The independence and freedom that comes when a young person passes their driving test is life-changing. Perhaps even more so when that young person also has a disability. If you are registered disabled, finding cheap motor insurance may be daunting – but it is possible.
First of all, how do I know if the insurance provider I choose is reputable?
Adrian Flux answers some of the questions people are asking about finding the best cover possible as a young disabled driver.
British Insurance companies should be registered with the trade regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
If you are offered a cheap deal through an unusual route, perhaps via a text message or email marketing, check the source to establish it is from a FCA member. Check out their website and read any online reviews and recommendations you can find.
Registration with the regulator will ensure the service the insurance company provides to all customers, including those with a disability, is of a sufficient standard.
Will I be charged more for my motor insurance as a disabled driver?
Under the terms of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act and the 2010 Equality Act, insurance companies registered with the FCA cannot refuse to insure you because you have a disability and they cannot offer you worse terms than they offer other customers.
That means you shouldn’t automatically be charged more simply because you have a disability.
However, they can apply special conditions or charge you extra for a policy if they can show your disability could result in a greater risk of you needing to make a claim.
If they do so, you can ask them to explain the additional risks they think your condition present.
If you dispute their evidence, a previous claim-free driving history and a letter from your doctor will help you fight your case for a better deal.
But if you are still unhappy with their stance, you could try getting advice from the group representing similar sufferers of your condition who may be able to bring pressure to bear.
In the worst case scenario, you could take your case to the FCA Insurance Ombudsman.
My broker assures me my insurance premium has not been inflated because of my disability, so why am I paying so much?
You will need to look at the other risks factored-in to calculate your insurance premium.
Premiums will be more expensive if your car is in a high insurance bracket or you live in a high risk area.
As a young driver, the cost of your insurance will also reflect your relative inexperience on the road, previous claims and conviction of any motoring or criminal offences.
Is there anything I can do to reduce the cost of my insurance?
There are a number of ways you could secure cheaper insurance. Firstly, buy a modest car which will be in a low insurance group and get some extra training to develop your driving skills.
Pass Plus is a practical 6-hour training course usually taken within a year of passing your test.
You’ll need a Pass Plus registered approved driving instructor (ADI) to teach you, but it is recognised by most insurance companies and its successful completion could mean a cheaper insurance deal, even if you have a disability.
Discounts can also be obtained by fitting a dashcam or other security devices such as alarms, immobilisers and trackers. You should also consider a limited mileage policy or getting a black box telematics device installed to track your good driving.
Some insurance providers will offer further discounts if you qualify for a Blue Badge. You can find out if you qualify for a Blue Badge here.
How can I be sure I am getting the best deal?
Shop around or use a broker such as Adrian Flux whose insurance experts compare cost and levels of cover being offered by a panel of almost 40 insurers.
The best deals are only available over the phone (0800 369 8590) and cannot be found on price comparison websites. At Adrian Flux you can even request a free call back (within normal office hours) on a date and time that is best for you.
Are there any special provisions I should look for in my policy?
If your disability is physical, you need to use a wheelchair for example, there are some important questions you will need to ask before handing over your hard earned money.
- If your car was stolen or vandalised, would your replacement vehicle have modifications such as hoists or ramps, or adaptations for wheelchair access and hand controls?
- If your policy doesn’t provide a replacement vehicle, will it cover the costs of taxis while your car is off the road?
- If you have a carer, can they be added to your policy as an additional driver?
Adrian Flux can provide optional extras on their policies such as:
- Key care and mis-fuelling insurance
- Breakdown and homestart
- Windscreen cover
- Courtesy car hire in the event of your car being off the road as a result of a claim
- Excess protection – meaning you won’t have to pay any excess if you are involved in a non-fault claim
Adrian Flux policies all come with legal cover up to £100,000 as standard.
Motability or not Motability: Which is best for me?
The Motability Scheme aims to provide an affordable, worry-free way for people with disabilities to lease a car and have it insured in exchange for the mobility allowance component of certain benefits.
However, the scheme is not for everyone. For a start, to register you must be in receipt of either the Personal Independence Payment or the Disability Living Allowance. If your condition is considered not serious enough you may not qualify.
There are also mileage restrictions and it can become very expensive at the end of your lease period if you exceed them.
Another drawback is that when leasing through Motability you do not accrue an actual personal no-claims bonus. (Although, should you choose to change insurers, the scheme can provide a letter as proof of your claims history).
Finally, some people simply prefer to have their allowances at their own disposal, rather than having money stopped at source to meet the expense of lease hire.
If you do go it alone and buy your own car, there will be no mileage limits (unless you agree a limited mileage policy with your insurer) and the charity Motability may still be able to help with a grant towards the cost of the car, or to help finance the cost of any modifications it may need to enable you to drive safely.
All applicants are means tested and any help will go towards the “best value” solution to help you cope with your mobility needs.
Modifications may include:
- hand controls for braking and accelerating
- steering aids
- clutch conversions
- seat belt modifications or harnesses
- special seating
- wheelchair stowage equipment.
What medical conditions do I need to declare?
The Equality Act sets out when someone is considered to be disabled and protected from discrimination. The definition is quite wide – so check it even if you don’t think you’re disabled. For example, you might be covered if you have a learning difficulty, dyslexia or autism.
The definition states you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment, and that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Some impairments are automatically treated as a disability. You will be covered if you have:
- a visual impairment
- multiple sclerosis
- a severe, long-term disfigurement.
If you have a medical condition check with the DVLA to see if you need to notify them about it.
What happens if I fail to declare my medical condition?
You can be fined up to £1000 if you do not tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.
Any subsequent claim on your car insurance could also be invalidated if you have an undisclosed notifiable medical condition or your eyesight doesn’t meet the legal minimum requirement.
It’s simply not worth taking the risk, so always notify the DVLA and your insurer of your condition, or if it deteriorates over time.