Tag Archives: Safe

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.

MBTA New Year’s Eve Free Service

The MBTA announced its service schedule for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The MBTA is providing extra transit services throughout the First Night Festivities and will offer FREE service after 8:00 p.m.

Friday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve

  • Blue, Orange, Green and Red Line trains will operate on a weekday schedule.  Additional trains will operate and provide rush – hour levels of service throughout the evening.  Service will be extended until approximately 2:00 a.m.
  • Buses, Silver Line, and trackless trolleys will operate on a weekday schedule.
  • Commuter Rail Service On New Year’s Eve will operate on a weekday schedule with additional train service provided to accommodate customers participating in Boston’s First Night Celebration.


Fitchburg Line: 12:10 AM departure to Fitchburg will terminate at South Acton
1:00 AM & 2:00 AM Departure to Fitchburg
Haverhill Line: 12:10 AM departure to Haverhill will terminate at Reading
1:00 AM & 2:00 AM Departure to Haverhill
Lowell Line: 12:10 AM, 1:00 AM, & 2:00 AM Departure to Lowell
Rockport Line: 12:10 AM departure to Rockport will terminate at Beverly
1:00 AM departure to Rockport
Newburyport: 12:45 AM departure to Newburyport
Newburyport/Rockport: 2:00 AM departure
Newburyport bound customers must change at Beverly for a connecting train to Newburyport.


Providence Line: Train #829 that normally departs at 11:59 P.M. will depart 46 minutes later at 12:45 A.M.
1:45 AM Departure to Providence
Franklin Line: Train #731 that normally departs at 11:50 P.M. will depart 55 minutes later at 12:45 A.M.
1:45 AM Departure to Forge Park
Greenbush Line: 1:05 AM Departure to Greenbush
Middleboro/Lakeville Line: 1:10 AM Departure to Middleboro
Needham Line: 1:00 AM Departure to Needham
Kingston Line: 1:00 AM Departure to Kingston
Worcester/Framingham Line: Train #P539 that normally departs at 11:25 PM. will depart 1 hour and 35 minutes later at 1:00 AM to Worcester

Commuter Boat and Ferry

  • Inner Harbor Ferry will operate a normal weekday schedule.
  • Rowes Wharf/ Hingham Shipyard
    Additional service will depart at 12:20 PM and 2:30 PM from Rowes Wharf to Hingham.
    Additional service will depart Hingham at 1:15 PM and 3:15 PM.

    • The last departure from Rowes Wharf will be at 7 PM.
      • The 7:30 PM and 8:30PM departures from Rowes Wharf will be cancelled
    • The last departure from Hingham will be at 6:10 PM.
      • The 6:40 PM and 7:40 PM departures from Hingham will be cancelled.
  • Quincy Fore River Shipyard to Long Wharf and Logan Airport (Hull)

From Long Wharf

1:25 PM will stop at Hull
2:15 PM will stop at Hull

Additional service at 3:00 PM stops at Hull and Quincy Fore River Shipyard.

The 5:30 PM departure from Long Wharf to Hull and Quincy Fore River Shipyard will be cancelled.

The last departure from Quincy Fore River Shipyard will be at 6:55 PM.
The last departure from Long Wharf will be at 7:30 PM.

THE RIDE will operate extended hours until 2:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 1st– New Year’s Day

  • Blue, Orange, Green and Red Line trains will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • Buses, Silver Line, and trackless trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule.
  • Commuter rail trains will operate on a Sunday schedule.  Please Note: Fairmount Line, Needham Line and Stoughton Line will not operate.
  • Inner Harbor Ferry and Commuter Boat services will not operate.
  • THE RIDE will operate on a Sunday schedule.

Visit MBTA on the web for more information about MBTA services, routes, schedules and fares, or call the T’s Customer Information Center at 617-222-3200, (TTY) 617-222-5146.

Have A Fun And SAFE New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a night to have fun and celebrate the coming year. However, safety is a must when participating in the festivities. Whether you’re staying in and celebrating with friends and family, or you’re traveling to a party or city bash, following a few safety tips will ensure that you’re safe and sound when the clock strikes midnight, ringing in the New Year!

