Tag Archives: mobility 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.

Beginner’s Tips: Searching for the Right Wheelchair Van

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle things might seem a little overwhelming at first. You most likely have some questions and concerns when starting out, and that’s fine. We have several mobility vehicle experts/dealers and resources available to help you along the way.

Still, there’s never any harm in getting informed before you step onto your first lot as you look for a handicap van that meets your needs. Being equipped with information when you start looking for a mobility van will help you make a well-informed decision. It will also help you better express to us exactly what you are looking for.

There are a few basic pieces of information that can help you make your decision and learn more about accessible vans. Before heading out to shop around, there are some things you can to do prepare for your search.

  • Think about the options and features you are going to need in order to travel comfortably and without any hassle. This will give you a better idea of what sort of van you need while also giving a glimpse of what sort of price range you might be looking at.
  • Consider whether or not you’ll routinely have passengers such as family and friends and the room they might need.
  • Be realistic about the budget you have to work with. There is no sense in making another headache later on with a vehicle payment you can’t afford.

In addition to these tips, there are also several ways you can make the process easier outside of home. First and foremost, you could talk with one of our mobility consultants/experts to find out about benefits and features available to you in regards to whatever disability you may have.

We will let you try out a van before any money is put down. Take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about certain features and options that may suit your needs. Most of all, make sure you can ride comfortably.

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).

Tips For Buying A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

You’re a first time wheelchair van buyer, and like many other customers have questions about handicap vans, or how or where they are built, and what kind of prices to expect. This portion of our website will assist you to find answers to your questions and provide creative mobility product solutions. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible, but the best education of needs and options is done through a consultation with a Mobility Consultant. Our staff knows the inside and out of Adaptive Equipment and can custom fit and recommend the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation for friends, family, and most importantly you!

There are many different options and possibilities with handicap accessible vehicles; the most common option is a wheelchair accessible minivan. A wheelchair accessible van is modified to allow a wheelchair or scooter user to drive their mobility equipment directly into the handicap accessible vehicle with no assistance. Featuring a 10-11″ dropped floor for easy entry and exist (with headroom up to 58″!) and removable front seats that allow the user to ride safely in the front passenger area or even drive from their wheelchair.

TIPS TO BUYING A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE:

  • Create a list of features you want and need, so you can accurately access the cost differences.
  • Take into consideration how you’re going to transport the whole family.
  • Consider the adaptive equipment that needs to be transported. Will it change over time?
  • What is the age of the user and caregivers?
  • Have a budget. Check with a Mobility Consultant to obtain all information including 10-year financing options and rebates available.
  • Talk with a Certified Mobility Consultant to explain features and benefits, and guide you through the wheelchair van conversion buying process.
  • Purchasing your new or used wheelchair van from Ability Center provides a piece-of-mind because we are a Certified Mobility Dealer that is part of NMEDA and is QAP certified.
  • Rent and try before you buy. Ability Center will apply your handicap van rental costs to the purchase of a new or previously-owned handicap accessible vehicle.
  • Buy for today, and tomorrow! It’s a big investment that should last you many years.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:

  • Do you convert the mobility vans there? No. Vans with new ramp conversions are converted in three locations: Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona. We obtain them complete. We install external or internal lifts, and any adaptive equipment necessary to custom fit the driver to their van.
  • What vans are being converted? Currently, the manufacturers are converting the Dodge/Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey Chevrolet/Buick minivans, and Ford E-Series vans & Transit Connects.
  • I want to carry two wheelchairs. Can I? Most handicap van conversions make carrying two wheelchairs a breeze, but that depends on the style of chair or scooter. Talk to our Mobility Specialist they’ll know what will work for you.
  • I can’t make it down to your store. Can you come out? Yes. We love in-home demonstrations. It gives you the chance to have your whole family there and try the new or used handicap van in your own environment. Just pick a van, and we’ll bring it out to you at no-charge.
  • How do I secure my wheelchair? Depending on the model, there are several ways to secure your equipment. Three typical ways are: 4-piont manual strapping system that comes with every van; optional 4-point retractable straps; and the EZ-Lock bracket system. Please check with your Mobility Specialist to see if a bracket designed for your equipment. There are some popular wheelchairs on the market that do not have a bracket.
  • I want to save more money. What do you have? Besides taking advantage of any and all rebates out there, consider a manual ramp version or the very popular used van with a new conversion. A pre-owned conversion van may be the way to go if you are considering a budget. You can save thousands on a pre-owned van.
  • Why is the price set the way it is? The final price is a combined cost of the van AND the mobility conversion. What will determine the overall price is what you want out of the van and options (i.e.: Toyota Sienna Limited versus Dodge Grand Caravan SE). The conversions are priced very closely and do not generally affect overall price.
  • Can I trade in my non-converted vehicle? YES! Bring it by and we’ll give you the best deal on non-converted or converted vehicles. We’ll take the stress out of selling the vehicle on the market.
  • Can I try the van first? Absolutely you can test drive the vehicle to see if it going to work for you and your family!
  • I want to buy my van at the dealer; they’ve been nice to me. Depending on the manufacturer and conversion, that could be done. You will not take physical possession of the van, but your relationship with them will be continued. Before you do, talk to our Mobility Specialists and they’ll let you know if that van can be purchased through your favorite dealer. We have a great working relationship with most dealers, so we know how to work with the auto dealers in your town.
  • Do you offer financing for handicap vans? Yes. We work with banks that finance mobility vans up to 10 years, or on terms that fit your needs. Our rates are comparable to what is on the market.
  • Can I use my own bank? Certainly. But be cautious, you must let them know that it is a van converted for wheelchair access. Some private or national banks will not finance the total cost of the mobility van, and only finance up to 120% of the value of the van prior to conversion. Call your Mobility Specialist before you go to your bank, it may be helpful to assist you with your bank by letting them know of your intentions.
  • Does Medicare pay for vans? No. Due to Medicare guidelines and policy the vehicle conversion is a “deluxe item” only to be used outside the home, for which that equipment Medicare does not deem “medically necessary.”
  • Who will assist with funds for me? Depending on where you live, your state could have funds set aside for financial assistance. These funds are available upon application and approval of your case and if the state has funds available. Sometimes this can take up to 6 months or longer. Call our Mobility Specialist; they will know where to direct you to start the process.
  • I am a disabled Veteran. How do I obtain a mobility van? If the VA has provided you with a wheelchair or scooter, you are entitled to a lift for your existing vehicle or a mobility conversion to transport that equipment. Depending on your diagnosis or if your disability is service connected or not, either will be provided. Call us; we’ll work with your local VA to help you start the process. We are very experienced with Veterans policy and procedures.
  • Can I convert my own van? The handicap vans we offer are complete, but you could convert your own. This is a very rare circumstance, but if it absolutely needs to be done your vehicle needs to fit the manufacturer’s criteria for converting a customer-owned van. In just about all cases, because of the time and additional expenses, it is more beneficial and cost effective to the customer to purchase a van post-converted to take advantage of rebates. Conversions cannot be financed on their own.

