Tag Archives: accessible van

How To Properly Insure Your Accessible Wheelchair Van

Everyone understands that it’s a legal requirement to have their vehicles insured and recognizes the value of being properly insured in case of an accident. But, most people are not insurance experts. In fact, some aspects of vehicle insurance confuse many people.


In order to keep your accessible van as safe as you can make sure you’re protecting it with the right types of commercial auto insurance. Here are the primary types of insurance you’ll need:

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is normally required by law in all parts of the United States. This coverage is designed to protect other people from suffering losses that are caused when your wheelchair van causes an auto accident. Liability insurance primarily focuses on two coverage areas: Bodily injuries and Property Damages.

  • Bodily Injury – This section of your liability insurance policy helps pay for any injuries inflicted on other people from an auto accident. If your mobility van causes, or is found to be at fault for, an auto accident that causes people to get physically hurt, the bodily injury portion of your coverage pays for their medical expenses. When an injured person must be transported to the hospital for example, your bodily injury coverage can pay for the ambulatory bills and expenses. It also pays for the emergency room care, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation and other medical bills that are caused due to the auto accident. Bodily injury also pays for a person’s lost wages when they must miss work due to recovery times, and it pays for pain and suffering of the victims. When a person is killed in an auto accident, your bodily injury insurance can pay their funeral expenses as well.
  • Property Damage – When a vehicle or other property sustains damages from an auto accident that was caused by your handicap van, the property damages portion of your liability insurance will pay for the cost of repairs.

Liability insurance can provide your wheelchair van with protection at varying levels, based on the amount of coverage you select. You can choose a standard split level policy or a combined single limit policy as well.

A split limit policy sets maximum benefit limits on two separate portions of an auto accident claim. Split limit policies will pay no more than the set limit per person for bodily injuries but no more than the total combined limit for all bodily injuries in an accident. It will also pay a separate maximum for property damages. Example: A liability split limit policy of $15,000/$50,000/$35,000 explains a specific payment maximum per accident. No more than $15,000 will be paid for any individual person’s bodily injuries in one accident; no more than $50,000 will be paid for the combined total of bodily injuries; and $35,000 is the maximum amount the policy will pay for property damages.

If you elect a single combined limit liability policy instead, there is no separate maximum limit defined for bodily injuries or property damages. There is just one maximum overall payout for the policy for each accident. A $50,000 combined single limit liability policy for example, would pay a maximum of $50,000 in damages per accident regardless of whether the damages were to people or property.

Medical Payments

Medical payments insurance is important coverage for a wheelchair van, because it pays medical related expenses that arise for your van driver and any passengers who were riding in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Coverage is for paying medical and related bills, such as ambulance transport, hospital care and follow up treatments. This insurance protects your driver and passengers without regard to who causes an auto accident. It is not available in all areas however, so be sure to contact one of your licensed representatives to determine if it’s an option for your policy.

Physical Damage Insurance

Physical damages insurance protects your wheelchair accessible vehicle itself. And it protects your you from having to pay the bills when the van is damaged or destroyed. This insurance is extremely important for you  if you still have an outstanding unpaid finance loan because it provides you with the most protection possible. There are three types of physical damages insurance protection:

  • Comprehensive Physical Damage Protection – Comprehensive damages protects you from a number of potential risks, perils and hazards. It does not protect against damages and losses caused by a collision or caused when your van overturns. It does however, protect against losses and damages caused by theft, break ins, vandalism and natural events. If your van is damaged due to a tree falling on it in a storm for example, your comprehensive damage protection coverage will pay for the repairs.
  • Collision Protection – Collision protection is specifically designed to pay for damages and destruction that are caused by a collision or by a roll over event. If your van has a blowout and overturns for example, your collision damage protection will pay for the repairs. If the van backs into a building while trying to access a wheelchair ramp, the collision damage protection pays for those repairs as well.
  • Specified Peril (CAC) – Pecified Peril coverage is also known as Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage. This does not protect you against collision or roll over events. Instead, it protects you from just those perils that are specified on your insurance policy.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If your van is involved in an auto accident with another vehicle and that other vehicle was the cause for the accident, their liability insurance is supposed to pay for your bodily injuries and property damages. If the other driver does not carry insurance however, or if they do not carry enough coverage to pay all of the resulting bills, they are considered uninsured or underinsured. You can purchase protection against these risks with an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. When the other driver is at fault but unable to pay for all of your damages, your policy will pick up the difference. This policy works much like your Liability policy.