Designate a Driver:
If you are going to be driving New Year’s Eve, don’t drink and drive. If you have a friend who does not prefer to drink, make sure they take the wheel. You might even be on the water this New Year’s Eve. The person in charge of navigating the boat needs to be cautious, and this still applies to them. It is important to be safe on the water as well, so drink sensibly.

Be Alert:
Be aware of your surroundings and how others are acting. Stay away from those who are out of control and might cause harm. Taking preventive measures is key. If someone is really intoxicated, prevent them from trying to drive or leaving with someone they do not know. It’s important to keep an eye out for each other.

Don’t Drive:
If you don’t have to go behind the wheel, avoid it. More people will be driving under the influence on this particular night, so avoid a potentially dangerous accident by staying off the road. Otherwise, be alert and drive defensively. Most importantly, wear your seat belt. Also, using public transportation is a wise option. If taking a cab is too expensive, crashing at a friend’s place nearby is a convenient solution.

Stick Together:
This way we can look out for our friends and family. Going out to parties and nightclubs means a fast-paced, crazy night; so be sure to travel in groups. Having a safety net around you in this environment is imperative.

Monitor your Alcohol:
A majority of people will be drinking on New Year’s Eve, and there is nothing wrong with that. Just be sure to pay attention to how much you and others are consuming. Drinking too much alcohol can have lethal affects. Also, be wary of who you except drinks from (especially if they are open) and if you put your drink down think twice before drinking from it again. Be responsible.

Don’t forget about your pets:
They are just as much a part of the family as everyone else. If you are using fireworks, anything with loud noises, or fire, be sure that pets are kept at a distance as well as children. None of these are a good mix.

Be careful with open flames:
If you’re burning candles, incense or oil burners, remember to extinguish them before you turn in or before you leave the room they are burning in. Pay extra attention to pets and children around open flames.

Be extra careful with Fireworks:
If you are letting off fireworks in a residential area, be sure to practice proper safety precautions when using them. Let off fireworks in a field or other open area where homes and power lines are out of sight. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and never try to re-light a firework that did not go off when first lit. Also, be sure pets and children are at a safe distance from where fireworks are being ignited. Finally, always have an adult present when using any type of firework.

Everyone wants to have an unforgettable night — in a good way. By simply using some common sense, we can keep it that way. Ring in the New Year safely.

Is Your Business Accessible and Safe?

More awareness has been focused on making buildings accessible and safe for those with disAbilities. With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses must provide everyone equal access around their property. However, despite these regulations there are still businesses that have failed to meet federal guidelines. For those failing to comply, fines and penalties can be severe and can potentially lead to the closure of the business if changes are not made in a timely manner. According to the ADA, businesses are required to make reasonable accommodations allowing everyone to enjoy the goods and services provided by the business. In order to comply, several areas must be addressed.

Wheelchair users find many businesses almost impossible to enter. If the only access to a building is steps or stairs, the ADA requires that a wheelchair-accessible ramp be provided to allow easy access to the building.

Auxiliary Communication Assistance
For those individuals who are blind or need other assistance with communication, the ADA also requires businesses to make the appropriate accommodations for them as well. Signage outside offices, bathrooms and other areas is required to have words in Braille, and employees who have communication disabilities are also required to have access to closed-captioning and sign-language interpretation if needed.

For years bathrooms in almost all businesses were obstacles that many found to be nearly insurmountable challenges. However, with the passage of the ADA, using a bathroom has become much easier for both customers and employees with a disability. According to ADA regulations, all bathrooms should have at least one stall that is designed for people with a disability. The door to the stall is required to be wide enough for a mobility device to easily go through, and the stall large enough to have room for the individual and another person if necessary to assist. Hand rails are also required for safety and comfort, and the sinks are to be low enough for a person using a wheelchair to easily reach and use.

All states require businesses to provide parking spaces that are designated exclusively for drivers with a disability. The parking spaces should be clearly marked and located as close to the business as possible, and are usually near a wheelchair-accessible ramp. The penalties for parking in a handicapped parking space can be severe, often resulting in a fine of $500 and the vehicle being towed away at the owner’s expense.

