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Thanks to the Disability Discriminations Act 2005, drivers with a disability can be confident they’ll never pay more for car insurance as a direct result of their disability. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t unique factors to consider, or that there aren’t tactics to employ that can save you money on your car insurance. In this guide, we round up the key things you need to know about car insurance for drivers with a disability.
Put simply, disabled driver car insurance is car insurance that covers people with disabilities to drive cars on UK roads. In many cases, the nature of the cover you need will be no different to anyone else. However, there may be cases when a disability means that you need certain modifications to your car in order to drive it safely or to make it accessible. In such cases, you’ll need to inform your insurer about the modifications you’ve made.
It’s also a requirement that some medical conditions, including some disabilities, must be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If so, you’ll also need to let your insurer know that you have a reportable condition. However, under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, it is an offence for any insurer to refuse car insurance or charge higher premiums to people with disabilities.
As a driver with a disability, you’ll need the same car insurance cover as anyone else. At a minimum, you’ll need third party car insurance. This is a legal requirement to drive on UK roads, as it covers you for harm you cause to other people or their cars or property. However, it doesn’t cover you for damage to or loss of your own car.
Alternatively, you can choose one of the two higher insurance levels. These include third party cover as well as some extras:
As a driver with a disability, you may be more reliant on your car to get about. Plus, you may have spent time and money on modifications to make it accessible. With this in mind, comprehensive cover may be your best option, as lower levels of cover won’t guarantee your car gets repaired or replaced.
The risks you’re insured against will depend on the level of cover you opt for, plus any optional extras you choose. But if you go for comprehensive cover, you’ll be protected (as a minimum) against:
Yes. In fact, failure to do so could invalidate your policy. This isn’t a risk you want to take. If any changes have been made from the factory fittings of your car, you must tell your insurer. For example, if you have a physical disability, you might have modified your car by:
Accessibility-driven modifications are unlikely to affect your car insurance premiums as much as modifications made to boost a car’s performance, for example altering the suspension or adding a supercharged engine. However, if they are likely to increase the cost of repairing or replacing your car, you may still see premiums rise a bit.
Make sure you confirm with your insurer that essential (and potentially costly) modifications will be replaced along with the car if it is written off.
Like any policy, standard car insurance for drivers with a disability comes with a bevy of exclusions. Things that are likely to render your policy invalid include driving a car that isn’t roadworthy, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or taking your car around the race track.
2 key exclusions for drivers with a disability to be aware of are:
Whenever anyone gets a car insurance quote, they’ll be offered a range of insurance add-ons that they can pay extra to add to their policy. These can be many and varied. Some of the ones most worth considering as a driver with a disability might include:
Bear in mind that some, typically more premium, policies may include some of these features as standard. If they do, keep an eye on the level of cover of each to make sure it meets your needs.
For a fuller round-up of the add-ons that are likely to be available, take a look at our guide to car insurance optional extras.
No two drivers are the same, so only you can prioritise which features matter most to you.
That said, in addition to the potentially useful add-ons we’ve outlined above, features you might want to look out for include:
Under the Disability Discrimination Act of 2005, insurers are not permitted to price discriminate based on someone’s disability. This essentially means that a driver with a disability should pay no more or less for their insurance than someone without a disability, but who otherwise has exactly the same risk profile.
In practice, of course, no two individuals (with a disability or not) will have exactly the same risk profile. So, the premiums of drivers with a disability will be influenced by exactly the same factors as anyone else. These include their age, how far they drive each year and their driving record.
One caveat: A big factor that can affect the price you pay for car insurance is the car you drive. So if your disability necessitates that you drive a bigger, more powerful vehicle, or one that you have made modifications to, the vehicle itself may push premiums up. However a person without disability driving the same vehicle would face the same uplift.
Whether you have a disability or not, there are plenty of tactics you can use to keep your car insurance premiums as low as possible. These include:
If you have a disability (or any other medical condition) that could affect your ability to drive, you must inform the DVLA. This applies when you first develop such a disability, and if any existing disability gets worse.
If you fail to inform the DVLA you could be fined up to £1,000, and potentially prosecuted if you have an accident.
Reportable medical conditions and disabilities are anything that could affect your ability to drive. They could include:
You can check if you need to report your condition and find the relevant forms and questionnaires on the DVLA website. In Northern Ireland, it’s the Driver and Vehicle Agency website.
Different conditions and disabilities will require you to fill in different forms.
Depending on the nature of your condition and the DVLA’s assessment, it may adjust your licence. For example, it may record any need for an adapted vehicle on your licence. It may also place a 1-year or 3-year time limit on the licence, after which your condition must be reassessed in order to renew it. In some cases, if it is deemed that you are unable to drive safely, you may be asked to surrender your licence.
Not automatically. However, you must surrender your licence to the DVLA if any of the following are true:
You can apply to get your licence back when you meet the medical requirements for driving again.
In addition, depending on the information you supply to the DVLA when you report a notifiable medical condition or disability, it may contact your doctor to ask for further information and seek confirmation that you are fit to drive.
In some cases, your insurer may also ask for written confirmation from your doctor that your disability does not make it unsafe for you to be behind the wheel.
The Motability Scheme allows those who receive a qualifying government mobility allowance to use this towards leasing a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair. Qualifying allowances include the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment.
If you lease a car through the scheme, it comes with comprehensive car insurance in collaboration with RSA Motability included.
This means that you will not need to take out a separate car insurance policy during the lease agreement. However, take note of the exclusions of this insurance policy. For example, personal belongings are not covered, so you may wish to take out a standalone policy to cover these.
The insurance policy also automatically covers 2 named drivers. This can allow carers to drive your car, for example.
The scheme also includes car servicing, maintenance and breakdown cover.
You can find out which mobility allowances qualify on the Motability website.
You must have at least 12 months’ award length of your allowance remaining.
This scheme allows eligible people to buy a Blue Badge that they place in a clearly visible position in a vehicle. This could be on a car’s dashboard, for example. It allows those with mobility problems, or those who care for children with such problems, to park in designated disabled spaces, for example those closer to shops and public facilities.
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can check eligibility criteria and apply for or renew a Blue Badge from your local council on the gov.uk website. The process in Northern Ireland is slightly different.
Blue Badges cost up to £10 in England, £20 in Scotland and are free in Wales. They usually last up to 3 years.
You don’t have to be able to drive to get a Blue Badge. For example, you may wish to apply for one that a family member, friend or carer could place in their car when you are a passenger.
Getting insurance as a driver with a disability should be no more of a hassle than for anyone else, provided that you’ve informed the DVLA and been cleared as safe to drive. Plus, you’ll need to make sure you let your insurer know about any accessibility modifications made to your car. As is the case for all drivers, the key to finding affordable car insurance cover that meets your needs is to shop around and compare policies every year. Doing so will help you secure the best possible deal, time after time.
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