  • Bodily Injury – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Property Damage – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW) – When you carry an uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury policy on your wheelchair van, you can qualify for a collision deductible waiver (CDW). The CDW makes it so that you do not have to pay your standard insurance deductible when you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident claim.

Other Important Commercial Auto Insurance for Wheelchair Vans

  • Special Equipment Coverage – This type of coverage covers every aspect of vehicle adaptation including mobility equipment such as a lift, ramp, lowered floor, kneeling systems, a lock-down system, or any other added adaptive driving equipment (hand controls and left foot accelerators).
  • Rental – If your van is unusable due to an auto accident, rental insurance can pay for the cost of a temporary replacement.
  • Towing – Towing insurance pays for the cost of towing your accessible vehicle from the scene of an accident when it is badly damaged.
  • Accessories – Accessories insurance protects you from losses associated with extra devices you may have installed on your van. A wheelchair van taxi may have a mileage meter installed for example, and a communications radio to keep them in contact with their dispatcher.

** The limits of your coverage and your deductibles for each element of your policy will vary based upon what you’ve purchased from your insurance company.

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: In-Floor Ramp Vs. Fold-out Ramp

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between an In-Floor wheelchair van ramp and a Fold-Out wheelchair accessible ramp.

In-Floor Vs. Fold-Up Wheelchair Ramps
Another important consideration to make is whether you’d prefer a fold-up or an in-floor wheelchair ramp in your handicap van. As their name implies, fold-up ramps fold in half and stow upright, next to the side passenger door. On the other hand, in-floor ramps slide into a pocket underneath the vehicle’s floor. People who opt for in-floor ramps prefer the ramp out of the way of the passenger entrance. Typically, fold-up ramps tend to be less expensive and easier to maintain, and they present a lower ramp angle. In-floor and fold-up wheelchair ramps are available in a wide range of handicap minivan conversions.

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between a side-entry wheelchair van and a rear-entry wheelchair accessible van.

Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry Wheelchair Vans
One of the most important choices you’ll make in selecting a handicap accessible wheelchair van is side entry versus rear entry. Your choice will impact such things as the wheelchair seating positions, your ability to accommodate other passengers, and parking options. Side-entry wheelchair vans represent the majority of the market—over 75% for most personal use vehicles. However, rear-entry wheelchair vans are also gaining in popularity as more products become available. Here is a look at some key points you’ll want to be aware of.

Style Side-entry wheelchair minivans Rear-entry wheelchair minivans
Advantages
  • Enter and exit safely onto curbside away from traffic
  • Drive from a wheelchair or sit in the front passenger position in a wheelchair or driver position
  • More choices available
  • More storage space
  • Park in any parking space—no extra room required for ramp (excluding parallel parking)
  • Side passenger doors aren’t blocked by a ramp
  • Mid-passenger seats can be mounted next to the wheelchair position
  • Great for long wheelchairs/leg rests
  • Less expensive conversion
  • More ground clearance
Important options
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • In-floor ramp or fold-up ramp (some ramps are manual)
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • Driver swivel seats available
  • Manual conversion available
Limitations
  • Requires handicap parking space/extra room for ramp deployment
  • Some driveways aren’t wide enough to accommodate a van
  • Must exit and enter from traffic area
  • It is not possible to drive from the wheelchair and/or having the wheelchair in the front passenger position
  • Less storage space available
Conversion price $19,000-$25,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).
$17,000-$22,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).

How To Choose An Accessible Vehicle For A Child

Wheelchair vans are often needed by families who have children with disAbilities. Vehicles with special features are available and/or can be converted to accommodate them. The most important step is to start with an appointment with a mobility specialist.

Here are a few facts needed to help determine which accessible option best fits the needs of your child and your family.

The Child’s Size
A mobility consultant should be incredibly thorough in compiling the details such as wheelchair width and height, your child’s height while seated in the wheelchair, and other essential information, which should help identify the perfect van for your family.

Your child’s age and size are factors, too. If your child is young/small the vehicle that they easily fit into now could possibly be out grown. It is important to not only think of their needs now, but also to keep in mind that their needs may change in the future.

The Family’s Size
Consider the size of your family. A big family (5-7 children) might need the extra room provided by a full-size van. For smaller families, an adapted minivan should work nicely, and both vehicle styles can be equipped for wheelchair accessibility. Keep in mind that even an only child will have friends who will join you for an occasional outing.

