Expert advice and guidance
We know that your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) or adapted vehicle can be an important part of staying free and independent. But, vehicles can often be a big investment with many factors to consider. That’s why we’re giving you all the information you need to know about adapted vehicle insurance, in one place.
Find articles on the different types of WAV, as well as impartial advice on how to get the most out of visiting a WAV dealer. Plus, we’ll share tips on finding the right vehicle for you and parking with a Blue Badge. We’ll keep this page updated, so you can stay up-to-date with the latest topics and discussions.
Find out more below
Our FREE handy WAV guide
Choosing which Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) to buy is not a decision that can be rushed. Whether you’re looking at buying a new or used WAV, it’s a big commitment.
Not only do they cost a considerable amount of money, but each WAV is suited to different needs – making it important to consider your requirements carefully before making a choice.
Download our FREE handy WAV guide here
Before you go to visit any dealers, you’ll need to think about what you need from a WAV. Not only do any adaptations need to be considered, but you’ll need to think about important things such as where you want to sit. WAV seating arrangements vary greatly, from your wheelchair being in the very back of the vehicle, to being able to drive directly from your wheelchair.
You’ll also need to consider things like whether you want to buy a new or used vehicle, and how you are going to finance the purchase. All this is before you even test drive the vehicle and get down to the details of how economical the vehicle is and if you’ll be able to park it easily.
Notifying the DVLA of a medical condition or disability
If you have been diagnosed with a disability or medical condition that could impact your ability to drive, it’s important that you let the DVLA know. You also need to tell them if an existing disability or condition you have has got worse.
You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell the DVLA about a condition that could affect your driving. If you are involved in a collision and it is found that you were suffering from an undeclared condition at the time, you could be prosecuted. This means it’s really important that you don’t forget to tell them.
Below are the steps you need to take in order to let the DVLA know about your disability or medical condition.
STEP 1: Check if your medical condition or disability is something the DVLA need to be notified about. You can see a full list of the conditions and disabilities here.
STEP 2: Fill in the right form and send it off to the DVLA. All of the forms are held on the DVLA website when you click on each specific condition.
STEP 3: Wait for the DVLA to give you their decision. They should let you know within 6 weeks. The DVLA may contact your doctor in order to confirm certain details. They might also want to arrange an assessment to check whether you are safe to drive, this could be in the form of an eye test or driving test.
STEP 4: The DVLA will take a look at your medical condition or disability and make a decision whether you:
- Need a new driving licence
- Can qualify for a shorter licence. This can be for 1, 2, 3, or 5 years with a renewal after this period
- Need to adapt or modify your car to meet your needs (you can find more information about the adaptations that are available on the Rica website)
- Need to stop driving and voluntarily surrender your licence to them. (The form you need to fill in to surrender your licence can be found here)
NEXT STEPS: If the DVLA tell you that you need to stop driving, they will give you a medical reason why they have made this choice. They will also give you information about how to appeal the decision if you disagree.
If you need to renew or reapply for your licence, the DVLA will send you some documents about 3 months before the licence is due to expire. You need to make sure that you check with your doctor that you are fit to drive before you reapply.
You may find it more difficult or more expensive to get the right car insurance cover after declaring a disability or medical condition to the DVLA. Here at Fish Insurance, we specialise in policies for those with disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions. This means that we know the level of cover you need, and can make sure that important things like the modifications made to your vehicle are covered. You can find out more about our car insurance policies here.
Blue Badge Scheme – what you need to know
If you live in England or Wales and have trouble walking or other mobility problems, you could be eligible for a Blue Badge. This would allow you to park your car in disabled bays, and closer to shops and other amenities.
Find out whether you qualify and how to apply.
Do I qualify for a Blue Badge?
You will automatically qualify for a blue badge if…
- You are over the age of two and one (or more) of the following conditions apply to you:
- You are registered blind
- You receive PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and got a score of 8 or more in the ‘moving around’ part of the assessment, meaning you were unable to walk more than 50 metres. (If you’re not sure what your score was, check your letter)
- You receive DLA (Disability Living Allowance) and get the higher rate of the mobility component
- You receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
- You have received a lump sum payment within tariff levels 1-8 as part of the Armed/Reserved Forces Compensation Scheme, and have been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which makes you unable to walk or causes severe difficulty walking.
Find out more about other people who may qualify for a Blue Badge, and how to apply for one below.
You may qualify for a blue badge if…you have considerable difficulty walking
Some people may also be eligible for a badge if they are more than two years old and have a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking.
If you want to apply for a blue badge because you have considerable difficulty walking, you will need to prove that you have a permanent and substantial disability meaning:
- You cannot walk
- It causes you a lot of difficulty to try and walk far. This might mean that you suffer from severe pain and breathlessness
- Your eligibility for a blue badge is not based on the diagnosis of a particular disability, but the effect that the disability has on your ability to walk. If they are not sure whether you qualify for a blue badge, your local authority might want you to undergo an assessment with a medical professional
You may qualify for a blue badge if…you are a driver with severe disabilities in your arms
You could also be eligible for a blue badge if you are a driver and have a severe disability in your arms, meaning that you can’t (or struggle to) operate parking meters.
To qualify for a badge because of a disability in your arms you will need to:
- Regularly drive a vehicle
- Have a severe disability in BOTH arms
- Be unable to (or have severe difficulty) operating all, or some, types of parking meter
You may qualify for a blue badge if…you have an eligible child under three years of age
You can apply for a blue badge if you are the parent or guardian of a child under 3 years of age who has a specific medical condition. Medical conditions which qualify are things where your child needs large medical equipment transported with them. The types of medical equipment that mean a child could qualify for a blue badge could be things like feed pumps, syringe drivers, ventilators, oxygen administration equipment or oxygen saturation monitoring equipment, as well as casts or other medical equipment for hip dysplasia.
The child could also qualify if they have a medical condition that means they need to be near the vehicle at all times in order to receive treatment or be taken to a hospital. This could include conditions like unstable diabetes, severe epilepsy, terminal illnesses that mean the child cannot be away from home for long.
How do I apply for a blue badge?
Before you apply, make sure you have:
- Your National Insurance number or child reference number if you’re applying for a child
- Your driving licence if you have one
- The number, expiry date and local council on your current blue badge, if you have one
You’ll also need:
- Your decision letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (if you’re automatically eligible for a badge)
- Proof of identification (this can be a birth or marriage certificate, passport, ID card or driving licence)
- Proof of address (this can be a Council Tax bill or a utility bill dated within the last 3 months)
- A photograph of the person the badge is for
- Send copies of your documents rather than originals, in case your application gets lost in the post.
When will I find out if I’ve qualified for a blue badge?
You should hear back about the decision within 6 to 8 weeks.
The local authority might ask you to do a mobility assessment. A health professional will assess your ability to carry out different mobility activities. The health professional will then tell your council whether they think your health condition or disability limits your ability to move around enough for you to need a badge.
You also might be asked to send in extra information or speak to a member of the council. Your council will tell you in writing if this is the case.
If you’re refused a Blue Badge, you can appeal and ask your council to reconsider their decision.
You’ll need to renew your badge after 3 years, or when you stop receiving the benefit your badge is linked to (eg. DLA or PIP).
You must give your Blue Badge back to the council if you no longer need it (eg. if your condition improves). You could be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t hand the badge back.
Please note this article is for information purposes only. Information accurate at time of posting, May 2017.