Living with a disability can mean you have to spend extra money on all sorts of things – from mobility assistive devices like a wheelchair, to a specialized license plate that allows you access to accessible parking spaces. If you’re thinking of modifying your vehicle, you might be wondering, “Does a disability modified car cost more to insure?” Read below to find out everything you need to know!

What is a disability modified car?

If you don’t have one already, you might not be 100% clear on what a disability modified car is. A modified car for someone with disabilities can range from something like generally inexpensive pedal extenders ($50–$200) to major modifications like an automatic wheelchair ramp (which can cost anywhere from $9,000 to $24,000).

Here are some examples of modifications you can make to your vehicle to make it easier for you to use, either as the driver or as a passenger:

  • Emergency brake extension (for drivers with paralysis or injuries that make reaching for the brake difficult): $20–$50
  • Steering knob (to improve steering abilities for drivers who have lost limbs or fingers): $100
  • Manual wheelchair ramp: $125–$600
  • Left foot accelerator (for drivers with missing limbs or paralysis): $150–$300
  • Mechanical hand control (for drivers with missing limbs or paralysis): $400–$1,000
  • Wheelchair lift (power-operated platform): $1,200–$3,000
  • Raised roof or door opening for wheelchair-accessible vans: $4,000–$6,000
  • Reduced-effort brakes or steering: $6,000

While some individuals might only need slight improvements made to their vehicles, others might require a full overhaul of the car with the latest technology installed to assist them. These extreme modifications can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000. For major work, you’d also have to pay for the labor to get the equipment installed. With all of these costs, it makes sense that you would want to keep your insurance costs low.

Disabled Parking - modified vehicle
Image by Julian Schultz on Unsplash: You can get insurance even if your van has been modified for your disability.

Can you get disability modified car insurance?

Yes, it is possible for you to get car insurance even if you have a vehicle that has been modified to assist with your disability. In most circumstances, insurers don’t have an issue with you having a disability, and it won’t affect your coverage. The only exception to this is if you have a disability that might impact the safety of you as a driver (such as epilepsy or a heart condition). Because this puts you more at risk of being in an accident, you might be required to provide documentation about your health from your doctor.

It is crucial that you disclose your health issues with both the DMV and your insurer. If you get in an accident but haven’t told them about your condition (even if you weren’t intentionally trying to hide it), it could result in you losing your insurance policy.

What type of insurance will you need?

If your vehicle has been modified with fairly expensive equipment, your insurer will likely advise you to purchase additional adaptation coverage, which provides for special protections for more costly modifications. You also might want to buy equipment insurance if you will have expensive items in your car like a wheelchair or prosthetic limb. This can be beneficial if you’re in an accident and these items get damaged and/or need to be replaced.

It’s important for you to disclose any vehicle modifications to your insurance company – if you don’t, it’s possible for your rates and renewal to be negatively impacted in the future.

Who insures disability modified cars?

Most major insurance companies should have coverage for modified vehicles. There are a few that disabled drivers recommend, including:

  • Hagerty
  • J.C. Taylor
  • Grundy
  • American Collectors
  • American Modern
  • Esurance (they even offer up to $4,000 in savings for customized parts and equipment)

It can be helpful to do some research and look into which companies are the most popular with disabled drivers. For the most part, you shouldn’t have trouble finding coverage for your vehicle.

Disabled Parking - insurance
Image by John Schnobrich on Unsplash: Do some research and get quotes online to get the lowest disability modified car insurance rate.

What is the cost of insuring a disability modified car?

The prices of insuring these types of cars can vary greatly because the rate depends on a number of factors, including your driver history, age, location, etc. Unfortunately, many insurers place disability modified cars in the same category as people who modify their vehicles for expensive sound systems or with racing engines. They’re deemed to be similar because, no matter what the modification is, the vehicle is still coming equipped with expensive parts – and would be just as costly to fix or replace.

In the eyes of the insurance company, they need to charge you a higher rate to cover what they would need to shell out to cover your car in an accident. Some rates are negotiable, though, so try to talk with an insurance agent about your situation and see if they might be able to offer a more reasonable rate because of your disability.

What are the rights of disabled drivers when it comes to insurance?

You do have some special rights as a disabled driver. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits insurance companies from denying you coverage simply because you have a disability. They’re also not allowed to charge higher rates solely because of your disability. However, your insurer can charge more for a modified vehicle because of the high cost of replacing your vehicle in the event of damage or loss.

Make sure to do your research before signing up with an insurer. Comparing costs and getting quotes from multiple companies can help you choose the right company and obtain a rate that fits your budget. Even if you have a disability modified car, you still deserve reasonable coverage and rates for your insurance!

Featured image by Arno Senoner on Unsplash