Auto Insurance for People with Disabilities
There are plenty of myths circulating about auto insurance for people with disabilities. Some people believe it's impossible to get, some that it's prohibitively expensive. Both of those beliefs are in fact untrue. Depending on the disability involved, it's actually illegal for any insurance company to discriminate or charge higher premiums solely on the basis of the disability.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act: Guaranteed Protection
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 to ensure that Americans who are disabled are not discriminated against under any circumstances. This protection extends to work and public life, and to auto insurance acceptance and rates as well.
This act expressly prohibits insurance companies from increasing auto insurance rates for disabled people without any due cause. It is important to note here that an insurance company can charge a higher premium under some circumstances.
However, to charge a higher premium to a disabled person, they must be able to produce sound statistical data that proves the person has a disability that makes them more at risk of being involved in an automobile accident. If the insurance company can't produce that data, they have no legal grounds to increase premiums for that person.
- What types of Disability affect your Insurance Rates?
Another myth circulating about auto insurance for disabled people is the types of disabilities that incur higher rates. Many might believe that losing a limb or being paralyzed might allow an insurance company to legally charge more for auto insurance. In fact, that's not the case-some data shows that, in fact, drivers with these types of disabilities are safer drivers that are less likely to be involved in an accident.
The types of disabilities that can legally incur a higher insurance premium are actually medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, and certain heart conditions. These don't necessarily affect your ability to drive, as such, but certain conditions associated with those diseases may cause unsafe conditions. An epileptic who suffers a seizure while driving, or a diabetic who suffers a hypoglycemic attack, could both become extremely hazardous drivers within the space of just a few seconds.
In the case of epilepsy, most states actually impose certain driving restrictions, apart from any restrictions connected to insurance rates. Most of these require that a person who has epilepsy be seizure-free for a certain length of time before they are allowed to obtain a driver's license (or renew their license).
- If you are diagnosed with a Disability
Issuing notification to your auto insurance company following diagnosis with any type of potentially disabling condition is very important. If you make a claim in the future without having done so, your claim is highly likely to be rendered invalid. This may occur even if your disability is not one of those that an insurance company can legally increase premiums for.
Depending on the nature of your disability, you may be required to modify your vehicle or your driving habits before you are eligible for auto insurance. Think of this as simply similar to needing glasses to drive. A person who has lost a limb, for example, may need a vehicle that has been modified with controls that allow them to drive safely. Note that car modifications might actually increase premiums, solely on the basis of increased value of the vehicle. This is different from increasing premiums due to disability, and is a legal practice for insurance companies.