February 14, 2017 at 2:38 PM
Insurance costs related to wheelchair accessible cars (WAC) are reportedly higher when compared to vehicles sporting other customisations. In general, cars or vans adapted for wheelchair access are considered safe, unless proven otherwise.
However, such modifications should not in any way compromise visibility or driving action of a disabled driver. That said, it is worth noting that the Equality Act 2010 rules that insurance companies may not charge disabled drivers more for vehicle insurance cover unless they can justify the additional costs.
Factors that Influence WAC Insurance Costs
Most of us are aware that vehicle insurance costs, to a great extent, depend on the driver’s track record of safe driving and the vehicle’s roadworthiness. In the case of WAC, there are a few key questions that need to be answered:
• Who will drive the vehicle?
• What are the exact adaptations done to the vehicle?
• How expensive or easy is it to repair or rebuild the same adaptations?
• Do these adaptations enhance or diminish the safety factor?
• If at all the vehicle will be driven by a disabled person, how well can he respond to challenging situations when on the road?
• Will this endanger the safety of other road users?
There are insurance providers who still charge exorbitant rates for WAC cover, despite legal restrictions. It is, therefore, important to extensively research different insurance options and compare them carefully to decide on a suitable insurance product.
WAC Insurance Costs – What to Expect?
Based on the numbers from MoneySuperMarket, fitting a vehicle with wheelchair hoist/ramp/lift, straps/seatbelts, and clamps to make it wheelchair-friendly can spike insurance premium rates by nearly 69 percent, on an average. Not only do access adaptations cost more, but each specific change comes with a price. The addition of adapted hand controls to facilitate disabled driving, for instance, attracts an extra premium of 57 percent (average).
Any customisations to the vehicle naturally tend to change its original specifications, and may also unintentionally compromise the safety features built into the unit. This is the key factor that drives up insurance costs.
While it may seem a daunting task, it is very much possible to obtain a WAC cover for a fair rate. It is, however, necessary for the insurance buyer to fully disclose the nature and extent of their disability and the adaptations made in order to get a favourable deal. WAC insurance seekers are also encouraged to check for any special discounts and other alternatives that can decrease insurance rates.
Technological advancements have greatly enhanced the safety aspects of driving. Features such as automated braking systems, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, traction and stability control, adaptive cruise control, etc. can help disabled motorists with safe driving and cut down insurance costs. Even a simple change like fitting a parking sensor on the vehicle can reduce rates by 13 percent while adding a tow bar is bound to double the benefit (by 26 percent).
Ramping up other safety features, asking the right questions, and comparing quotes can help disabled motorists and their caregivers find a suitable WAC insurance.