Do Physical Disabilities Impact Auto Insurance Rates?
In the U.S., individuals who are differently-abled, or have a disability, have specific rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in most cases of disability. This law applies to a variety of areas of daily life, including insurance. In short, auto insurance agencies cannot discriminate when it comes to providing prices or access to those with a disability. What does this mean for you, as a driver?
Are You Able to Drive?
Some situations may require policyholders to provide additional information about a disability. Legal precedent sets this rule from a case dating back to 1995 called Higgins V. Warrior Insurance Group. The ruling was a first of its kind, at the time. In this case, an auto insurance company canceled the policy of a person with mild mental disability. The ruling found the insurer should not use physical or mental disabilities when making decisions about providing insurance to the individual.
However, it is possible for the insurer to request more information. Specifically, the individual must be able to obtain a valid driver’s license. The insurer can also require a letter from the doctor stating it is safe for the individual to drive. If this is the case, then it is usually acceptable for the insurer to provide coverage.
What Protections Do You Have?
Individuals with disabilities have very specific rights. They include:
- The right to obtain insurance. The insurance company cannot refuse to provide a quote for coverage.
- The right to a fair price. Insurance companies cannot charge those with a disability more for coverage as a result of that disability.
What can you expect, then? If you have a disability of any type, being open and honest with your insurer helps. Communicate what specifically you need in terms of accommodations. And, discuss any concerns with your agent when it comes to obtaining a doctor’s approval.
Car insurance in these situations still needs to match the level of risk present. Vehicles with expensive upgrades may need more coverage, for example. Or, someone with a disability might need enhanced medical payments coverage. Customize your policy with your agent. Be sure you have enough protection. It should match all risks involved.
Nevertheless, remember that insurers cannot deny you the coverage you need due to your disability. Reputable companies will not do this.