing risk will help reduce the premium payment. This can be done by adding safety equipment to the car or using a specialised vehicle designed for wheelchair use, etc. Insurance companies may ask for medical certification to confirm that the person is eligible to drive. However, this is not compulsory.
As mentioned in the previous point, medical approval is not mandatory for all disabled drivers. The local DMV will determine the necessity of medical certification during the license test. That said, insurance companies tend to ask for a clearance certificate from the doctor to ascertain that there is no risk involved (for the driver and others) when a disabled person is driving.
Epilepsy is a medical condition that is considered high-risk by insurers. While people with epilepsy can still drive, there is a risk involved when the person unexpectedly losses consciousness. Medical clearance is a must in many states. The doctor will determine if the person is fit to drive normally or if they should drive only when certain conditions are met. The need for definite medical approval will increase the premium amount. Finding cheap car insurance can be difficult.
It is always recommended to be honest about the medical condition and submit the necessary papers when applying for auto insurance. Though it won’t help reduce the premium amount, it will prevent the insurer from dropping the client if the company finds out the truth at a later stage. Termination of the policy by the insurer will lead to more losses, especially if the person has been in an accident.
Special Attachments in Cars
The attachments and special equipment for the vehicles depend on the type of disability a person has. For example,
- A wheelchair lift is useful for people with paralysis
- Alert devices are used in vehicles driven by people with hearing impairment
- Special hand controls are installed for people with missing limbs (feet)
- Emergency break extenders help people with spinal cord injuries
- Transfer seats are effective in cars driven by people in a wheelchair
Keyless ignition, automatic doors, sirens, custom mirrors, seat belt extenders, adjustable seats, etc., are some common attachments installed in vehicles driven by disabled people.
The cost of upgrading the car or getting special installations can be expensive. People have to spend money on the upgrades as well as on the increased premium rate (due to the attachments). Fortunately, many organisations assist people with disabilities to get discounts or loans when installing adaptive equipment in their vehicles. The Adaptive Driving Alliance, Ability Expo, The Mobility Resource, etc., are some examples.
An increase in awareness about the laws and organisations helping people with disabilities has made it possible for disabled people to lead independent and confident lives. Take your time to compare the premiums offered by different insurers before making the final decision. The carrier you choose should offer affordable car insurance and value as every other customer.