Every parking lot has at least a couple of spaces reserved for drivers with disabilities. Unfortunately, the handicapped parking sticker is one of very few benefits disabled drivers can enjoy. In addition to the regular challenges of living with a disability, these drivers tend to pay higher insurance premiums than other people do.

Auto insurance companies cannot discriminate based on a driver’s sex, race or disability. Nevertheless, premiums do vary from one driver to the next based upon these and other criteria. This happens because insurance companies set rates based on statistical information that often coincides with other factors.

For example, male drivers tend to have more accidents than women, so their premiums are higher. In the case of drivers with disabilities, statistics play only a small role in determining the extra costs of insurance; the primary reason these individuals pay more is that they require additional coverages on their policies.

Is it Harder for Disabled Drivers to Get Insurance?

An insurance company generally will not ask a driver if they have any disabilities. It’s certainly not something that’s asked on a quote request form, and it should have no clear effect on a driver’s premiums. Nevertheless, the insurance company will generally find out about the disability at some point in the insurance process. This may occur when confirming the license plate numbers or reviewing a driver’s previous history.

Some people may have conditions that will put them at a higher risk of accidents, and they may have difficulty obtaining car insurance because of it. For example, people who are epileptic may sometimes lose their driver’s licenses due to seizures; after the license is reinstated, an insurance company may require additional proof from the driver’s doctor that there will be no further risks associated with their condition.

For the most part, however, auto insurance companies will happily provide coverage to all drivers. The car insurance policies may cost more for certain people than others, though, and these price differences can make a major impact on the driver who experiences them.

Why Does the Insurance Cost More?

As a rule, disabled drivers get into fewer accidents than others, probably because they are a statistically smaller group to begin with. From that perspective, they tend to carry low risk. Their statistical risk factors due to age and gender will still apply, however, so elderly people and young male drivers will continue paying more for auto insurance whether disabled or not.

Many disabled drivers have custom automobiles that are difficult to repair or require specialized parts and labor. This causes claims to be more expensive. In order to compensate for the cost of repairs, insurance companies may need to increase the insurance premiums. This is the same reason that many foreign luxury vehicles cost more to repair as well.

A driver may need to purchase additional coverages to ensure that all of the equipment and other customizations are covered by the insurance; otherwise a claim may be paid out only partially by the insurers. Insurance companies traditionally limit customization as a way to prevent people from customizing racing vehicles, but these same limitations spread to all cars. In order to have custom, after-market updates covered, the driver will need to purchase supplemental coverages.

Here are a few special coverages that disabled motorists should consider purchasing:

— Adaptation Coverage

An insurance policy is only required to pay to restore a vehicle to its factory condition. Policies generally do not pay for after-market upgrades or modifications unless the driver buys adaptation coverage to pay for these installations.

— Mobility Insurance

When an auto is involved in a claim, the insurance company may offer a rental car in compensation. Unfortunately, the rental car is not always an accommodating option for all people with disabilities, and if you don’t buy special mobility insurance, you may not be able to use other services such as taxis instead.

— Equipment Insurance

As a rule, your wheelchair, walker, oxygen tanks or any other medical equipment should be covered under your homeowner’s policy, but some insurance companies exclude this property if it’s damaged in an auto accident. In this case, it’s imperative to purchase equipment insurance from your car insurance company to cover the replacement costs of these items.

It’s important to note that not all insurance companies offer these coverages, and those that do may not offer them unless they’re asked for specifically. When shopping for car insurance, it’s a good idea to check right away to see if an insurer will cover these items; it may decide for you whether to opt for a specific company.