Beginner’s Tips: Searching for the Right Wheelchair Van

If you’re a first-time buyer looking to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle things might seem a little overwhelming at first. You most likely have some questions and concerns when starting out, and that’s fine. We have several mobility vehicle experts/dealers and resources available to help you along the way.

Still, there’s never any harm in getting informed before you step onto your first lot as you look for a handicap van that meets your needs. Being equipped with information when you start looking for a mobility van will help you make a well-informed decision. It will also help you better express to us exactly what you are looking for.

There are a few basic pieces of information that can help you make your decision and learn more about accessible vans. Before heading out to shop around, there are some things you can to do prepare for your search.

  • Think about the options and features you are going to need in order to travel comfortably and without any hassle. This will give you a better idea of what sort of van you need while also giving a glimpse of what sort of price range you might be looking at.
  • Consider whether or not you’ll routinely have passengers such as family and friends and the room they might need.
  • Be realistic about the budget you have to work with. There is no sense in making another headache later on with a vehicle payment you can’t afford.

In addition to these tips, there are also several ways you can make the process easier outside of home. First and foremost, you could talk with one of our mobility consultants/experts to find out about benefits and features available to you in regards to whatever disability you may have.

We will let you try out a van before any money is put down. Take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about certain features and options that may suit your needs. Most of all, make sure you can ride comfortably.

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).

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.

Driving with Paralysis


The first step in the process of learning to drive with paralysis is to get a thorough evaluation from a qualified driver trainer to determine your basic driving set-up, specific modifications, and driving equipment. An evaluation includes vision screening and assesses muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion; coordination and reaction time; judgment and decision making; and ability to drive with adaptive equipment.

To find a qualified evaluator, contact us today (508-697-6006) we maintain a list of certified specialists throughout the New England area.

As for getting a drivers license, states require a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license to receive an on-the-road evaluation. You cannot be denied the opportunity to apply for a permit or license because you have a disability, but you may receive a restricted license, based on the use of adaptive devices.

Once you get the go-ahead from the evaluation, it’s time to think about the kinds of vehicles that suit your abilities and needs. Selecting a vehicle for modification requires collaboration with the evaluator and a qualified vehicle modification dealer. The following questions can help with vehicle selection and whether you can adapt a car you already own.

  • Does the necessary adaptive equipment require a van, or will a passenger car suffice (will you be driving from a wheelchair or can you transfer to the car seat? If you can transfer in and drive a car your choices are much wider.
  • Can the vehicle accommodate the equipment that needs to be installed?
  • Will there be enough space to accommodate other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
  • Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair or walker?

If a third party is paying for the vehicle, adaptive devices, or modification costs, find out if there are any limitations or restrictions on what is covered. Always get a written statement on what a funding agency will pay before making your purchase.

The cost of modifying a vehicle varies greatly. A new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment can cost from $20,000 to $80,000. Therefore, it pays to investigate public and private opportunities for financial assistance.

There are programs that help pay part or all of the cost of vehicle modification, depending on the cause and nature of the disability. Contact your state’s department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also, consider the following:

  • Many nonprofit associations that advocate for individuals with disabilities have grant programs that help pay for adaptive devices.
  • If you have private health insurance or workers’ compensation, you may be covered for adaptive devices and vehicle modification. Check with your insurance carrier.
  • Many manufacturers have rebate or reimbursement plans for modified vehicles.
  • Some states waive the sales tax for adaptive devices if you have a doctor’s prescription for their use.

You may be eligible for savings when submitting your federal income tax return. Check with a qualified tax consultant to find out if the cost of your adaptive devices will help you qualify for a medical deduction.

Find a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle. Ask questions, check credentials and references. Do they work with evaluators? Will they look at your vehicle before you purchase it? Do they require a prescription from a physician or other driver evaluation specialist? Do they provide training on how to use the equipment? Do they provide service? What is the cost? How long will it take to do the work? What is the warranty?

Rhode Island Mobility Van Resources

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

What is the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program?
The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program is the public state and federally funded program that assists individuals with disabilities to choose, prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Employment being the successful outcome of services provided through the public vocational rehabilitation program. It is expected that individuals with disabilities who apply for services are interested in becoming employed and understand that this is the focus of the VR program.

Who is Eligible for VR Services?

Do you want to work?
Do you have a condition that limits your job opportunities?
To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, you must – 1) have a physical, intellectual or emotional impairment which is a substantial barrier to employment, and 2) require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment, and 3) be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your vocational rehabilitation office will presume that you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

How Do You Obtain Services Through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program?

Individuals with disabilities must first apply for the VR program and be determined eligible before services can be provided. Individuals with significant disabilities are presumed eligible for the program if an application is completed and there is documentation of disability. All applicants for the VR program are encouraged to present documentation of their disability and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) to speed up the eligibility process.

Employment Plan
(Individualized Plan for Employment)

The eligible individual with a disability and a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will work together to develop an employment plan called the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The Employment Plan considers the individual’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, skills, abilities, preferences, capabilities, interests, and values, as well as the barriers to employment. The Employment Plan identifies the employment goal that the individual has chosen, the time it is expected to reach the goal, the services that the individual chooses as necessary to reach the employment goal, and how the services will be provided. Some of the services may be provided directly by the VR Counselor, others may be available through other public sources such as netWORKri (One Stop Career Centers), and others may be purchased with funds provided by the VR agency. The individual may develop the Employment Plan with the assistance of the VR Counselor, another individual, or by him or herself. The VR Counselor is always available to provide assistance in this process, and a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who works for the public VR program must approve the Employment Plan before any services are provided through the VR agency. The partnership between each individual with a disability and their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is a key component in the Vocational Rehabilitation process.

What Are Some of the Services that can be Included in an Employment Plan?

Vocational rehabilitation services that may be included in an Employment Plan are:

  • Counseling and Guidance to help plan vocational goals and services
  • Transition Services from School to Career
  • Rehabilitation Technology Services
  • Assistive Technology Services
  • Diagnostic Evaluations
  • College or Vocational Training
  • Job Training and Job Supports
  • Job Development and Placement Services
  • Vehicle Modifications
  • Housing Modifications
  • Post-Employment Services

What Are Some Services After an Employment Goal is Achieved?

Employment is the successful outcome for the individual with a disability and the VR program. Once employed, however, the VR agency may assist with post-employment services to assist the individual to retain or advance in employment.

If you are interested in applying for services, please fill out and sign the completed Application (Espanol) and return to Intake, Office of Rehabilitation Services, 40 Fountain Street, Providence, RI 02903.

Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Links

  • Office of Rehabilitation Services
    • (401) 421-7005 (voice)
    • 
(401) 421-7016 (TDD)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program
  • Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Disability Determination Services
  • Assistive Technology Access Partnership

Rhode Island Disability Grants Handicap Funding RI

Buying a wheelchair van can be easier through handicap grants, loans for the disabled, mobility finance programs, government assistance, and other handicap funding sources. Get some or all the cost funded with Rhode Island disability grants for a wheelchair van or vehicle conversion. Delivery of handicap vans in Rhode Island or nationwide is fast and convenient.

Disability Grants in Rhode Island (RI)
The grants listed below may or may not provide funding for handicap vans to individuals. Please contact your local Rhode Island grant provider for a detailed list of requirements.

TechACCESS of Rhode Island

TechACCESS provides a list of resources that can help disabled persons living in Rhode Island purchase a handicap van with supplemental funding.

How to Apply for Rhode Island Grants or Mobility Funding
Help us build the largest Rhode Island directory of handicap grants, loans, and other mobility funding sources by contributing your favorite mobility funding programs. Rhode Island residents can find disability grants, wheelchair van loans, or other financing options to help pay for a wheelchair van by contacting one or several disabled funding programs. We will helps you find a used wheelchair van for sale and gladly accept all funding assistance programs to ensure your handicap needs are met.

Transfer Seats for Minivans

The mobility industry converts a wide selection of various minivans, which B&D Independence is proud to support with direct-mount seat bases.
These include:

  • Chrysler Town & Country
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Volkswagen Routan
  • Including seat bases for older minivans conversions such as Ford Freestar, Ford Winstar and Chevy Venture.

Leadership 51
The L51 is our most popular model. Designed for lowered minivans, this 6-Way Transfer Seat Base is available for both driver and passenger sides. The 6-Way Transfer Seat moves forward and back, raises up and down, and swivels.

  • Travel Horizontal: 20”
  • Travel Vertical: 6 3/8”
  • Swivel: 100º
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.

Chrysler Town & Country with Braun Entervan Conversion
Honda Odyssey with VMI Conversion
Chrysler Town & Country with Braun Entervan Extra Tall Conversion
Dimensions:

  • Length: 33 1/2
  • Width: 14 1/4
  • Down Height: 6 1/8 to 8 7/8

Chrysler Town & Country with VMI Conversion
Toyota Sienna with Braun Rampvan Conversion
Honda Odyssey with Braun Entervan Conversion

Leadership 53
The L53 is a 4-Way Transfer Seat for the driver or passenger side. It has similar features as the L51 as it moves forward and back and swivels. This 4-Way Transfer Seat does not raise up and down.

  • Travel Horizontal: 20”
  • Swivel: 100º
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.

Dimensions:

  • Length: 33 1/2
  • Width: 14 1/4
  • Down Height: 6 1/8 to 7 5/8

Leadership 75
The L75 is a 4-Way Transfer Seat for Chrysler, Dodge and Toyota Mini Vans that have been converted for rear entry or not had the floor altered. This 4-Way Transfer Seat Base does not raise up and down.

  • Travel Horizontal: 35” to 37”
  • Swivel: 100º
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.

Dimensions:

  • Length: 55 1/4
  • Width: 10 1/2
  • Down Height: 3 5/8 to 5 5/8

Transfer Seats for Full Size Vans
We’ve built our business on producing transfer seat bases that can be adapted to fit just about any make and model of minivan or full size van. The mobility industry has converted the major full size van makes and models for many years.
These are:

  • Ford Econoline Series
  • GMC Series
  • Dodge Series
  • Our Products

Leadership 41
The L41 is a 6-Way Transfer Seat for the driver side. It fits non-lowered floor full size vans from 1996 to present. Designed to bolt to the floor without extra drilling, it fits over the airbag sensor located under the driver’s seat. The 6-Way Transfer Seat moves forward and back, raises up and down, and swivels.

  • Travel Horizontal: 16”
  • Travel Vertical: 8”
  • Swivel: 100º
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.

Dimensions:

  • Length: 40 1/2
  • Width: 17
  • Down Height: 6 7/8 to 7 3/4

Leadership 71
The L71 is a 6-Way Transfer Seat Base for multiple applications but used primarily for the passenger side of both converted and non-converted full size vans. The L71 may also be used in vans older than 1996, where there is no airbag sensor that needs to be negotiated. Available in both driver and passenger position, the L71 is very customizable. (See Full Size Van Options below). The 6-Way Transfer Seat moves forward and back, raises up and down, and swivels.

  • Travel Horizontal: Driver 14 3/8” Passenger12 3/8”
(Both Driver and Passenger L71 travel 3 further back when in the full up position)
  • Travel Vertical: 6 1/2”
  • Swivel: 100º
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.

Dimensions

  • Length: Driver 28 1/2” Passenger 26 1/2”
  • Width: 16 1/4
  • Down Height: 6 1/4


L71 

Full Size Van Options (L41, L71 and LS51D Models)
180 Degree Swivel: Allow rotation of the seat 180 degrees, so that the user has greater flexibility in how they transfer into and out of the seat.

Hand Held Pendant: Our standard Easy Access switchbox with an extended harness and shorter switches provides the user with an increased range of where they place their controller.

Extended Travel: Rails and slide gear bars can be customized to offer even further travel options. Discuss this option with your Dealer if you’re in need of increased forward and back travel.

Trim Package: A set of three covers that match the OEM interior of your vehicle. Providing OEM aesthetic quality and made with ABS material, these covers keep the moving mechanisms of the base concealed and protected (Available on model LS51 only.)

Mobility transfer seats give wheelchair users the freedom to drive in a comfortable, fully adjustable drivers or passengers seat.

Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift

Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift1Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift2Ricon Slide-Away Platform Wheelchair Lift

The Ricon Slide-Away platform wheelchair lift features a revolutionary design which offers the strength of a dual post hydraulic lift, but the flexibility of a single post lift.

When using the Slide-Away handicap lift, the sliding second tower travels toward the front of the full-size mobility van. When not in use, it stows toward the rear of the vehicle, which leaves the side door unobstructed. This means able-bodied passengers can get in and out easily, and the front passenger seat can retain normal functionality.

Ricon Slide-Away™ mobility platform lifts represent the most innovative design the industry has seen for a long time. Strength of a dual post lift combined with the flexibility of a single post lift translates to a better user experience. Slide-Away wheelchair lifts are rated with a 600 pound capacity, and can be retrofitted with an 800 pound installation kit.

