The average American spends thousands a year on car insurance, but those costs should never be dependent on a physical or mental disability. While it’s true that auto insurance coverage will vary depending on the type of policy you have, you should never have to struggle in order to protect yourself and your vehicle. If you are medically able to drive, disability auto insurance should be offered to you at fair rates.
If you’ve experienced insurance rate increases as a result of a disability or medical condition, this article has the resources you need to fight discrimination and get the coverage you deserve.
What are your rights when buying auto insurance?
Car insurance for people with a disability, at affordable prices, is happily easy to find. Thanks to the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is illegal for auto insurance companies to charge higher rates based on a physical or mental disability. At most, your insurance provider may request that a doctor verify your driving capabilities. Apart from that, as long as you meet insurance disclosure requirements by being up front about any disabilities, insurance companies are legally obligated to make fair rates available to you.
What do you need to know about insurance coverage?
Despite legal loopholes, auto insurance for disabled drivers can and should cover any special vehicle modifications fairly and affordably. While adaptive equipment like wheelchair ramps, custom hand controls, siren detectors, amputee rings, or swivel chairs are expensive to insure, overall premiums shouldn’t be exorbitant. While there aren’t disability car insurance rules, there are certain legalities you should familiarize yourself with.
There are a few types of coverage you should look for when searching for a policy to accommodate your disability.
- Adaptation Coverage: Covers damages to your vehicle modifications, including any after-market adaptations
- Mobility Insurance: Will reimburse the cost of any temporary transportation if your specialized vehicle is being repaired or replaced
- Equipment Insurance: Covers the specialized equipment that is not attached to your car but travels with you, like a wheelchair or motorized scooter
As long as modifications are disclosed, regular insurance policies can provide these necessary coverages. Modifications that need to be disclosed include:
- Pedal extenders
- Wheelchair adjustable seats
- Amputee rings
- Push-pull hand controls
- Siren detectors for the hearing impaired
Insurance agents realize that mobility-enhancing modifications add greatly to the value of your vehicle. They work to provide proper coverage for all mobility-adapted cars so that your equipment can be repaired or replaced in the event of an accident.
If you are in need of a vehicle modification, we recommend looking at the resources provided by the Adaptive Driving Alliance to help assist you in your mobility product decisions.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of factors that it is perfectly legal for an insurance carrier to consider when assessing your auto insurance rates, such as your marital status, driving record, and credit score. Make sure to get auto insurance quotes from multiple providers, as each company will assess these factors in a slightly different way.
Individuals with disabilities should be able to find cheap car insurance just like everybody else. When you’re comparison shopping for quotes, ask about any insurance discounts you might be entitled to. Many companies offer bundling discounts for those who purchase multiple types of insurance, such as an auto insurance policy and a life insurance policy. There are also discounts on insurance for veterans and active-duty military personnel. Finding the cheapest car insurance may come down to which company offers the best discounts for your personal circumstances.
What are the loopholes?
Though it’s illegal for an auto insurance company to use a disability as a factor in determining your rates, many insurers use legal loopholes to raise premiums for drivers with disabilities.
As Disabled World explains, some insurance companies may try to exploit laws designed to regulate street racing modifications to refuse coverage or increase the insurance premium for a mobility-adapted vehicle. Companies may also cite disabilities as risk-raising factors and try to issue rate hikes as a result. Talk to an independent insurance agent if you’re having trouble finding affordable rates.
Learn More About Disability Rights in Your State
As you’re looking for auto coverage, make sure you know your rights. If you have been taken advantage of by an insurance company, contact your state disability advocate at the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) to find out what legal recourse you have. For more information, you can also contact a Department of Justice ADA Information Specialist at the ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383.
- Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program
- Disability Law Center of Alaska
- Arizona Center for Disability Law
- Disability Rights of Arkansas
- Disability Rights of California
- Disability Law of Colorado
- Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
- Delaware Community Legal Aid Society
- Disability Rights of Florida
- Georgia Advocacy Office
- Hawaii Disability Rights Center
- Equip for Equality in Illinois
- Indiana Disability Rights
- Disability Rights in Iowa
- Disability Rights Center of Kansas
- Kentucky Protection and Advocacy
- Advocacy Center of Louisiana
- Disability Rights of Maine
- Maryland Disability Law Center
- Massachusetts Protection and Advocacy
- Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service
- Minnesota Disability Law Center
- Disability Rights in Mississippi
- Missouri Protection & Advocacy Services
- Disability Rights in Montana
- Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center
- Disability Rights Center in New Hampshire
- Disability Rights New Jersey
- Disability Rights New Mexico
- Disability Rights New York
- Disability Rights North Carolina
- North Dakota Protection and Advocacy
- Disability Rights Ohio
- Oklahoma Disability Law Center
- Disability Rights Oregon
- Disability Rights Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island Disability Law Center
- The Protection & Advocacy System for South Carolina
- South Dakota Advocacy Services
- Disability Rights Tennessee
- Disability Rights Texas
- Disability Law Center Utah
- Disability Rights Vermont
- Disability Law Center of Virginia
- Disability Rights of Washington
- West Virginia Advocates
- Disability Rights Wisconsin
- Protection & Advocacy System in Wyoming