4 Tips for Purchasing a Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicle
A wheelchair accessible vehicle allows people with disabilities to live a more independent life. However, purchasing one is a bit more complicated than buying a standard automobile. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're in the market for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
- Get evaluated
- Be prepared for sticker shock, but …
- Find a certified dealer
- Be upfront with your insurance company
Disabled drivers should see a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) before purchasing a vehicle. The CDRS will help determine what modifications are necessary. Possible conversions include lifts, wheelchair docking systems, manual and electronic hand controls, and extended foot pedals. Disabled drivers may also require tools such as a tri-pin or spinner knob to help control and steer their vehicle.
Although the cost of converting a vehicle for wheelchair accessibility will range from about $12,000 to $30,000+, the average price tag is about $20,000. The good news is that there are different programs available that may provide financial assistance.
Only a dealer certified by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association's Quality Assurance Program should install vehicle modifications. Equipment not properly installed may not be covered by your auto insurance in the event of a claim.
Disclose all of the vehicle modifications, and any driver's license restrictions, to your car insurance company. If not, some companies may void the policy. It's also important to remember that any vehicle modifications may impact premiums, so be sure to contact your insurance company directly for more information. (NJM policies include a limit of $1,500 for custom equipment on an insured vehicle with increased limits available by endorsement.)
Wheelchair accessible vehicles can unlock a world of possibilities. Thoroughly researching the process will help ensure your ability to safely and securely enjoy the freedom of the open road.
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