Specifications
ST00

  • Stationary Frame Width – 45″
  • Folded Height – 46″
  • Installation Depth – 21.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 30″
  • Usable Platform Length – 42″
  • Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 37.5″
  • Clear Entry Width – 31″
  • Stowed Arms Width – 19.3″
  • Installed Depth – 7″

ST01

  • Stationary Frame Width – 45″
  • Folded Height – 52″
  • Installation Depth – 21.5″
  • Usable Platform Width – 30″
  • Usable Platform Length – 48″
  • Floor To Ground Travel – 30″
  • Traveling Frame Width – 37.5″
  • Clear Entry Width – 31″
  • Stowed Arms Width – 19.3″
  • Installed Depth – 7″

Standard Features

  • Unobstructed Access Through Side Doors
  • Allows Full Use of Frong Passenger Seat
  • Innovative Dual-Post Hydraulic Lift Design
  • Two-Step Manual Back-Up System

Optional Features

  • 800 Pound Installation Kit Available
  • Remote Control
  • Power Swing Door Operators
  • Power Sliding Door Operators
  • Different Dimensions for Models ST00 and ST01

Tips on purchasing your first mobility van or wheelchair accessible vehicles

You’re a first time wheelchair van buyer, and like many other customers have questions about handicap vans, or how or where they are built, and what kind of prices to expect. This portion of our website will assist you to find answers to your questions and provide creative mobility product solutions. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible, but the best education of needs and options is done through a consultation with a Mobility Consultant. Our staff knows the inside and out of Adaptive Equipment and can custom fit and recommend the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation for friends, family, and most importantly you!

There are many different options and possibilities with handicap accessible vehicles; the most common option is a wheelchair accessible minivan. A wheelchair accessible van is modified to allow a wheelchair or scooter user to drive their mobility equipment directly into the handicap accessible vehicle with no assistance. Featuring a 10-11″ dropped floor for easy entry and exist (with headroom up to 58″!) and removable front seats that allow the user to ride safely in the front passenger area or even drive from their wheelchair.

TIPS TO BUYING A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE:

  • Create a list of features you want and need, so you can accurately access the cost differences.
  • Take into consideration how you’re going to transport the whole family.
  • Consider the adaptive equipment that needs to be transported. Will it change over time?
  • What is the age of the user and caregivers?
  • Have a budget. Check with a Mobility Consultant to obtain all information including 10-year financing options and rebates available.
  • Talk with a Certified Mobility Consultant to explain features and benefits, and guide you through the wheelchair van conversion buying process.
  • Purchasing your new or used wheelchair van from Ability Center provides a piece-of-mind because we are a Certified Mobility Dealer that is part of NMEDA and is QAP certified.
  • Rent and try before you buy. Ability Center will apply your handicap van rental costs to the purchase of a new or previously-owned handicap accessible vehicle.
  • Buy for today, and tomorrow! It’s a big investment that should last you many years.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:

  • Do you convert the mobility vans there? No. Vans with new ramp conversions are converted in three locations: Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona. We obtain them complete. We install external or internal lifts, and any adaptive equipment necessary to custom fit the driver to their van.
  • What vans are being converted? Currently, the manufacturers are converting the Dodge/Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey Chevrolet/Buick minivans, and Ford E-Series vans & Transit Connects.
  • I want to carry two wheelchairs. Can I? Most handicap van conversions make carrying two wheelchairs a breeze, but that depends on the style of chair or scooter. Talk to our Mobility Specialist they’ll know what will work for you.
  • I can’t make it down to your store. Can you come out? Yes. We love in-home demonstrations. It gives you the chance to have your whole family there and try the new or used handicap van in your own environment. Just pick a van, and we’ll bring it out to you at no-charge.
  • How do I secure my wheelchair? Depending on the model, there are several ways to secure your equipment. Three typical ways are: 4-piont manual strapping system that comes with every van; optional 4-point retractable straps; and the EZ-Lock bracket system. Please check with your Mobility Specialist to see if a bracket designed for your equipment. There are some popular wheelchairs on the market that do not have a bracket.
  • I want to save more money. What do you have? Besides taking advantage of any and all rebates out there, consider a manual ramp version or the very popular used van with a new conversion. A pre-owned conversion van may be the way to go if you are considering a budget. You can save thousands on a pre-owned van.
  • Why is the price set the way it is? The final price is a combined cost of the van AND the mobility conversion. What will determine the overall price is what you want out of the van and options (i.e.: Toyota Sienna Limited versus Dodge Grand Caravan SE). The conversions are priced very closely and do not generally affect overall price.
  • Can I trade in my non-converted vehicle? YES! Bring it by and we’ll give you the best deal on non-converted or converted vehicles. We’ll take the stress out of selling the vehicle on the market.
  • Can I try the van first? Absolutely you can test drive the vehicle to see if it going to work for you and  your family!
  • I want to buy my van at the dealer; they’ve been nice to me. Depending on the manufacturer and conversion, that could be done. You will not take physical possession of the van, but your relationship with them will be continued. Before you do, talk to our Mobility Specialists and they’ll let you know if that van can be purchased through your favorite dealer. We have a great working relationship with most dealers, so we know how to work with the auto dealers in your town.
  • Do you offer financing for handicap vans? Yes. We work with banks that finance mobility vans up to 10 years, or on terms that fit your needs. Our rates are comparable to what is on the market.
  • Can I use my own bank? Certainly. But be cautious, you must let them know that it is a van converted for wheelchair access. Some private or national banks will not finance the total cost of the mobility van, and only finance up to 120% of the value of the van prior to conversion. Call your Mobility Specialist before you go to your bank, it may be helpful to assist you with your bank by letting them know of your intentions.
  • Does Medicare pay for vans? No. Due to Medicare guidelines and policy the vehicle conversion is a “deluxe item” only to be used outside the home, for which that equipment Medicare does not deem “medically necessary.”
  • Who will assist with funds for me? Depending on where you live, your state could have funds set aside for financial assistance. These funds are available upon application and approval of your case and if the state has funds available. Sometimes this can take up to 6 months or longer. Call our Mobility Specialist; they will know where to direct you to start the process.
  • I am a disabled Veteran. How do I obtain a mobility van? If the VA has provided you with a wheelchair or scooter, you are entitled to a lift for your existing vehicle or a mobility conversion to transport that equipment. Depending on your diagnosis or if your disability is service connected or not, either will be provided. Call us; we’ll work with your local VA to help you start the process. We are very experienced with Veterans policy and procedures.
  • Can I convert my own van? The handicap vans we offer are complete, but you could convert your own. This is a very rare circumstance, but if it absolutely needs to be done your vehicle needs to fit the manufacturer’s criteria for converting a customer-owned van. In just about all cases, because of the time and additional expenses, it is more beneficial and cost effective to the customer to purchase a van post-converted to take advantage of rebates. Conversions cannot be financed on their own.

Buying a Wheelchair Van For the First Time

Buying a Wheelchair For The First Time
Purchasing a wheelchair van for personal use is not the kind of activity many prepare for in their lives. But then, if you or someone in your family has recently become wheelchair-bound, your life is full of new issues and concerns you probably never thought you’d have to deal with.

