Tag Archives: insurance

road sign that says are you covered

Tips on Getting the Best Insurance Coverage for Your Accessible Vehicle

In case you are wondering if car insurance works differently for accessible vehicles, you are not alone. Luckily, we’re here to offer some tips on the process.

If you are a driver with a disability, the focus of your insurance is substantially similar to that of standard car insurance; accidents. The protection afforded to your wheelchair van mainly varies according to the coverage you select.

Points to Note hand holding a car in a bubble to represent car insurance

The only stipulation needed to drive in public is that you can drive safely, regardless of disability; and if you passed your driver’s test, then the state considers it safe for you to drive. Before looking at premiums, it helps to know what insurance companies base those premiums on.

Insurance companies are not allowed to base their premiums on a driver’s disability. They do, however; base their premiums on several other factors, including the following.

  • Risk analysis – Moody’s Risk Analysis is a tool some companies use to measure the level of risk among drivers and determine insurance rates.
  • Credit history – This helps companies determine whether the driver can pay their premiums on time while also estimate the likelihood of the driver dropping their policy.
  • Driving record – Your driving record is vital for determining your risk while on the road.
  • Marriage status – Your marital status might be another factor insurance companies look at while determining your rates.
  • Age – On average, people aged between 18 and 25 often have high rates, so if you are within this age bracket, don’t be surprised if your rates are a bit high.
  • Criminal record – Some companies might run a criminal background if they feel it necessary.

The best thing to do when getting insurance for your accessible vehicle is to research and compare options, and consult insurance representatives. It is not necessary for you to share your disability, but doing so gives them more information about your current status and might enable them to recommend better quotes for you.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act enacted in 1990, it is illegal for anyone to discriminate in any way, against persons with disabilities; this includes car insurance companies that charge higher rates due to disabilities. Click To Tweet

When Applying

When applying for insurance, be sure to disclose your vehicle’s modifications because different types of changes can differently affect your rates. Be sure you get coverage for the adaptive equipment so it’s covered in case of an accident.

It is crucial that you request the details regarding the coverage you intend to apply for. When applying, also try to be as thorough as possible and ask all the questions, including the following. calculator, a pen and a list of numbers on a paper

Tips for the Best Insurance

Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips that will be sure to help you get the best insurance provider for your accessible vehicle.

  1. Look into the minimum requirements for your state.
  2. Keep your financial situation in mind; get a premium that is affordable and one that gives you adequate coverage.
  3. Review your driving record.
  4. If you have coverage already, look at how much you are paying and what is covered.
  5. Make a list of companies that interests you and get quotes from their websites or representatives.
  6. Contact them for further details about the coverage they offer.
  7. Ask about possible discounts and consider using the same company to combine coverage on multiple items (home, boat, etc.).
  8. Evaluate their reliability; read reviews, visit the website of your state’s insurance department. You could also talk to friends and family.
  9. After the last step, you probably have a shorter list; make one final review and pick the policy best for you.
  10. If you were previously covered, don’t forget to cancel your old policy.


Hopefully, this article has been helpful and will make getting insurance for your wheelchair van a lot less stressful. For more on accessible vehicles, feel free to visit our website.

Did you know that AMS Vans now offers one year of complimentary roadside assistance (including paratransit service) with the purchase of a mobility vehicle?! Learn more!

Wheelchair Breakdowns for Spinal Cord Injury Patients Increasing at Alarming Rates

wheelchairs being repaired and customized

A recent report has shown a dramatic increase in wheelchair breakdowns over the past five years for patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Over 700 SCI wheelchair users were surveyed in a report published by the American Journal of Physical Medicine, and more than half of them had suffered breakdowns serious enough to require repair.

The study, which looked at data provided by patients between 2006 and 2011, was led by Dr. Michael Boninger of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. The patients provided routine data on the type of breakdowns and any consequences the breakdown caused, such as missing doctors’ appointments, being stranded, or injuries.

Spinal Cord Injury Patients Report Wheelchair Repairs on the Rise

The data showed that 53% of the 700 involved in the study had a wheelchair malfunction or breakdown that required a repair, up from 45% in previous years. The number of adverse consequences resulting from the breakdown increased also, rising from 22% to 30.5%.

“It is possible that this increase in the number of repairs is the result of a decrease in wheelchair quality resulting from changes in reimbursement policies and a lack of enforcement of standards testing,” wrote the researchers.

a wheelchair repair program

The research also shows a correlation between the number of repairs and the funding source. Patients with wheelchairs provided by Medicare or Medicaid had a significantly higher rate of breakdown than wheelchairs purchased by individuals or paid for with private insurance. And wheelchairs provided by the Veterans Association had a lower incidence of breakdown than those provided by Medicaid and Medicare.

