For most individuals, obtaining car insurance is a pretty clear-cut process. You select an insurance carrier that offers excellent coverage at an ideal price, you enroll, and you don’t have to put much additional thought into it. However, if you’re a driver with a disability, you might find other aspects to consider when enrolling in auto insurance. While some of the basics stay the same, like having the options of collision coverage, liability coverage, and more, other facets of your policy may look different.

There are specific guidelines that insurance providers must follow when offering coverage to a driver with a disability. But you must be aware of your options and know what to look for in a new policy. Whether you have a medical condition that makes driving riskier or a disability that requires vehicle modifications, there’s an auto insurance policy for you. Most major insurance companies offer options to cover drivers with disabilities, but you may find that rates vary dramatically.

Car insurance for drivers with disabilities doesn’t have to be expensive, though; in fact, many people are surprised to find that cheap car insurance is still readily available. You’ll likely have the option of purchasing additional coverage, but only you know what will work best for your budget, vehicle, and driving habits. When it’s time to find a new policy, visit Insurify to compare multiple car insurance quotes at once and find the best car insurance policy to meet your needs.

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Car Insurance for Drivers with Disabilities: The Basics

In many ways, purchasing insurance coverage as a driver with a disability is no different from any other driver. Insurers will still consider your driving record, the level of coverage you desire, and in some states, your credit score to determine your unique car insurance rates. Most policyholders will find that coverage is provided in six-month periods, and insurance premiums might change from time to time. If you move, purchase a new vehicle, or find that your driving habits have changed, you’ll want to communicate with your agent so your policy can be updated.

What’s different about auto insurance coverage for drivers with disabilities is quite nuanced, and it’s always best to be completely up-front with your insurance agent when enrolling in coverage. Rather than trying to offer as little information as possible when you enroll, you’ll want to disclose any health concerns that could be classified as a disability. In general, insurance companies consider the following conditions a disability when issuing a policy:

  • Epilepsy
  • Wheelchair use
  • Significant hearing or vision impairment
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Paraplegia or individuals who are amputees
  • Neurological conditions or mental health concerns

Any motor vehicle driver who exhibits one of the above conditions will likely need to enroll in a policy that takes their health into consideration. While there is no specific type of policy for drivers with disabilities, insurance companies do offer additions that account for custom equipment, adapted vehicles, and other accessibility concerns.

Rules and Regulations for Drivers with Disabilities

At first thought, you might wonder why people with certain medical conditions would be given the option to enroll in different coverage types from other drivers. After all, it’s widely thought that the insurance industry is supposed to provide the same coverage types to all drivers, no matter where they live or what their health might look like. However, a large part of how auto insurance companies serve drivers with disabilities is related to legislation passed in 1990 called the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

What many consider to be a landmark event in our nation’s history, the Americans with Disabilities Act made it illegal for companies and individuals to discriminate against people with disabilities. The ADA covers a broad range of areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, and more. It ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to the same opportunities as anyone else.

Since the ADA went into effect, it has become illegal for drivers with disabilities to be charged higher auto insurance rates than other drivers. However, many drivers with disabilities will tell you that they do pay more for coverage than drivers without disabilities. Why is there a discrepancy in pricing when the ADA was supposed to essentially level the playing field when it comes to cost?

While a person cannot be subject to higher rates due to a disability, they can end up paying more for auto coverage due to their medical condition posing a higher risk on the road. For example, a person with epilepsy might lose consciousness while driving and cause an accident. Because of this potential, this driver will likely pay more for auto coverage. It’s essential to recognize that if an individual with a disability ends up paying more for auto coverage, it’s not because of their medical condition specifically. Ultimately, insurance companies base rates on driver risk rather than on a driver’s health.

When Can Insurance Companies Charge Higher Premiums?

Rest assured that insurance companies do not have the right to offer higher or lower rates to anyone in general, as there are specific criteria considered when covering a driver with a disability. Since the ADA’s implementation, insurance companies now have a streamlined process to adhere to when quoting coverage for a driver with a disability. 