Transportation is important though, for work, doctor’s appointments and just being a part of the world. Since so many families end up using a lift-equipped van as the primary family vehicle, you have to consider multiple aspects to make your purchase.

If you are getting ready to buy your first wheelchair van, keep reading to find out how to make your decision.

What do you need from a lift?
If you are trying to determine whether a used van or a new purchase better suits your needs, you have to consider not only the immediate cost, but the long term costs, as well. Beyond that, though, you need to think about your lift needs.

Most companies that sell wheelchair accessible vans both new and used offer products that already have lifts installed. Because this is the case, you have to look at the size of the wheelchair you’ll be transporting.

Some wheelchairs, specifically electric ones and those constructed for people with more serious muscular issues, may be wider or taller than the standard, and clearance has to be considered in these situations in order to avoid injuries.

If the wheelchair is standard-sized, any lift will probably work well, but if you are dealing with a custom-made wheelchair, you’ll want to take plenty of good measurements to make sure to avoid injuries.

You also want to consider how the lift is controlled. Will the wheelchair-bound person be operating the lift? If so, controls need to be accessible and reachable either through proper door mounting or a remote control.

Who else will be riding in the van?
Companies sell both fill-sized wheelchair vans and wheelchair minivans because they address different sets of needs. For day-to-day travel involving just one or two people, a minivan may be a slightly less expensive option. If you’re planning for your wheelchair van to be your primary family transportation, though, you’ll want to seriously consider going with a full-sized wheelchair van.

You can usually fit a wheelchair into a full-sized van comfortably by removing only the second row of seating, for example, leaving the back row available to transport a larger family. This is not always the case, of course, but the smaller your wheelchair van, the more likely the lift will be installed in the back with all of the rear seating removed.

Other wheelchair van considerations
As mentioned above, different vans will have the lifts installed in different locations. Some designated handicapped parking spaces, for example, are wider in order to accommodate the lowering of a side lift. In other locations, parking may be such that a rear lift is more convenient.

Consider the places you will be going most often and, if possible, go survey the parking situation there. Use what you learn in your survey along with the consideration of how many passengers you need to transport to determine whether a full-sized wheelchair van or wheelchair minivan is a better option.

If you take into account comfort, clearance, lift accessibility and number of passengers, you should be able to build a list of requirements that will help you make the right wheelchair van purchase.

New Wheelchair Lifts for vehicles in New England

New Wheelchair Lifts

mobility lift dealer, MA, RI, CT, VT, NH AND MAINE

For VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations in Massachusetts is a well known Vantage Mobility International mobility lift dealer. Customers are able to select with assurance knowing they will obtain the most effective handicap products and services due to this fact. By offering the best assistive driving products on the market, their mission is to help disabled people in improving their lifestyle. For platform lift varieties, VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations has Ricon Reliant, Clearway, Klearvue, Uni-Lite, and Slide Away for sale.

wheelchair van lift sales, service and repair in new england.

New Accessible Vehicles from VMi New England Bridgewater, MA

New Accessible Vehicles

NewToyota Sienna Wheelchair Van

New Toyota Wheelchair Accessible Van

VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations provides brand new Vantage Mobility International handicap vans for all of New England including around the Boston, Massachusetts area. Drop-cut floors, power handicapped ramps, and quick release seats are variations on these brand new handicap minivans (Summit and Northstar). Their new full sized handicapped vans can be manufactured with removable seating, many platform lift choices, drop-cut floors, raised van tops, and raised doors. Brand new Vantage Mobility International wheelchair accessible vans which are offered by VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations in Boston are filled with important features like value, safety, and convenience.

Winter-Maintenance Tips for Your Wheelchair Van

Winter Driving
Maintain Your Mobility Equipment

We recommend keeping the bottom door track of your handicapped van clear of any debris by vacuuming out the track every 2 or 3 weeks. Debris in the bottom track will cause the door motor to work harder and even weaken or burn out prematurely. Such problems will only be more of an inconvenience in cold weather.

Check Your Brakes
Make sure your brakes are in good working condition. You should never postpone having brake work done because you never know when you might have to drive on snowy or icy roads.

Check Your Lights
Headlights are essential in snowy weather; not only do they help you see clearly, but they also help others see you. So you make sure your lights are clean and that all bulbs and fuses are working properly.

Remember Your Fluids
We advise having all fluids (including brake fluid, antifreeze, washer fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, etc.) checked and “topped off.” In addition, we also recommend that you consider keeping a half tank of gas in your accessible vehicle at all times–you don’t want to run out of gas in an emergency.

Don’t Forget Your Battery
Having your battery checked is especially crucial for handicapped accessible vans. The cold weather is strenuous on any battery but even more so on an accessible van’s battery. An accessible van has to power ramps, lifts, and doors, so it uses more battery power than other minivans. A common problem we see at our Mobility Center is customers who do not drive their accessible van enough to keep the battery charged and healthy. You can keep the battery charged by driving your vehicle more than 3 hours a week or by using a battery charger. Under normal conditions, batteries will typically last for 3½ years, so if your battery is older than that, we recommend that you make sure that it’s in good condition or think about replacing it.

Good Tire Maintenance Is Crucial
Good tires might be one of the most essential driving tools in winter weather. Worn, bald, badly aligned, or badly balanced tires can cause accidents in any type of slippery weather. You’ll need to test the air pressure and tread on your tires and have your tires rotated so that the better ones are in the front for more traction and control. If you need new tires soon, don’t wait, get them now! If you have snow tires and live in areas with heavy and frequent snowfall, don’t hesitate to use them.

Don’t Forget Your Windshield
Taking care of the windshield on your wheelchair van entails more than having good wipers. Windshields on minivans and full-sized vans are large, so having good wipers and properly functioning rear and front defrosters are musts. Also, small dings in a windshield can become large cracks when it’s cold. Cracks are a result of the stress of having freezing temperatures on the outside of the windshield and the warm heater on the interior of the windshield. If this occurs, fix the ding and avoid the risk of replacing a costly van-sized windshield!

Snow Equipment
If you ever get stuck or break down in snow or other inclement winter weather, having the appropriate equipment to get yourself out of your vehicle is important. We recommend keeping a shovel, sidewalk salt, snow scraper/brush, jumper cables, spare tire, jack, and flares in your vehicle during the winter months. Also, if you live in an area with frequent and/or heavy snowfall, keep tire chains in your vehicle for extra traction.

Emergency Kit
Another recommendation is keeping a snow emergency kit in your car. Your emergency kit should include a cell phone, a cell-phone car charger, a blanket, a flashlight with good batteries, hand warmers, snacks, and water. Your kit should be able to keep you relatively comfortable while waiting in your vehicle for assistance to arrive. Please remember, if you’re waiting in your vehicle for assistance, make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any snow or ice so carbon monoxide won’t enter the vehicle.

