October 09, 2018 at 2:38 PM
The Equality Act 2010 outlines that insurance companies are not allowed to charge disabled drivers more for vehicle insurance cover, unless they can justify the additional costs. Similarly, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 makes it illegal for insurers to refuse cover to a disabled person on the grounds of their disability.
However, in a study conducted by MoneySuperMarket.com in 2016, insurance premiums for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) were 69% higher compared to standard versions of the same model - this is almost more than any other modifications you can make.
Previously, mass market insurers treated disability adaptations in the same way as other performance and aesthetic modifications, leading to premium prices being charged for disabled drivers.
Obviously, insuring a WAV is not the same as insuring a standard car. As such, they need specialist insurance schemes and features to provide the most suitable cover.
WHAT FEATURES SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN WAV INSURANCE POLICIES?
There are specialist insurance companies in the market, like Fish Insurance, who will offer protection for you, your vehicle's adaptations and any mobility equipment in the vehicle.
Disabled driver and adapted vehicle insurance often provides:
- Like-for-like cover on all adaptations and modifications on the vehicle
- Cover for any mobility equipment (e.g. manual wheelchair) while it's in the vehicle
- Cover for carers, family and friends to drive the vehicle
- Cover for young disabled drivers from 16 upwards
- A suitable courtesy car in the event of an accident
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE WAV INSURANCE COSTS
As with any insurance, there are a number of variables that determine how much you have to pay. In terms of vehicle insurance, it largely depends on the driver’s track record of safe driving and the vehicle’s roadworthiness.
In the case of WAVs, there are a few key questions that need to be answered:
- What are the exact adaptations on the vehicle?
- How expensive or easy is it to repair or replace the same adaptations?
- Do these adaptations enhance or diminish the vehicle's safety?
- Who will be driving the vehicle?
This is where specialist insurance companies will provide cheaper quotes because they have specific knowledge to understand how much of a risk a disabled driver or adapted vehicle actually represents.
In fact, some insurers find that disabled drivers and WAVs actually present a better insurance risk than some standard vehicles with non-disabled drivers behind the wheel.
The only way to find the best policy for you is to shop around. Use traditional comparison sites to see what mass market insurance companies are able to offer you, but also explore the specialist insurance companies that are available as well.
Remember that you have to fully disclose the nature of your disability and vehicle adaptations to ensure that your insurance policy is valid wherever you get it from.
THE MOTABILITY SCHEME
The official Motability Scheme run by Motability Operations Ltd supports people with disabilities by leasing cars, scooters and powered wheelchairs in exchange for their mobility allowance.
To be eligible for the Motability Scheme, you need to receive one of the following:
- Higher rate mobility component of the DLA (Daily Living Allowance)
- Enhanced rate mobility component of the PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
- War pensioner's mobility supplement
- Armed forces independence supplement
The scheme provides car insurance for the duration of the three year car lease, so you don't need to worry about arranging your own. However, you won't be able to build up a no-claims discount with this scheme.