Not many people find talk of insurance a scintillating topic but it’s something that becomes important when you need to make a claim, or if you find yourself out of pocket because you don’t have cover. I think over the last 21 years I’ve learnt a lot about equipment, modifications and car conversions but I find myself constantly learning more. It wasn’t until this year that I learnt about mobility equipment insurance and that there are discounts on car insurance for people with a disability parking permit!
Earlier in the year I was at the Spinal Cord Injuries Expo and while I was primarily interested in equipment the natural sticky beak in me wandered over to most of the stalls to pick up a brochure. (You can read my review of some of the great stuff that was on display here). In amongst all the stands I came across Blue Badge Insurance where I stopped to grab a leaflet and started chatting to Nik. I was surprised by what I learnt and it made me feel very anxious for all the years BJ was driving around the shopping malls practicing his power wheelchair skills. I had no idea that if he broke someone’s ankle while using his chair and they sued that we could have to pay out unless we had insurance coverage. I also learnt that should we travel with BJ’s power chair we could get insurance cover for accidental damage, third party injury and property for 21 days (excluding third party injury in USA and Canada).
This conversation got me thinking and researching more. I’d always wondered if BJ’s wheelchair would be covered for damage in the event of a car accident and what would happen if it was damaged in other circumstances? BJ’s wheelchair is the single most important piece of equipment he has. He is so comfortable in it and totally dependent on it for his mobility. I’m sure many of you can relate.
So, on further investigation, I’ve found that the area of insurance and mobility equipment is complex but Blue Badge Insurance seems to have us covered on all fronts. I’m going to break down what I’ve learnt for you in simple terms because, let’s face it, insurance jargon often has us all bamboozled and glazing over. I am no expert though, so please contact Blue Badge direct for further clarification and to enquire about your personal circumstances. You can contact their team here.
DISCOUNTS ON CAR INSURANCE
Some of our eagle-eyed readers may have spied an ad on our page which advises that if you can (legally) park in a disabled parking space you can save up to 25% on your car insurance. Like me, I am sure you are used to always paying more for things that are disability related. Apparently many drivers with the parking permit have been paying a higher insurance premium than they should, as they have typically been wrongfully categorised as being a higher risk driver.
Blue Badge recognises that people who value their mobility are safer drivers who deserve lower prices and that’s why their policy provides discounts for vehicles using a disability parking permit. That’s whether you drive a standard car or a converted car.
ARE YOU PAYING MORE?
Many insurers are not familiar with disability modifications and adapted cars. This lack of understanding often leads to conversions being classified in the same way that performance or luxury modifications would be (eg. Spoilers, top of the range entertainment systems) both of which increase the insurance cost due to a higher risk of accident and theft. Clearly a car conversion for access should not fall into the same category. I don’t know how many thieves are eyeing off our modified cars and putting it on their wish-list!
ARE YOU UNDER INSURED?
I didn’t realise that most insurers depreciate the value of conversions in the same way they depreciate the value of a car. This can cause major problems because most conversions don’t depreciate over time – in most cases they retain or even increase in value. This leaves car owners in a real predicament if their car is written-off because there is often a big gap between the insurance payout and the cost of getting the car back on the road.
WHAT A BLUE BADGE POLICY OFFERS
If you are like me, you probably just want a summary of what you can look at doing to avoid the scenarios I’ve mentioned above. I suggest you contact Blue Badge direct but here is a little run-down for you meantime –
Blue Badge’s policy covers a wide range of benefits, including:
The option to insure your disability conversions on a new for old basis.
Cover for your wheelchair, mobility scooter or other mobility equipment whilst it’s in your car.
Automatic cover for family, friends, carers or support workers who drive your car.
Emergency travel and accommodation benefit.
Rental car benefit following theft.
Multi-policy discounts (they also offer home and contents, wheelchair and mobility scooter insurance).
MOBILITY EQUIPMENT INSURANCE
I remember once having a conversation with my teenage nephew. I was telling him how much BJ’s latest wheelchair had cost. He was shocked and said, “I could buy a car for that!” We all know that our equipment is ridiculously expensive and that’s what gave me pause for thought when I was chatting to Nik from Blue Badge. I had honestly never considered insuring BJ’s wheelchair but I would never think of not having insurance for my car. As my nephew rightly pointed out, some wheelchairs nearly cost as much as a car.
Blue Badge’s Comprehensive Mobility Equipment Insurance policy covers electric wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The policy covers both the equipment and the person using the equipment. Although a wheelchair user may be an ace driver it is impossible to predict our environment eg. Bad drivers, wandering pedestrians and hazards in our path.
Some of the policy benefits include:
Accidental loss and damage due to fire, theft (how many times have we seen a plea on the news for someone who has had their wheelchair stolen by a joyrider), flood or vandalism.
Third party personal injury (protects the user if they hit and injure someone while using their wheelchair or mobility scooter – this can be used to cover legal and medical fees)
Third party personal property (protects the user if they hit and damage someone else’s property, such as a car, while using their wheelchair or mobility scooter).
Costs incurred to get you and your wheelchair/mobility scooter home following an accident.
‘New for old’ equipment replacement for a total loss for wheelchairs/mobility scooters up to 2 years old, from new.
I don’t want you to glaze over so I’ll wrap up here. I hope that I’ve given you some information to consider. Blue Badge Insurance is Australia’s first independence and mobility insurance specialist and between my chat at the expo and exploring their website I have certainly come away questioning whether we are adequately covered.
FIND OUT MORE
If this post has got you thinking, then I suggest you find out more by either speaking to someone at Blue Badge Insurance on 1300 304 802 or checking out their website www.BlueBadgeInsurance.com.au
Before purchasing a Blue Badge Insurance policy, please consider the Product Disclosure Statement at www.BlueBadgeInsurance.com.au to decide if the product is write for you.
Annette inNC says
This is great information. Thank you. Wonder if they cover US policies? The fine print said coverage up to $10000. My sons chair was $75000. Would not be enough to make difference if true.
Insurance is simply never a bad idea! x
Some useful, thought provoking information on a subject to which we should all pay closer attention. Thanks for sharing!
Great info. As to a previous query; do you know of this type insurance for me in the U.S.?
I’m sorry but I don’t know of any US equivalent. Julie