Lastly, we always recommend that, if you can, you stay in when the road conditions are bad. However, if you need to venture out, here are some precautions to remember when driving in bad weather:

Clear All Snow Off Your Vehicle
Make sure that you clear all of the snow and ice off of your vehicle before you go anywhere. Ice and snow clumps that aren’t cleared off can be very dangerous because they can suddenly shift and obstruct your view or fly off your vehicle into another driver’s view. Allow yourself extra time before venturing out to take the steps needed to clear all of the snow off your accessible vehicle—even if it includes asking a friend or neighbor for assistance.

Slow Down
Reducing your speed by 50% allows more control over your vehicle in the event that you begin to skid or hydroplane. However, slowing down too much or stopping on heavy snow-filled roads can cause a vehicle’s tires to spin and get stuck in the snow. While driving in snow, you should keep some momentum so that your tires are continuously moving and you don’t lose traction.

Recovering From a Skid
If you’re driving in inclement weather and your vehicle starts to skid, the best thing to do is to steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go—and not hit your brakes. Your normal reaction might be to brake, but that can make the wheels lock up, making steering difficult. Driving in the snow can be dangerous, so if you aren’t comfortable, try to avoid the roads in severe weather.

Rust Prevention
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast, but our rust prevention processes, product, plan and application has been found to be most effective. Our rust proofing is ever evolving and has been for over the past 25 years.

  • Our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required, we apply it as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your handicap accessible vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

 

As seen in the picture below this van has heavy rust and metal fatigue due to a lack of maintenance.
IMG_0697Once the rust is this bad there’s not much we can do other than replace the van.
So call us or come in today to rust proof your van before it’s too late.

Keep Newey Mobile!

Join us at our Mobility Center this Saturday to help Keep Newey Mobile

Keep Newey Mobile - VMi New England

This event – a Craft and Vendor Fair is being held by the Bridgewater Community Lions Club to benefit the Keep Newey Mobile Campaign.

The Keep Newey Mobile Campaign is a fundraising effort for Josh Newey of Bridgewater, MA. This was created to raise funds to replace his current mobility van; a rusty and unreliable ’99 Caravan with 210,000 miles! We welcome your participation by attending this event, and/or through online donations.


Bridgewater Lions Club
When:
Saturday, October 19, 2013
10 AM -3 PM

Where:
VMi New England Mobility Center
1000 Main Street
Bridgewater, MA


Vendors:

Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay, Lia Sophia, Thirty- One, Pampered Chef, and Scentsy.
There will also be various crafters.

_________________________________________________

Josh’s Story

Growing up in a rural town in western Massachusetts, Josh always loved adventure and the outdoors. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts and a motorsports enthusiast. Josh couldn’t get enough of go-karts, snowmobiles, dirt-bikes, radio controlled toys, tractors, trucks, and anything else with a motor! Some of Josh’s favorite projects as a child and teen included rebuilding small engines and restoring snowmobiles. Josh attended a vocational-agricultural high school and was planning a career in equipment operation, maintenance and repair.

January 11th 1997 is the day Josh describes as the “best and worst day of his life”. Josh was 19 years old and in northern Vermont doing one of his favorite activities, snowmobiling with friends. As nighttime approached and the weather turned poor, visibility was low. Unfamiliar with the trails, and trying to maintain pace with the others in the group Josh came to a bend in the trail and was not able to make the turn quickly enough. He went off the trail and his head collided with a tree branch, breaking his neck and compromising his spinal cord. Josh also suffered a severe compound leg fracture. Josh’s accident was far out in the woods and although he never lost consciousness, it was only because of exhausting efforts by some of the others he was riding with that his life was saved. They knocked on doors seeking a phone to call for emergency help while others stayed behind to stabilize Josh. With the help of good Samaritan locals using a ladder as a backboard, he was carried to the back of a pickup truck, and transported to a location where an ambulance could finally take him to the hospital.

After being diagnosed with a C5/6 incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI), Josh was left a quadriplegic. He has paralysis from the chest down, with limited use of his arms and hands. He spent 4 months in acute rehabilitation learning to care for himself, transfer to and from his wheelchair, and how to embrace this new lifestyle. He moved to the South Shore of MA to live with his father so he could be closer to the medical resources he needed including outpatient therapy. The next several years were spent striving towards living an independent life again. After 3 years and some generous donations, Josh was physically as well as financially ready to drive again with the use of an accessible van and hand controls. The very same van we’re trying to replace with this campaign. (After 13 years & 206,000 miles it has served him well but it is used up!)

Josh attended Bridgewater State College and graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He was a member of the Peer Leadership Program, the Public Relations Student Society of America, and he managed the swim team. He later returned to school for a post-baccalaureate certificate in Graphic and Web Design.

Today,  36-year-old Josh lives on his own in Bridgewater MA., works part-time as a marketing specialist, and strives to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. He is completely independent and a social creature by nature. Josh enjoys live music, traveling, visiting with friends and family, and anything related to motorsports!

Josh is an amazing human being who has overcome so many obstacles while maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude. He takes every day as it comes and his favorite expression is “Let the Good Times Roll”.

Prepare Your Mobility Equipment For the Colder Weather

Cold temperatures not only slow wheelchair users down, but can also slow down their vans and accessible equipment. For example, if you use a hydraulic wheelchair lift, you may have noticed that the colder the weather, the slower the lift reacts. The cold thickens the fluid, making it move slower through hoses, valves and cylinders.

There’s not much you can do about that, but preparing other equipment for cold weather is important to help avoid accidents and breakdowns.

If you live in the New England area · call our Mobility Center today (508) 697-8324 · We’ll rust proof your wheelchair accessible vehicle, give you an oil change, tune-up, and/or semi-annual ramp/lift service and have any other accessible equipment checked before the temperature dips. If you ask we can also check your battery, antifreeze level, heater, brakes, defroster and thermostat.

Do It Yourself:

  • Purchase winter wiper blades that cut through snow and ice.
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full. It reduces condensation and makes your vehicle easier to start on cold mornings.
  • Buy tires that have MS, M+S, M/S or M&S on them, meaning they meet the Rubber Manufacturers Association guidelines and can bite through mud and snow.
  • For better traction and control, rotate tires so the best ones are in the front.
  • Get an electric engine block heater. It warms the engine so the motor can start. It connects to normal AC power overnight or before driving. In extremely cold climates, electrical outlets are sometimes found in public or private parking lots. 
  • Cold weather is tough on accessible van batteries. Buy one with greater starting power, higher cold cranking amps and reserve capacity for energy when the engine isn’t running.
  • Use synthetic oil to make starting a cold engine easier.

