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Car insurance for disabled drivers

Finding car insurance as a driver with disabilities can be difficult. According to a survey conducted by The Zebra, approximately 35% of the population believes a driver's abilities (vision/mobility) are factored into their auto insurance premium. The truth of the matter is car insurance companies use factors related — and unrelated — to one's driving record to rate risk profiles and price policies.

In fact, most companies will ask if “you have any medical, nervous, physical, or mental conditions that would impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely?” prior to finalizing a quote. Drivers with vision, mobility, or other disabilities can be viewed as riskier clients to an insurance company and thus be charged higher as a result. Let’s explore this concept and some insurance coverage considerations.

  1. Can insurance companies charge you more based on a disability?
  2. Can insurance companies prevent you from driving?
  3. What is covered and is not covered by your insurance?
  4. Additional resources
  5. Frequently asked questions

Can insurance companies charge people with disabilities more?

This is a tricky question. Although there are laws in place which prohibit insurers from charging disabled drivers higher rates, insurance companies still practice this based on the pretense of risk. A driver with impaired vision is considered a riskier driver and customer than a driver without impaired vision to an insurance company.

In most states, insurance companies use a number of different risk factors to determine what you pay for coverage. The big things, like your vehicle and driving history, are directly related to car insurance. Other rating factors, such as your credit score, gender, and even driving ability, are correlations nearly every state utilizes.

Although you may feel it is discriminatory, you can be charged more for your insurance premium if an insurance company views your disability as a potential driving risk. In the event of a car accident, your insurance company is responsible for paying any necessary damages.

 

Can insurance companies prevent you from driving?

Your insurance company cannot determine if your disability impedes your ability to drive safely — that is something left to your individual DMV department as well as a medical professional. If you're uncertain about your own limitations, contact your state DMV department or more information.

 

Special modifications to vehicles

If your disability requires specific modifications to your vehicle, you need to consider this aspect of your insurance coverage. If you have any special modifications to your vehicle, make sure you add supplementary coverage for it.  Most insurance companies offer additional coverage for custom equipment but have certain stipulations.

Firstly, in order to qualify for the custom equipment, you must already have comprehensive and collision coverage. Next, if you want anything more than $1,000 in coverage (which might not be enough depending on your modifications), you need to add additional coverage. Most insurance companies will allow you to increase your limit on custom equipment to $4,000-$5,000.

Typical modifications to vehicles include:

  • Amputee rings
  • Pedal extenders
  • Push-pull hand controls
  • Floor-mounted steering
  • Wheelchair lifts and ramps
  • Siren detectors for the hearing impaired
  • Wheelchair-adjustable seats and seat belts
     

If you have any of these modifications, make sure you have proper coverage. In the event of a total loss, your insurance company will only offer you the current price of your vehicle’s make or model, not including any requirements you made. The additional cost of this can vary by your vehicle, the modifications, and your insurance provider.


What is not covered for modified vehicles?

Without collision, comprehensive, or any added coverage, you will have no coverage in the event of an accident or total loss. Meaning, a liability-only policy offers you zero coverage — regardless of your disabled status. 


Additional coverage to consider

In addition to coverage for your vehicle requirements, you should consider if you need any extra personal injury coverage. Personal injury protection, or PIP, can be helpful after an accident for providing medical after an accident. PIP covers the cost of:

  • Medical expenses
  • Surgical treatment 
  • Ambulance fees
  • Medication 
  • Rehabilitation fees 
  • Lost wages from missed work

This coverage will apply regardless of fault. Although it’s required in no-fault states, it might be a good idea if you’re worried about being unable to work after an accident or your health insurance coverage. 



Additional resources for coverage

If your vehicle modifications are totaled in an accident and you've hit the limit with your insurance company's custom equipment coverage (or don't have any), we have some resources you can use for financial aid. If you’re looking for some frequently asked questions, see below.


Reimbursement programs

Certain manufacturing companies (listed below) offer reimbursement programs for specialty equipment vehicles. Usually, this encompasses helping you pay for the cost of adding a van conversion, scooter lifts, wheelchair lifts, hand controls, tie-downs, turning automotive seating, or any other adaptive equipment you might need. The amount you'd receive varies by the company you choose but it can range from $500-$1,200. Here are some companies that participate:

  • Acura
  • Buick
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler (plus some subsidiaries)
  • Dodge/Ram
  • Ford
  • GMC
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Infinity
  • Toyota (plus some subsidiaries)
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo
  • Suburu

If you're looking for some extra help, check out these resources:

 

Car Insurance for Disabled Drivers FAQs

 

Can I get a discount on car insurance if I’m on social security?

Not directly. Insurance companies use your age and occupation status as rating factors but not if you’re currently on social security. 

Are there car insurance discounts for drivers with disabilities:

Generally, no. Standard insurance companies are not going to offer discounts based on your disability status directly. Global affiliated programs or non-profits might, however.

Why is my disabled status an auto insurance rating factor?

Although there are laws from the ADA that prohibit this practice, many insurance companies still view and charge for your disabilities. Their job is to mitigate risk. In their eyes, a driver without complete control of motor functions or limited vision is simply a riskier client to insure. Depending on the specifics of your circumstances, many insurance companies will charge more or not insure you because of the risk.

Will low-income status make it harder for me to get car insurance?

Your income is not an acceptable rating factor used by car insurance companies. For more information on this topic, check out our guide:  Low-Income Car Insurance.

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Recent Questions:

Can I get short-term rental car insurance for a van modified for mobility?

Hello, Unfortunately, we do not have any companies that will provide insurance for only two weeks. I'm unaware of any company that will, as most policies are six months or twelve months.
Jul 14, 2019 Providence, RI

Can an insurance agent ask a driver if they have a disability if they think it may have contributed to a car accident?

Normally if a driver has a medical condition that makes it unsafe for them to drive, their doctor will notify the DMV and their driving privileges will be limited or revoked for safety purposes. A handful of insurance companies do require that their agents confirm or inquire about medical conditions of any drivers listed on the policy that may make them unsafe on the road.
Oct 9, 2017 Taylorsville, KY

Can a handicap permit from another country be used in the US?

It appears the following states will allow you to use an out of country placard: California, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas. If she'll be visiting other states, you may need to contact the state's DMV for additional information.
Jan 19, 2020 El Paso, TX

Does having a handicap enabled car make a difference on your insurance?

Luckily, that new vehicle you're referring to will be looked at completely differently by your insurance company. With vehicles that have been modified outside of the factory, especially those for disability purposes, insurance companies will cover the vehicle up to the Actual Cash Value (ACV) and the custom equipment would be covered separately.
Jul 14, 2016 Lexington, VA

Ava Lynch
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years.

Ava currently provides insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts. Her work has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver, and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.