Insuring your wheelchair accessible vehicle
It's unfortunate that the knee-jerk reaction of many car insurance companies to anything that's even slightly 'out of the ordinary' is to sometimes raise premiums. This is keenly felt by disabled drivers who often find that they pay significantly over the odds when compared to their able-bodied counterparts. This is despite the facts that:
- Disabled drivers often present less of a risk than other drivers
- Price discrimination based on disability is outlawed by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
All of the above means that disabled drivers should avoid simply picking up the phone and getting in touch with some of the big players when they arrange or renew their insurance policies. They could instead look for companies who understand their specific needs. Some of the specific things to look out for in choosing a policy are:
- Adaptation Cover: It's often the case that the adaptations made to your car are almost as valuable as the vehicle itself. Yet many policies will only cover the vehicle. It would therefore be more than worth your while to find a policy that will cover adaptation on a 'new for old' basis in case your vehicle is written off. Some policies will also provide cover against damage to, or technical problems with, adaptations.
- Mobility Insurance: Sourcing a new vehicle and fitting it with adaptations can be a time consuming process. It can be extremely frustrating to wait for this to happen if your vehicle is being replaced after an accident. The fact that many disabled drivers are unable to use the 'courtesy vehicles' provided by large insurance companies just deepens this frustration. It's therefore best to choose a policy that guarantees continued mobility. This can take the form of paying for a taxi or other form of transport, or the provision of a modified courtesy vehicle for as long as is necessary.
- Equipment and Liability Insurance: It's often the case that a vehicle, and even the adaptations, are insured but that special equipment doesn't form part of the policy. This means that if a car is wrecked with a wheelchair on the roof, the car might be covered but the wheelchair is not. This is obviously a highly unsatisfactory situation and you would do well to check whether equipment like wheelchairs, crutches, walking sticks etc can be included in the policy.
It should be clear from the above that arranging insurance for disabled drivers can sometimes be very difficult and complex. It could therefore be worthwhile to get the best possible advice before taking out a policy. This could be done through contacting disability charities (some of whom may already have special arrangements with certain insurance companies) or a broker specialising in arranging insurance cover for disabled drivers.
Finally, before accepting a quote you should make sure that your requirements have been met and that the price is the best that that can be achieved.
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