Before you drive:

  • Keep rock salt on hand to melt ice off walkways for a safer wheelchair ride.
  • Clean the snow off the roof and hood so it doesn’t “avalanche” onto the windshield and block your vision.
  • Clear the head and tail lights for best visibility.
  • Scrape the ice off mirrors and windows.

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Here at VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations we’ll service and repair your wheelchair accessible vehicle and/or equipment even if you didn’t buy it from us! So bring us your mobility van no matter the year (old or new), chassis (Honda, Dodge, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, excreta..), or conversion (Side Entry, Rear Entry, VMI, Braun, Ricon, Rampvan, Elorado, Amerivan, excreta..)!!

Why a Toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in New England

Toyota offers some of the best options on the market when it comes to wheelchair accessible vans.  Each van offers comfort, reliability, and reasonable pricing for its conversion.   Choosing a new wheelchair van isn’t always as easy as choosing a traditional car.  There isn’t a particular one-size-fits-all van that covers every need or preference. As you make your choice, keep in mind a few practical reasons to choose an accessible Toyota.

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in new england

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in new england

Variety

Toyota’s wheelchair accessible minivan is a modified version of the Toyota Sienna and is the most popular Toyota vehicle that is converted for accessibility.  Overall, it’s an easy vehicle for the major wheelchair accessible vehicle manufacturers to convert. Toyota currently produces five different models of the Sienna that are available for modification:

  • Sienna L- the L model is the most basic model of Sienna.  It includes all the standard features and will often be the lowest priced model.
  • Sienna LE- the LE is still a fairly basic model but includes a rear-view camera and enhanced climate controls.
  • Sienna SE- Sienna SE is a mid-level option that offers enhanced navigation displays, rear-view cameras, and cross-traffic controls for ease and maneuverability.
  • Sienna XLE- Sienna XLE is outfitted with leather-trimmed driver and front passenger seats.  It also features a blind spot monitor and a power lift gate with jam guard.
  • Sienna Limited- The Sienna Limited is the final and most luxurious model of Sienna.  The Limited features many of the standard and upgraded features of the other models while offering more extras like a JBL sound system, driver and passenger leather- trimmed seats, and a dual moon roof.

Any one of these models of the Sienna can be easily modified to accommodate your specific needs.  Budgetary constraints and your individual situation will play a major part in which model you decide to purchase.  Once you’ve made that decision, VMi New England Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center will help you find a Toyota wheelchair van that combines Toyota’s infamous quality with comfort and accessibility.

Adaptability

Toyota’s wheelchair accessible vans don’t start out being adapted for accessibility.  These vans start as traditional vehicles without any modifications before being converted to accommodate individuals with disabilities.  Toyota relies on certified wheelchair conversion manufacturers, such as VMI, to fit the vehicles with lowered floors, kneeling systems, ramps, and more.

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van if you live in new england

why a toyota should be your next wheelchair van Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center

After the initial conversion is made the vehicle is sent to our Bridgewater, MA Mobility center where we can make even more adaptations to your vehicles. Mobility seating, hand controls, and pedal extensions are all available and fit beautifully inside the modified Toyota Sienna. There are even products that allow users to control the vehicle by pressing a few key buttons or by simply flipping a switch on the vehicle.

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England

2013 Toyota Sienna XLE VMI Summit Silver VMi New England

Though the middle row of seats is removed to accommodate a wheelchair, there are still plenty of options to satisfy your needs. Both front seats can be removed to allow the wheelchair user to ride up front and there is a full bench seat in the back for children or guests. There is also a large trunk to accommodate groceries or additional supplies.

Safety locks and straps are installed into the floor of the van to keep wheelchair passengers in place and prevent any excess movement during transit.  The lowered floors help to compensate for a wheelchair passenger’s added height.  There are countless additional features and add-ons, so it is clear that the Toyota Sienna’s adaptability and flexibility are two key factors that make it a good choice for an accessible vehicle.

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England Mobility Center

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England Mobility Center

Style

When it comes to the Sienna, you’ll be hard pressed to find a vehicle as stylish. This Toyota is available in a rainbow of colors from a vibrant cherry red to a subtle sage green. Its sleek exterior is curvier and more modern than that of some types of minivans.

The interior is stunning, and the more customizations you make, the more personal and warm the vehicle feels. Its spaciousness accommodates passengers for a ride to the store or a road trip to Disney World with the same comfort and style you’d get from a luxury vehicle. If you’re looking for an accessible vehicle that is practical and attractive, be sure to consider the Toyota Sienna for its superior style.

 

Why Choose a Toyota?

A Toyota Sienna with a VMI Northstar 360 is one of best wheelchair accessible vans on the market. The variety of options means there’s really one for everyone. It’s able to be adapted with ease and features many options to suit all your needs. And, to top it all off, it’s a beautiful vehicle that will provide its purchaser’s with a long life and a lot of fun. It has, without a doubt, cemented its place as a top-rated accessible van that will retain its value and perform under the most rigorous conditions.  If the Toyota Sienna fits what you’re looking for in an accessible van, then come take it for a spin! Contact VMi New England today to schedule a test drive by filling out our online contact form or by giving us a call at 508-697-6006.

mobility concept vehicles for wheelchair drivers

“To get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” ~Unknown

dodge wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles
Were going to change the world one person at a time
Join the revolution
Do you want a 4×4 wheelchair vehicle you can drive?
We have built 4×4 accessible vehicles going all the way back to the 80’s
Want a 4×4 SUV you can drive your wheelchair from?
Want a Ford Explorer SUV that is a wheelchair accessible vehicle?
We can and will build you a concept vehicle you can drive from a wheelchair.
 'Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.'    - -George S. Patton
‘Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.’    – -George S. Patton

One definition of resilience is “the ability to cope with shocks and keep functioning in a satisfying way”. Resilience is about the self organizing capacity of systems. This means the ability to bounce back after disaster, or the ability to transform if a bad stage has happened. Both of these forms of resilience seem relevant to explore in our times, especially in relation to Assistive Driving Technology for Wheelchair Drivers.

Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations as a company is aware of this challenge and has been working on cutting edge wheelchair driving technology since the 80’s

automotive mobility concept vehicle systems
Vmi New England and Automotive Innovations is leading in its study of ever evolving automotive wheelchair driving systems.

wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

Ford wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

The way we see it, everyone has a fundamental need to have there own personal transportation, to access anything they need like, clean water, food, fibres and many other goods and services.

For future human development it is essential to understand the contribution each person can make to human livelihoods, health, security and culture if given the chance.

wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

wheelchair driver and passenger concept vehicles

Resilience thinking is part of the solution, as it thrives at building flexibility and adaptive capacity. People and nature are interdependent. That means, we have to look for collaboration within society to find resilient solutions.

Interdependence between people and nature.