The Child’s Condition
Along with wheelchair size, your child’s condition has tremendous bearing on vehicle selection. When a child with limited mobility travels with a ventilator or feeding tube, the vehicle must accommodate it. In such situations, rear entry access is often the better option.

Side entry vans require the wheelchair user to maneuver into position; an operating ventilator or feeding tube on an independent portable stand can easily make positioning awkward. Rear entry access eliminates the need to maneuver–the wheelchair and ancillary equipment roll directly into position from the back of the van.

Seating
If you or a caretaker needs to assist your child, it would be helpful to have a seat right next to the wheelchair, as the front passenger seat can make interaction awkward.

Now is a good time to talk about the front-passenger seat, which can be adapted for portability, so you can remove it completely. With a wheelchair docking system installed, the coveted front-passenger position is wheelchair-ready.

That said, size definitely matters here. The laws in some states restrict the size of a child riding in that position, with a typical recommendation of 50 lbs.+ and the ability to tolerate the force of a deployed airbag. A child with a frail or sensitive physical condition should be seated in the middle of the vehicle for safety. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s seat-belt laws for wheelchair passengers.

Passengers
When there are several passengers in the van, middle seating in the vehicle would put your child at the center of attention and always part of the fun. The side entry accessible van has an array of configuration possibilities, including jump seats and the potential for passenger seating in front, alongside, and behind the wheelchair user in any accessible van.

Focus on the Future
When you find the accessible vehicle that fits the needs of you, your child and family now but are concerned about the changes that may come over time, discuss them with your mobility consultant. Future you has a few options. Keep in mind that additional modifications can be made to your vehicle to better fit you and your family. Another option future you will have is to trade in your vehicle for a newer one that will fit your needs better.

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: In-Floor Ramp Vs. Fold-out Ramp

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between an In-Floor wheelchair van ramp and a Fold-Out wheelchair accessible ramp.

In-Floor Vs. Fold-Up Wheelchair Ramps
Another important consideration to make is whether you’d prefer a fold-up or an in-floor wheelchair ramp in your handicap van. As their name implies, fold-up ramps fold in half and stow upright, next to the side passenger door. On the other hand, in-floor ramps slide into a pocket underneath the vehicle’s floor. People who opt for in-floor ramps prefer the ramp out of the way of the passenger entrance. Typically, fold-up ramps tend to be less expensive and easier to maintain, and they present a lower ramp angle. In-floor and fold-up wheelchair ramps are available in a wide range of handicap minivan conversions.
Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles- In Floor Ramp Vs. Fold out Ramp

Wheelchair Van Conversion Styles: Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry

There are several wheelchair accessible van conversion styles you’ll want to consider when choosing the right mobility solution for you. One decision you’ll have to make is to choose between a side-entry wheelchair van and a rear-entry wheelchair accessible van.

Side-Entry Vs. Rear-Entry Wheelchair Vans
One of the most important choices you’ll make in selecting a handicap accessible wheelchair van is side entry versus rear entry. Your choice will impact such things as the wheelchair seating positions, your ability to accommodate other passengers, and parking options. Side-entry wheelchair vans represent the majority of the market—over 75% for most personal use vehicles. However, rear-entry wheelchair vans are also gaining in popularity as more products become available. Here is a look at some key points you’ll want to be aware of.

Style Side-entry wheelchair minivans Rear-entry wheelchair minivans
Advantages
  • Enter and exit safely onto curbside away from traffic
  • Drive from a wheelchair or sit in the front passenger position in a wheelchair or driver position
  • More choices available
  • More storage space
  • Park in any parking space—no extra room required for ramp (excluding parallel parking)
  • Side passenger doors aren’t blocked by a ramp
  • Mid-passenger seats can be mounted next to the wheelchair position
  • Great for long wheelchairs/leg rests
  • Less expensive conversion
  • More ground clearance
Important options
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • In-floor ramp or fold-up ramp (some ramps are manual)
  • Power ramp and doors
  • Power kneeling system
  • Driver swivel seats available
  • Manual conversion available
Limitations
  • Requires handicap parking space/extra room for ramp deployment
  • Some driveways aren’t wide enough to accommodate a van
  • Must exit and enter from traffic area
  • It is not possible to drive from the wheelchair and/or having the wheelchair in the front passenger position
  • Less storage space available
Conversion price $19,000-$25,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).
$17,000-$22,000*
*Cost of conversion only (vehicle cost is additional).

