Drivers with disabilities should not be prevented from securing auto insurance at a reasonable rate. In fact, it’s illegal for insurance companies to charge higher rates to drivers with physical or mental disabilities, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.[^1]
Although your insurance company can’t legally charge you a higher rate solely due to your disability, it can find indirect ways to raise your car insurance premium. You also may need extended coverage because of costly but medically necessary accessibility modifications.
This quick guide covers everything you need to know about disability car insurance, including why it might be so high and what you can do to make it more affordable.
Your insurance premium—the amount of money you pay each month to maintain coverage—is determined by various factors. These often include but are not limited to:
California and a few other states do ban or limit the use of gender and credit scores in calculating auto insurance rates. Overall, though, your insurance company collects various personal facts and statistics to create a risk profile, which then determines your premium. Basically, the insurer wants to make an educated guess (risk assessment) about how likely you are to get into accidents.
People who pose higher risks are charged higher premiums. For example, driving and car accident data prove that male teenagers are one of the riskiest driving demographics. For all drivers aged 16 to 19, the fatal crash rate per mile driven is almost 300 percent higher than for drivers 20 and older. Males account for roughly twice as many of those fatalities compared with females.[^2] Because of this, male teenagers pay some of the highest insurance costs of any demographic.
Insurers use similar statistical evidence and decision-making to form conclusions about the rest of the key premium determinants.
When purchasing auto coverage, it’s important to know what kind of information your insurance agent can and cannot base your rates on. Insurance agents are legally required to evaluate drivers with disabilities by the same standards as any other driver.
However, your disability may indirectly cause you to pay more for car insurance, for example, if you have a history of crashes or if you seek additional coverage for vehicle modifications. The disability itself should not directly factor into price determination. Insurers should rely on DMV and medical reports (if applicable) that you are fit to drive.
If you believe that your insurance agent is discriminating against you by charging a higher rate because of your disability, there are a few things you can do:
You may want more coverage if you’re driving with a disability, especially if you’ve modified your vehicle to make it more accessible—and consequently more expensive. Some of these necessary yet costly modifications include:
If you need some or all of these vehicle modifications, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars. Plus, some driving systems such as the Scott Driving System could cost you more than $100,000.[^3]
In addition to these costly technologies, the Department of Motor Vehicles may require that you pay for a doctor or occupational therapist to approve your fitness to drive or that you attend a driver rehabilitation program to be licensed.
If you do need to outfit your car with expensive technology and accessibility modifications, insure them, too. If your equipment were damaged in an accident, you wouldn’t want to replace it all out of pocket.
Drivers typically have a few kinds of insurance coverage, including:
In order for people with disabilities to receive additional coverage on their vehicle modifications, they usually need to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage first. Next is custom equipment coverage, an add-on to collision and comprehensive coverage.
Personal injury protection, also called PIP and no-fault, is another layer of coverage to consider. It applies regardless of fault and offers additional personal injury coverage for surgery, medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost income, among other things. Some states require it, but think about this type of coverage if your state does not mandate it. Drivers with disabilities may already be at a disadvantage after an accident. PIP has the potential to help greatly.
Who doesn’t want to know how to lower car insurance costs? Every driver can benefit from discounted car insurance. Drivers with disabilities are no exception. Here are a few things that any driver, disabilities or not, can do to lower their rates:
Insurance companies can’t charge higher rates just because someone has a disability. However, they usually don’t give discounts to drivers solely on account of their disability. That being said, drivers with disabilities have a few specific ways to save money, including:
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Understanding the ins and outs of insurance coverage is not always easy but can make a big difference.
Drivers who want a lower rate should look beyond their current insurance agency. With Autoinsurance.com, you can easily access auto insurance quotes from across the industry in seconds—it’s not just fast, it’s also free.
Simply search by state or ZIP code to instantly get quotes from Allstate, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, Farmers, and many more top industry providers. Autoinsurance.com also offers advice on the different kinds of insurance options so you know exactly how much coverage is right for your situation.
Stop settling for your inflated insurance premium and move on to better coverage at a lower price. Get personalized auto insurance quotes with Autoinsurance.com today.
ADA. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended. https://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Fatality Facts 2018: Teenagers. https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/teenagers
Driving Systems Incorporated. Scott Driving System. https://www.drivingsystems.com/scott-driving-system/
[^1]: ADA. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended. https://www.ada.gov/pubs/ada.htm
[^2]: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Fatality Facts 2018: Teenagers. https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/teenagers
[^3]: Driving Systems Incorporated. Scott Driving System. https://www.drivingsystems.com/scott-driving-system/