Historically it has been somewhat difficult for motorists with disabilities to get a good deal when it comes to car insurance. Despite discrimination legislation being passed to make things fairer for disabled drivers, sections of the car insurance industry are lagging behind.
It is an offence for insurance companies to hike up premiums for disabled drivers, or to even outright refuse to insure disabled drivers, as per the Disability Discrimination Act that came into effect in 2005. But disabled motorists must also keep the DVLA up-to-date with the nature of their condition and notify them if their condition worsens.
One particular point of contention is that of modifications made to cars to facilitate their use by drivers with disabilities. Price comparison sites have struggled with these in the past as disability modifications sometimes get lumped in with other kinds of modification (e.g. for sports performance), subsequently driving up premium prices for the disabled.
Things are getting better though, and motorists with disabilities are advised to make sure they select the correct modifications on price comparison websites, as well as making sure they have been issued the correct licence by the DVLA.
There are 2.38 million Blue Badge holders in England alone. For those with mobility issues, driving is the most convenient and popular mode of transport with a sizeable 38% of those with mobility difficulties opting to drive themselves. A mere 9% of disabled people choose to travel by bus despite the fact that accessibility certification has been granted to 94% of English buses.
Motability are a charity that oversee the ‘Motability Scheme’ – an initiative that has provided over 4.5million vehicles to disabled people since 1977. The scheme is fantastic as it provides leased vehicles with insurance cover included – and individuals receiving higher-rate disability living allowance are automatically eligible to join the programme. However, being on the scheme does mean that you will not be able to build up a no claims bonus.
If someone does not qualify for a vehicle under the scheme, they’ll have to go about finding insurance themselves for a vehicle that has been modified for their own particular disability. Such modifications may include left-foot accelerators, steering aids, or even hand-controlled acceleration.
Director of policy and campaigns at Disabled Motoring UK, Helen Dolphin, advises that disabled people with expensive insurance quotes should first check to see if they are eligible for the scheme, and if not, they should consider specialist disabled insurers. To be eligible for the Motability scheme you’ll need to be the recipient of one of the following benefits:
- Higher Rate Mobility Component of the Daily Living Allowance
- Enhanced Rate Mobility Component of the Personal Independence Payment
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
- Armed Forces Independent Payment
So what if you don’t qualify for a car with insurance as part of the Motability scheme? You’ll have to find your insurance the traditional way. As a disabled driver trying to compare car insurance policies, there are a few extra things should you be on the lookout for. Firstly, you need to establish what exactly is covered within each insurance policy. Make sure to contact each insurance provider directly and clarify whether a replacement vehicle will be provided in the event of an accident and if that substitute will be modified to your needs like your current car is. This means you’ll have to check whether your car will be adapted with hand control, swivel seats, etc., or whether your car that is built to carry wheelchairs, hoists or ramps will be fully replaced with the same functionality. There are many other questions you should consider too. For example:
- Can carers be added as named drivers?
- Is business use covered?
- Will they cover the cost of travel if your car is off the road?
Also be sure to mention if you are a Blue Badge holder as some providers offer discounts for those that are.
All of this can all be rather time-consuming and frustrating, but well worth the effort as it saves you from a headache down the line. Of course, we recommend the use of a price comparison site such as ours for you to truly find the best car insurance policies whilst saving you time, but there are also companies specifically catering for disabled drivers that you can go to (Fish Insurance, En Route, and Chartwell to name a few) if you don’t manage to find cover for your needs.