IMG_0094

Exploring the missing links in our imagination
Solutions to find new possibilities in the Assistive Driving Technology require creativity.

Creativity is the answer to missing links in our imagination, at least according to Jim Sanders. They have found a unique way to explore the relationship between current automotive designs, people and technology.
A safe operating vehicle for people in wheelchairs
“In the face of ever evolving change in transportation needs, we need to work together to find safe mobility solutions for humanity. The key is in creative mobility solutions that connect nature with people. Flexible and adaptive strategies will bring us further. By stretching our imagination, we will start to explore the unknown. And by always looking for new combinations of technology, and common sense, we will find the new solutions.” Jim Sanders 2013

Sometimes even the smallest shift in thinking or doing can create the biggest changes in someones lifecan you save trust for a rainy day?necessity is the mother of invention

IMG_1598

driven by the freedom of the choice  to explore the worlds future possibilities

 VMi New England Mobility Center and Automotive Innovations is one of America’s best providers of wheelchair vans, vehicle modifications, and adaptive equipment including hand controls, wheelchair and scooter lifts, ramps, raised doors, lowered floors and specialized gas, brake and steering controls. With hundreds of accessible vehicles available to be custom built for your specific needs, from the industries best manufacturers such as VMI, Eldorado and Braun, at our New England mobility center.   Founded in 1984 and offering the best equipped mobility facility in New England with a unparalleled commitment to offering a broad selection of specialized vehicles and services to meet the needs of every customer. Our facility is also Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified (first in Massachusetts) through the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), resulting in Automotive Innovations being held to the highest standards in the vehicle modification industry.   We have a strong and committed Veteran sales staff with many decades of experience satisfying our customers’ needs. Feel free to browse our inventory online, visit our huge indoor showroom where every day is a ability expo, request more information about vehicles, set up a test drive or inquire about financing!   Feel free to call upon our friendly Mobility Consultants with any questions you may have about options on wheelchair vans or any of our other products. 508-697-6006We look forward to exceeding your expectations for decades to come!
concept |ˈkänˌsept|nounan abstract idea; a general notion: structuralism is a difficult concept | the concept of justice.• a plan or intention; a conception: the center has kept firmly to its original concept.• an idea or invention to help sell or publicize a commodity: a new concept in corporate hospitality.• Philosophy an idea or mental picture of a group or class of objects formed by combining all their aspects.• [ as modifier ] (of a car or other vehicle) produced as an experimental model to test the viability of new design features.ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (in the sense ‘thought, frame of mind, imagination’): from Latinconceptum ‘something conceived,’ from concept-‘conceived,’ from concipere (see conceive) .
exceed |ikˈsēd|verb [ with obj. ]be greater in number or size than (a quantity, number, or other measurable thing): production costs have exceeded $60,000.• go beyond what is allowed or stipulated by (a set limit, esp. of one’s authority): the Tribunal’s decision clearly exceeds its powers under the statute.• be better than; surpass: catalog sales have exceeded expectations.mobilitynoun1 elderly people may become socially isolated as a result ofrestricted mobility: ability to move, movability,moveableness, motility, vigour, strength, potency.2 the gleeful mobility of Billy’s face: expressiveness,eloquence, animation.3 the mobility of the product: transportability,portability, manoeuvrability.4 an increasing mobility in the workforce: adaptability,flexibility, versatility, adjustability.
freedom |ˈfrēdəm|nounthe power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint: we do have some freedom of choice | he talks of revoking some of the freedoms.• absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government: he was a champion of Irish freedom.• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved: the shark thrashed its way to freedom.• the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily: the shorts have a side split for freedom of movement.• (freedom from) the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing):government policies to achieve freedom from want.• the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.• unrestricted use of something: the dog is happy having the freedom of the house when we are out.• archaic familiarity or openness in speech or behavior.

Boston, Massachusetts, Low Priced Handicap Accessible Wheelchair Vans for MA

VMi New England will offer you a low price on your next custom van purchase in Boston, Massachusetts and nationwide. We give customized assistance to help you find affordable new or used wheelchair cars with side and rear entry lowered floor van conversions. Our handicap autos are ideal for personal or commercial transportation for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and powerchair users. We will bring you a new or used wheelchair van to Boston and still save you thousands of dollars. So get away in Boston, Massachusetts, MA, and explore the possibilities.

You can choose many options for handicap vans including the option to buy a mobility van, sell your wheelchair van to us, trade in a vehicle towards the purchase of a mobility van, convert your vehicle with van conversions for wheelchair accessibility and find adaptive mobility equipment for handicap vans.

 

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England

Toyota Lowered Floor Mini Van

Get Great Deals on New and Used Mobility Vans in Boston, Massachusetts – MA

If you want or need to buy a wheel chair van in Boston, then we can help. With brands such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, Dodge and Chrysler, along with our wide variety of new wheelchair vehicles with new conversions and used wheelchair vehicles with new or used conversions, you are sure to find the right disability car to meet your needs. We carry used handicap vehicles by Braun, VMI, and other brands with models such as the Braun Entervan, VMI Northstar, and many others (even maybe a AMS ). If you don’t see the specific handicap vehicle make or model that you’re looking for, please contact one of our mobility consultants today. VMi New England is committed to assisting you in your search to find the perfect adapted van that will meet your mobility needs at a price that is affordable to you.

Sell Your Disability Car in Boston, Massachusetts

VMi New England Toyota Sienna Northstar

 

Need to sell your scooter van or non-converted minivan? We buy handicap accessible vans of all types and brands from nearly all manufacturers in Massachusetts or nationwide. It’s also possible for us to purchase non-converted minivans including Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Dodge (long wheelbase only). For your convenience VMi New England now has mobility consignment programs, giving us new mobility alternatives and solutions. Also, for a very minimal cost you can sell your wheelchair lift van through our vast network of mobility classified listings online. Our previous customers can take advantage of our nationwide wheelchair van classified listing service for free.

VMi New England accepts most cars, trucks, minivans, sports cars, off road vehicles or ramp vans for trade-in when buying a wheelchair minivan. We won’t let a trade in stop you from buying a new or used wheelchair vehicle or wheelchair vehicle conversion. Come in for a quick price quote on the value of your trade-in vehicle.

Let us install a wheelchair accessible vehicle conversion into your Dodge, Chrysler, Volkswagen, or Honda minivan. VMi New England’s mobility dealership has low prices on safe, quality side and rear entry wheelchair van conversions that have been around for over 20 years.

Contact us when purchasing or installing mobility equipment in Boston, Massachusetts such as wheelchair lifts, mobility scooter and powerchair vehicle carriers, transfer seats, or other adaptive equipment. VMi New England offers popular brands of driver aids and If you don’t find the specific mobility equipment that meets your handicap van needs, we will make it special order it for you.