While the least-regulated aspect of most businesses, aisles still fall under ADA rules and must be in compliance with federal regulations. Under ADA rules, aisles in retail businesses or others as well must be free of any barriers that would prohibit a person in a wheelchair from gaining access to that area. However, it’s recommended by most experts that in addition to being barrier-free, all aisles be clear of clutter and be made wide enough for shoppers using a mobility device to easily navigate. While not required by law, doing so is seen as an act of courtesy and respect for employees and customers.

Fines and Penalties
To ensure your business is in compliance with ADA laws, it’s a good idea to have a safety audit. Hiring an expert to conduct a safety and accessibility audit is the best way to ensure your business is in full compliance and is in no way violating ADA regulations. Under Title III of the ADA, the maximum penalty for a first violation of ADA rules is set at $75,000. For a second violation, the fine goes up to $150,000. If the Department of Justice finds evidence of repeated violations, the fines can accrue significantly and can greatly affect businesses that are operating with profit margins that have little or no room for error. The federal government is currently very aggressive with its ADA enforcement, with healthcare businesses currently being targeted for investigation due to the DOJ’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative.

While much has been done to make the world an easier place for people of all abilities to live and work, it is clear there is still much work left to be done. However, with continued ADA enforcement equal access is getting easier by the day.

How To Have A Comfortable & Safe Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle In Winter

We’re sure there’s no need to remind you, given the freezing temperatures outside, but winter is in full effect. During this season, keeping warm is an absolute top priority to both stay comfortable and safe. Whereas summer makes driving feel like a blast, winter might mean your accessible vehicle is taking on some damage you might not even know about.

Frozen seats, iced over windows and cold air are only some of the effects you’ll be experiencing unless you make sure to follow these helpful tips. With proper preparation, your wheelchair van doesn’t have feel like a refrigerator.

How to stay safe in your wheelchair accessible vehicle:

  • Always keep spare hats, gloves, blankets and extra layers in your wheelchair accessible vehicle. Unfortunately, cars break and, if it happens to you, having these extra essentials will make your wait for help bearable or even life-saving.
  • Make sure to keep at least half a tank of gas at all times. This helps weigh down your car in icy conditions and also prevents running out of fuel while lost or stuck in the snow.
  • Check your antifreeze levels weekly or bi-weekly for any potential leaks. You would much rather find one in your garage than learn about it on the road when your engine stops.
  • Switch your windshield wiper fluid to cold weather formula ASAP. Summer formula is great in the heat, but it’ll freeze during winter and either clog the pipes or ice over your windshield when sprayed.
  • Especially for those in a wheelchair, an extra-long/telescopic ice scraper will do wonders in creating maximum visibility. Don’t forget to clean the roof as well, which will prevent a pile of snow from hitting the car behind you.
  • Store an emergency cell phone battery in the glove box for when you’re potentially lost or stranded. Just make sure to keep the battery charged!

How to stay warm:

  • There’s no reason not to enjoy heated seats even if your accessible vehicle wasn’t installed with them. Pick up aftermarket seat warmers to provide both heat and additional support for your back and hips.
  • Stop by your local hardware store to grab a can of silicone spay. A quick spray along the window and door cracks will help prevent moisture buildup, which means your doors won’t freeze shut overnight.
  • Use steering wheel covers to help insulate your hands and also provide extra grip for slippery conditions.
  • Switch your heat settings over to recirculate the interior air. This reheats the already hot air instead of pulling in cold air from the outside. During the summer, always keep air coming in from the outside to cool the engine. But during the winter, the air inside does the job just fine.
  • Starting at around $100, you can install an aftermarket remote car starter. Now you can start and pre-heat your acessible vehicle from the comfort of your living room, just remember to set your dials accordingly each time you leave your car.
  • And of course, sip on some delicious coffee or tea from an insulated container.

Applying these ideas will help keep you comfy and safe during the harsh winter months. Always make sure to drive safe; and smile, because spring is just around the corner.