Traditionally, people suffering chronic pain and other disabling conditions could find it difficult to find car insurance and when they did manage to secure a quote it was often expensive. This came down to insurance companies not understanding (or possibly not wanting to understand) both the nature of the driver’s limitations and the consequent adaptations required to their vehicle. Of course, it’s very easy to interpret that position as ‘if you’re disabled, you’re dangerous behind the wheel’!
Fortunately, obtaining an insurance quote these days is generally much easier. As a result of the Equality Act 2010, it is now illegal for an insurance company to either refuse insurance or to quote a higher premium on the basis of disability, unless they can show that it’s justified, which will be extremely difficult. In fact, reassuringly, whilst you can expect more questions during the application process itself, ‘secret shopper’-type research suggests that it is unlikely that drivers with a disability will be discriminated against.
Car insurance is such a competitive market these days and every insurance company recognises the commercial damage that they’ll face if they gain a reputation for being discriminatory. Just look at the huge PR exercise launched recently by two insurance companies following an allegation of racial discrimination.
However, when requesting a quote, it is extremely important to remember to disclose full details of your condition, as well as all vehicle adaptations. When it comes to a claim, many insurance companies will seize any opportunity to wriggle and squeal and you really don’t want to give them the opportunity to void the policy and refuse to pay out altogerther, potentially leaving you high and dry.
This can be easy to overlook if you’re insuring a new car or have had new adaptations to your existing car. In an earlier article considering the legal and practical implication of driving if you suffer CRPS or chronic pain, we touched upon driving assessments. In terms of identifying all adaptations that may assist you, these can prove invaluable.
Armed with all of the necessary information you may decide to embark on the process of obtaining a quote online. However, be prepared for this not being as straightforward as might otherwise be the case. You may find that an automated response requires you to speak to a human being, rare though that is these days! This will likely be because the insurance company will wish to know more about your condition.
Whilst this can in itself feel discriminatory, it is unlikely that they will refuse you insurance or give you a higher quote. In fact, we suggest using this as an opportunity to disclose to them all relevant information. Remember, they are very fond of telling us that calls are recorded. If, later on, they start to wriggle and allege non-disclosure, simply refer them back to that call!
It’s always worth including such a specialist among the insurance companies that you approach for a quote. Not only might you find the interrogation less painful, but specialist policies often come with additional benefits. Common examples of such benefits are an adapted courtesy car if yours is off the road and cover for mobility equipment that you carry around in your car.