Finding car insurance that meets your needs.
Insurance companies are not legally allowed to deny you or charge you more for car insurance because of a disability, thanks to the 1990 Americans with Disability Discrimination Act (ADA). But, despite the anti-discrimination laws on the books, drivers with disabilities may still face extra costs when it comes to car insurance if they drive a car with mobility modifications or special equipment.
Here are some things to look for when shopping for car insurance as a disabled driver.
The ADA stipulates that an insurance company cannot refuse drivers with disabilities, or charge them more solely because of a disability. Insurance providers must evaluate every driver by the same standards.
But, in practice, insurance companies will often charge drivers more to insure a car with adaptive vehicle modifications, because of the additional coverage required to repair or replace modifications like hand controls and wheelchair or scooter lifts.
Insurance premiums, the payments you make to keep your car insurance policy in force, are calculated based on a number of factors, including age, driving history, the type of car you drive, and how much you drive it. But a disability on its own shouldn’t factor into your insurance premiums. If you suspect you’re being discriminated against because of a disability, you can contact your state’s protection and advocacy organization for advice and information about your rights.
Some drivers with disabilities may have added adaptive vehicle modifications to their cars. Those modifications may include:
Steering column extensions
Tie-downs (to hold a wheelchair securely)
Comprehensive and collision coverage are types of car insurance coverage that can help insure you for damage to your own vehicle. Comprehensive coverage covers damage that happens to your car when you’re not driving, like damage from fire, vandalism, extreme weather and falling objects. Collision coverage covers damage to your car after a car accident, no matter who was at fault.
But typically, that coverage only extends to the parts of your car that were installed by the original manufacturer. For anything you’ve added yourself, including adaptive modifications, you’ll need to add additional coverage to your insurance policy.
Most major car insurance carriers offer custom equipment coverage as an endorsement, or an add-on, to comp and collision. This additional coverage allows you to insure customizations, but only up to a set limit.
You should familiarize yourself with the total value of the customizations you’ve added to your vehicle. If they’re worth more than the coverage limit of your custom equipment coverage, you may have to pay extra to raise the limit to meet your needs, or shop around to find an insurance provider that can offer you a higher coverage limit.
When purchasing insurance for a motor vehicle with adaptive driving devices, make sure you’re looking into all the discounts you could potentially qualify for. Most major car insurance carriers offer a wide range of discounts, including:
Affiliate discounts for employees of participating companies or alumni of certain colleges and universities
Safe-driver discounts for drivers who’ve gone a certain amount of time without any incidents
Low-mileage discounts for drivers who drive below a certain number of miles a year
Discounts for paying your annual premium all at once instead of monthly
Student discounts for young drivers in high school or college who maintain above a certain grade-point average
Discounts for bundling auto insurance with your homeowner’s or condo insurance
If you think you’re paying too much for car insurance for a vehicle with adaptive driving devices or modifications, it’s never a bad idea to shop around for other quotes and see if you could be getting a better rate somewhere else. A Policygenius expert can help you find auto insurance coverage that fits both your needs and your budget.
Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius, where she has been since 2018. An expert in home, auto and renters insurance, she loves making tough concepts easy to understand and helping readers feel confident about their insurance options. Before joining Policygenius, she was a senior staff writer at Mic. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.
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