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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:

My fiancé is legally blind and has to drive with bioptic glasses. His car insurance rates have always been ridiculous. Any suggestions please?

Insurance rates are based on the risk of someone getting into an accident. Since your fiance is legally blind and has a speeding ticket, his rates are going to be higher because of the elevated risk that he would get into an accident.
Jul 23, 2019 Reynoldburg, OH

I receive SSI and SNAP benefits as well as income from work and just got my driver's permit. Does my state offer low-income insurance?

Unfortunately, Oregon is not one of the few states that offer special insurance programs for low-income individuals and families. According to our 2021 State of Insurance report, The average annual premium in Oregon in 2020 was $1,332 — a tad lower than the national average of $1,456.
Jan 21, 2020 Eugene, OR

Can I get auto insurance for low-mileage driving due to disability?

Because California uses mileage as one of their biggest rating factors, she should be able to find insurance that can accommodate her needs. However, she would need to show proof of how much she drives.
Dec 14, 2017 Huntington Beach, CA

Can I put my insurance on hold due to temporary disability?

Technically, you can cancel your car insurance at any time. However, canceling your policy will result in the loss of a Prior Insurance discount when you go to purchase another policy in the future.
Sep 11, 2016 Brick, NJ

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.