Making sure you think about the less obvious points about your policy could save you money and annoyance if things go wrong.
By John Killick
My wife had a swivel seat by ELAP fitted to our Skoda a few years back. I asked Chartwell Insurance for a price for my insurance. “That will be £550 – disabled passenger who always travels with you, make that £200 to you!” Naturally, I asked for an explanation. The reply I got was, “Without your car, your wife would have to stay indoors. I guarantee you’ll be a lot more careful than most drivers.” Chartwell and Fish Insurance are two good examples of disability-specialist insurers and there are others. (An online search will uncover them.)
Before speaking with insurers, there are a few tips to remember:
- Always read the small print.
- Always check with several companies and compare polices. If one is cheaper, there will be a reason. If it is too good to be true then it probably is.
- It is possible to reduce insurance costs by increasing your personal liability. This is the money that you have to pay in the case of a claim, normally between £100 and £200. If you increase this you will decrease your payments but remember that you will need to find that extra cash in a hurry should you have an accident.
- If your vehicle has been supplied by Motability they will have sorted all this insurance stuff out for you.
- If your vehicle has been modified, such as a wheelchair accessible vehicle, by a specialist company, they might also recommend an insurer to you. It is still always worth getting a second quote, though I suspect the one they recommend will be very competitive.
- Your policy should cover replacement or repair for adaptations/modifications and you should discuss the availability of a suitable courtesy car if yours is off the road for any length of time.
- Check if your policy includes other equipment you may be carrying such as your wheelchair or scooter.
Remember that ‘modified’ includes items as small as even a swivel knob on the steering wheel, your insurer needs to be informed or you could nullify your insurance. Modifications run from swivel seats, to hoists and car top boxes.
Whatever it is, don’t give your insurance company any excuses, tell them. My experience of the mainstream companies is that since they don’t understand your needs and will promptly increase the insurance costs. Try a few companies, making sure that at least two of your enquiries go to specialists, you may, like me, get a pleasant surprise.
Covering Other Insurance…
While you are on the phone to the specialist insurance company and if you use a powerchair or mobility scooter and you aren’t insured, just ask about the cost of third party insurance for it. One insurance company I spoke with recently informed me that they were in the process of finalising payouts for three accidents that they expected to total up for over half a million pounds. Next to that, £50 for a third party policy would appear cheap to me.
Finally, remember also that those same specialist insurance companies do specialist house and home insurance covering things like stair-lifts and holiday insurance that might also turn out to be very competitive.