VMI Northstar Vs. Summit

VMI Northstar Vs. Summit
Shopping for a wheelchair van can be a confusing and long process, especially if you don’t know how or what to look for. All wheelchair-accessible vehicles are different and there are several features to consider before making such a large purchase. Think about things like your preferred make and model, how much space you need, whether you will be the driver or passenger, and what type of ramp system you want.

There are two basic wheelchair ramps for vans – in-floor and fold-out ramps. In-floor ramps, like VMI’s Northstar, store under the floor when not in use for added safety inside of the vehicle. Fold-out wheelchair ramps, such as the Summit from VMI, are stowed within the vehicle and extend outward when deployed.

Each van wheelchair ramp has its own benefits and can accommodate users of different sizes with different types of wheelchairs. Benefits of the fully-powered Northstar in-floor wheelchair ramps include:

  • An obstacle-free doorway for safe entry and exit
  • More open space to maneuver inside of the minivan
  • Cleaner interior free of dirt and debris
  • Accommodating high capacity and width

While the Northstar wheelchair ramp system is convenient for almost any wheelchair user, the Summit wheelchair ramps offer other helpful benefits, such as:

  • A great value at an affordable price
  • Easier navigation because of high side rails
  • Corrosion-resistant strength and durability
  • A manual deployment option for reliable access

Although both of these wheelchair van ramps provides users unique perks, both are great options and can increase independence through better mobility. If you need help deciding which wheelchair ramp would be right for you, contact us today.

Everyone Has A Story To Tell: Help A Local Hero Win A New Wheelchair Van!

Everyone Has A Story To Tell Help A Local Hero Win A New Wheelchair Van
Who Is A Local Hero?

  • Local Heroes can be Defined as People who Volunteer, Educate, Advocate, Achieve, and Persevere.

Whether you are living with a disability or have dedicated your time to helping someone who is, we want to hear what makes you/them a Local Hero.

How To Enter

  1. Get the Promo Code From your Local Dealer (including us: 508-697-6006)
  2. Complete the Local Hero Entry Form and include either a written story or a video.
    • Written: Write up to 400 words with a picture of the local hero (1MB or less).
    • Video: Make a YouTube video that is no longer than 2 minutes.
  3. Preview your Story and Submit your Local Hero Entry Form here

Important Dates

  • February 25, 2014 – NMEDA will begin accepting Local Hero entries
  • March 11, 2014 – Public voting begins — Click here to vote
  • May 9, 2014  – Local Hero entries and voting end
  • May 30, 2014 – The Local Hero Winners are contacted
  • June 2014 – Local Heroes will publicly be announced
  • June/August 2014 – Wheelchair Accessible vehicles will be delivered

Obtaining a Wheelchair Accessible Van

Obtaining a Wheelchair Accessible Van
Automotive Innovations, Your New England Mobility Resource understands a wheelchair van is much more than a way to get around. It means independence, a higher quality of life and freedom. We also understand that people with disabilities often struggle with medical bills, limited income and other financial obstacles that can make owning a handicap van seem unrealistic.

A wheelchair van is more obtainable than you realize. Numerous grants and reimbursements are offered from varied sources. And now you’ve found the most comprehensive online resource for wheelchair van financial assistance options. Explore the links below to discover the available grants, rebates and reimbursements for buying a wheelchair van or modifying a car with adaptive driving equipment.

OEM Rebate Programs
Learn about rebates offered by original equipment manufacturers. Vehicle manufacturer programs that give money back on new wheelchair vans or handicap van conversion equipment are a great way to cut your costs.

Organizations that Award Grants
See a list of nonprofit organizations and associations that award grants to people with physical disabilities. Grants can significantly offset the expense of a wheelchair van or adaptive driving equipment.

Financial Aid for Veterans
Find sources of funding for veterans of the U.S. military. Most veterans are eligible for partial or complete aid for acquiring a wheelchair van.

Assistance for Families with Disabled Children
Read about aid benefiting families of children with special mobility needs. Grants for physically disabled children help families afford a handicap van.

State Grants
Search for grants given out by your state. Every state provides financial aid to the physically disabled. Your state government is an essential source to help make a wheelchair van, accessibility modification or adaptive driving controls more affordable.