According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 50 million U.S. citizens have some sort of disability. A large number of these citizens are licensed to drive and these drivers with disabilities often need their vehicles to be specially modified.
Drivers with disabilities and their vehicles face special challenges in the car insurance arena. Drivers who need wheelchair adapted vehicles may face the following:
- higher car insurance costs
- higher maintenance and repair costs
- higher rates of discrimination
There are effective ways for drivers with disabilities to mitigate these costs and fight discrimination.
This article will consider some of these cost saving and discrimination busting methods, and will also consider how car insurance comparison shopping websites can help in this effort.
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Drivers with Disabilities and Car Insurance Discrimination
Citizens with disabilities are often targeted by those who wish to discriminate against others and drivers with disabilities must often deal with insurance companies that discriminate against their own potential customers.
This bad treatment can manifest itself in many ways. For example, some drivers with disabilities face higher-than-average premiums, while others face car insurance providers who try to deny them coverage in the first place.
Laws Against Discrimination
The good news is, there are federal laws on the books that make it illegal to discriminate against drivers with disabilities. One such law is called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Americans with Disabilities Act was first enshrined into law in 1990 and is aimed at protecting the civil rights of American citizens who are living with a disability.
The ADA forbids individuals, businesses, and other institutions from discriminating against people who are suffering from disabilities.
The original version that came out in 1990 was added to in 2008, and a new law that is called the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) came into being.
The 2008 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act changed the definition of a disability, and all of these changes apply to the 1990 version of this law. The original ADA is divided into five different sections that are also known as titles.
- Title I deals with employment
- Title II deals with government services
- Title III deals with public accommodation
- Title IV deals with telecommunications
- Title V deals with miscellaneous items
Title V is the ADA section that governs how insurance providers deal with prospective customers who are living with disabilities. It is also the section to consult if and when car insurance providers attempt to infringe on the rights of drivers with disabilities.
Among other things, the ADA prohibits car insurance providers from denying people coverage simply because they have a disability.
Some Companies Still Discriminate
While these laws are helpful, some car insurance providers have found ways to overcharge people with disabilities who drive modified vehicles. Heavily modified vehicles – such as wheelchair adapted vehicles – can be classified as being more expensive than other vehicles.
Since some car insurance providers estimate that these wheelchair adapted vehicles are worth more, these companies can often turn around and charge drivers of these modified vehicles more for their car insurance policies.
Avoiding Discriminatory Policies
While it can be hard for drivers with disabilities to successfully argue against such estimates and their related costs, they can often mitigate any extra costs by using the services of car insurance comparison shopping websites.
These services list the policy information of many insurance companies in one online location.
Car insurance comparison shopping websites can help drivers to save untold hours of online searching, and can also help drivers to locate car insurance companies that provide solid protection for reasonable prices.
Car Insurance Policy Endorsement Options
Drivers who have disabilities and need specially modified vehicles often need special car insurance policy endorsements in place.
While endorsements may sound complicated, they are basically special changes made to an insurance policy that either expands or shrinks certain types of coverage. Some policy endorsements that can be of use to drivers with disabilities include:
- Equipment endorsements – This policy option pays for repairs to special or custom equipment that is damaged during a car accident. Since wheelchair lifts for cars are considered to be custom or special equipment, they are generally covered under custom equipment endorsements.
- Mobility endorsements – This coverage item pays for the costs of rental vehicles if the insured vehicle is damaged or incapacitated during an accident or other incident covered by an insurance policy.
- Adaptation endorsements – This coverage item pays for any specific adaptations that have been made to your vehicle, which are covered under your existing policy, to be repaired if damaged in an accident
Wheelchair Adapted Vehicle Drivers can Find Appropriate Car Insurance Coverage
There can be no doubt that drivers who are living with disabilities face a special set of challenges. They may be discriminated against, overcharged, and under-served.
These valuable citizens deserve the same levels of respect accorded to everyone else.
Such drivers can fully expect to find car insurance policy providers who are prepared to respect them in this way if they take the time to harness the power of car insurance comparison shopping websites.
Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool to get started finding the best rate for the insurance you need.