Medical Impairments 

Aside from the health conditions discussed earlier, other medical concerns should be disclosed to your insurance agent when you enroll. Most issues that could affect your ability to drive safely, like heart conditions, sleep apnea, or diabetes, might result in you paying higher rates.

In most states, your physician is required to report such conditions to the DMV, so if you don’t communicate with your insurance company about your health, ultimately, it will find out anyway. The bottom line is that it’s never a good idea to withhold medical information simply to save money. Drivers with undisclosed disabilities may find that reimbursement for damage to their vehicle and/or equipment may not be as robust as they thought when it comes time to file a claim.

Modified Vehicles and Car Modification Disclosures

Drivers posing more of a risk on the road is only part of why higher rates might apply to people with disabilities. In many instances, modified vehicles require a higher level of coverage due to the equipment involved. Car insurance companies might assign a higher premium if your vehicle has one or more of the following features:

  • Hand controls
  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Pedal extenders
  • Adjustable seats
  • Siren detectors
  • A wheelchair ramp

Vehicles with these modifications are often worth more and would be more expensive to replace in the event of an accident. Should you find yourself needing to file a claim, your insurance agent must be aware of your vehicle modifications ahead of time. Failing to disclose any modifications when you purchase your policy could result in a reduced claim reimbursement amount.

How Can Drivers with Disabilities Find Affordable Car Insurance?

Safe driving and making sure you wear your seat belt are only small portions of obtaining affordable car insurance, particularly if you are a driver with a disability. Like any other driver on the road, you’ll want to consider all of your coverage needs and inquire about any discounts available. 

When you enroll in coverage, take some time to consider the level of protection you want when it comes to personal liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured or underinsured motorist options. Drivers with disabilities often want to take advantage of other special policy options that help protect their vehicles.

Mobility Car Insurance Coverage

It can be frustrating to be without your vehicle while being repaired after an accident, especially if it’s wheelchair accessible or has other specific modifications. Mobility car insurance coverage helps reduce the cost of temporary transportation while your car is in a repair shop. This coverage is typically relatively affordable and can easily pay for itself if your vehicle is out of service for even just a few days.

Adaptation or Special Equipment Coverage

Vehicle modifications can be costly, and if your vehicle is significantly damaged after an accident, some of these parts might need to be replaced. Adaptation or special equipment coverage can help by offering reimbursement for wheelchair ramps, hand controls, and more. Your insurance company might also provide coverage for additional equipment like a wheelchair or motorized scooter.

Adaptive Equipment Rebate Program

Many auto manufacturers have aimed to make it easier for drivers with disabilities to outfit their vehicles as needed and offer rebate programs to help offset additional costs. In some instances, you’ll be eligible to receive a rebate of up to $1,000 when purchasing or renting a vehicle that requires specialized modifications.

Drivers with disabilities have many options to consider when it comes to enrolling in a new policy, but rather than feel overwhelmed by all the information available from each individual insurance company, you can use a more straightforward method to find car insurance quotes that meet your specific needs. 

Insurify works with drivers with disabilities to provide real-time quotes from multiple companies at once and clearly outline available coverage options. When you need a new auto insurance policy and want to find the best and cheapest coverage on the market, Insurify can help!

Disability Car Insurance: Quick Questions

Is car insurance cheaper if you are a driver with a disability?

Car insurance rates can vary widely for all drivers; however, drivers with disabilities find that they often end up paying more for their car insurance. This can be due to their risk level while on the road or purchasing additional coverage for specialized equipment.

Is it necessary to purchase coverage for my specialized equipment?

Drivers with disabilities have the option to enroll in additional features to protect their equipment in the event of an accident. It’s important to remember that you may be faced with out-of-pocket expenses to repair or replace your equipment after a collision if you decline this type of coverage.

Where can I find the cheapest insurance for drivers with disabilities?

Rather than visit website after website, individuals looking for auto coverage for drivers with disabilities can visit Insurify. Simply answer a few questions, and you’ll be able to view quotes from multiple companies at once and find the best policy for your needs.

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Updated October 21, 2020

Courtney Elder has loved to write since age six, yet she didn’t turn it into a career until many years after that. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in Communications, and when she’s not creating content for Insurify, she’s exploring Portland, OR with her kids.