Car insurance for disabled drivers

Insurance companies can’t legally deny you coverage or raise your rates because of a disability, but some drivers with disabilities can see higher rates or might have trouble finding the right coverage if they drive adapted vehicles.

Andrew Hurst

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Updated|2 min read

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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 Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Despite these disability car insurance rules, coverage for disabled drivers may cost more if a vehicle has modifications or special equipment that would need to be replaced after a loss. Some drivers may have a hard time getting car insurance if a company doesn't offer coverage for their vehicle’s custom parts.

Does disability car insurance cost more?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prevents insurance companies from charging higher rates to drivers because of a disability. [1] But that doesn’t mean car insurance costs for a disabled driver will be the same as for a non-disabled driver.

Car insurance for disabled drivers can actually be more expensive. Despite the protections of the ADA, car insurance for disabled drivers may be higher for those who drive a car with modifications, including:

  • Adjustable ramps

  • Dash-mounted ignition switch

  • Extra-wide doors

  • Modified hand controls and steering

  • Pedal extenders

  • Rotating seats

  • Wheelchair or scooter lifts

Insurance for disabled drivers can be more expensive because these modifications increase the cost of replacing the vehicle. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the cost of a fully modified vehicle for disabled drivers costs an average of $80,000 — much more than average. [2]

→ Read about what other factors might affect the cost of your car insurance

Do you need to tell your insurance company about a disability?

You don’t have to tell your insurance company about a disability. But if you’ve modified your car to make driving with a disability easier, you should let your car insurance company know so you don’t risk misrepresenting the cost it would take to repair your car and risk having none of the extras covered.

What are your rights as a disabled driver?

While insurance companies determine your policy’s premiums rates based on a number of personal details — like your age, driving history, your car, and how much you drive — a disability alone can’t be a factor in your insurance costs.

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.

Does car insurance cover vehicles with modifications for disabled drivers?

Fortunately, your auto insurance will still cover your car after you’ve added equipment that makes it easier to operate your car with a disability. But you might have a smaller list of insurance companies to choose from for complete coverage.

That’s because you’ll need to purchase custom parts coverage (which might not be offered by every company) to cover anything you’ve added to your vehicle. You can usually add custom equipment coverage to any policy that includes comprehensive and collision coverages.

Custom parts coverage allows you to insure modifications — but only up to a set limit. Be sure to know 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.

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Insurance discounts for disabled drivers

Since auto insurance for disabled drivers can be more expensive if the policy includes extra coverage, it’s important to know about all of the available discounts

Some of the most common car insurance discounts include:

  • Age-based discounts: Disabled senior drivers can qualify for “mature driver” discounts, which lower rates for seniors who have completed a driving skills course.

  • Affiliate discounts: If you’re a part of an association of disabled adults (or a fraternity, sorority, or other affinity group), check to see if your organization has any partnerships with insurance companies for discounted rates.

  • Discounts for students: Good students who maintain a B average, and those who live on campus and don’t drive their own cars, can get lower rates with many well-known insurance companies.

  • Low mileage discounts: Your car insurance rates might be cheaper if you drive less than average. Consider switching to per-mile insurance instead of a standard plan.

  • Usage-based insurance (UBI) discounts: If you have avoided tickets and crashes, it might be a good idea to sign up for a UBI program. After a monitoring period, your rates are adjusted based on how well you drove.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can car insurance companies charge disabled drivers more?

No, car insurance companies can’t raise the rates of a disabled driver solely because of their disability. However, drivers who own modified cars because of a disability — like a vehicle with pivoting chairs or retractable ramps — will pay more for car insurance because of the increased cost to replace their car after it’s damaged.

What is the best auto insurance for disabled drivers?

The best car insurance companies for disabled drivers offer custom or special parts coverage. For an additional cost, drivers can add protection for their car’s modified features, up to a certain limit. Many companies offer this coverage, but it’s not available everywhere.

Are there car insurance discounts for disabled drivers?

There aren’t car insurance discounts for disabled drivers, but that doesn’t mean that disabled drivers can’t use discounts to lower their auto insurance costs. Drivers with a disability can save on their insurance by taking advantage of discounts for their age, driving habits, annual mileage, and their membership in any affinity groups.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

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  1. United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

    . "

    Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act

    ." Accessed August 24, 2022.

  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    . "

    Overview of Adapted Vehicles

    ." Accessed August 24, 2022.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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