Additionally, the study showed that racial and ethnic minority wheelchair users had a higher incidence of mechanical breakdown and repairs as compared to white wheelchair users, with minority users having less access to a backup wheelchair.

This data may be the result of changes in insurance reimbursement policies, as well as Medicaid and Medicare’s new competitive bidding in some regions, which allows competing companies to bid for contracts that provide medical equipment to patients, sometimes substituting quality to underbid competitors. Sadly, there is no requirement that forces testing to ensure wheelchairs meet established standards for performance and safety at this time.

a wheelchair

“This paper should serve as a call to reevaluate and revise current policies and standards testing for wheelchair prescription in the United States,” stated Dr. Boninger in the report.

Although lesser quality wheelchairs and a lack of repair reimbursement may be at the heart of many of the breakdown issues, the study also suggested that wheelchair users should receive better instructions in the care and routine maintenance of their equipment when they receive their wheelchair in order to avoid many of the simple wear and tear issues that arise.

Have you noticed any differences with the quality of your wheelchair experience in recent years?


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Power Struggles as Insurers Delay Power Wheelchair Approvals

Insurers Slow to Approve Power Wheelchairs

Insurers and Medicare are increasingly delaying and denying requests for more expensive and customized power wheelchairs, placing fraud prevention and cost cutting above improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities. As a result, patients are often forced to settle for lesser chairs that don’t adequately meet their needs or be confined to bed while waiting months–or longer–for an appeal decision.

Sometimes that wait can be tragically too long. Nexus Medical technology professional called an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient to give her the news that her request for a new chair had been approved–after months of battling with her insurer–only to be told by her son that she had passed away.

Fortunately for 27-year-old Samantha Lorey, she did get her power wheelchair approved before it was too late, but only after 3 appeals and many months of denials. Lorey has spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that progressively causes muscle weakness and degeneration and death. According to doctors, Lorey shouldn’t have made it past the age of 2, yet she lived long enough to now need the third wheelchair in her life–a powerchair that can aid her in attempts to keep her mobility, despite her disease’s progression of immobilizing her. At this point, she can move her hands just enough to maneuver her a motorized wheelchair, but she can’t raise them if her arms fall in her lap, and she cannot move her legs at all.

To say that time is precious in Lorey’s life is an understatement, a concept that her insurance company never seemed to grasp. Lorey’s condition had deteriorated severely in the time it took to get approved and fitted for her current power wheelchair. It had become too painful to sit in her old chair, which was falling apart. She required more support to sit upright. She attended her third appeal hearing on a windy day she feared would harm her fragile lungs.

“They went through every nut and bolt on this chair,” according to Lorey’s mother of their third appeal. A few days later, Lorey’s request was approved, and the long ordeal was over, but the entire experience left Lorey drained and frustrated.

“We had all the documents in order,” she said. “It’s like they didn’t even look at it. They denied it to deny it.”

Insurers dispute patients’ claims that denial rates are higher than ever, insisting that they merely are doing what they have to do in order to curb fraud and make sure money is spent wisely. One insurer told the Philadelphia Inquirer that they denied only 38 claims for power wheelchairs in 2010, a denial rate he considered “fleetingly small.” A spokesperson for Lorey’s insurer, who refused to discuss her case, also defends insurers, saying that it can be difficult to determine what accessories and equipment requests are “medically necessary.”

Medicare Power Wheelchair Claims

Insurers claim it’s not personal; they are simply looking out for the bottom line. Power wheelchairs can cost more than $17,000, and the total amount of insurance funding for motorized chairs increased from $59 million to over a billion in 2003, at which time the government began to crack down on fraud. Medicare’s motorized wheelchair spending steadily decreased to $728 million in 2010, with another $300 million spent on manual wheelchairs. A Medicare official said the crackdown was necessary to curb “significant over-utilization.” Now Medicare limits funding to wheelchairs a patient can use in their homes, not the more complex ones that can improve quality of life and enable a person with disabilities to go work or go to school. Private insurers are following Medicare’s lead.

The people who are involved in submitting claims tell a different story, however. One occupational therapist said she spends almost 40 percent of her time writing appeals, more than she ever did in her 20-year career. Another physical therapist shared similar experiences, averring that insurers have made it difficult for people to get equipment they truly need. She said that she never submits a claim unless she’s certain the patient qualifies, saying she believes none of the claims should be denied.


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Medicare’s Wheelchair and Scooter Benefit page: