Power wheelchair insurance?

Fusia

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Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
34
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
In early July, I received my power wheelchair - Permobil F3. I'm not using it a lot just yet, but have taken it out on longer "walks". I recently found a good used wheelchair accessible minivan, and should have that in my possession in about a week.

When I called my insurance agent about getting insurance for the minivan, I asked her if I needed separate insurance for the wheelchair. She got back to me to let me know that I could get separate insurance for the wheelchair and gave me a quote.

Do I really need separate insurance for the wheelchair, or would any damage/loss be covered under vehicle or homeowners insurance policies? (if the latter, maybe I need a new insurance agent😊)
 

swalker

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
1,214
Reason
DX MND
Diagnosis
07/2014
Country
US
State
CO
City
Vail
Here is my experience.

Our insurance is through USAA. We have both automobile and homeowner's insurance through them.

On November 26, 2019 our wheelchair van was stolen with my Permobil F5 wheelchair in the van. Both were recovered a few days later.

I expected the automobile policy to cover the damage to the van, the damage to the wheelchair, and the contents of the van that were stolen and not recovered. It did not!

The automobile policy covered just the van and a couple of hundred dollars of contents. The wheelchair and the bulk of the van's contents were covered by my homeowner's policy.

Because the van was stolen, the incident was considered to be a "comprehensive" claim (rather than collision, for example). On our policy, there was no deductible for a "comprehensive" loss.

The wheelchair and the van's contents were covered by our homeowner's policy, for which there was a $1,000 deductible.

This arrangement may vary by state, but seemed to be pretty typical.

If you do face a loss, be prepared for the process to be long and drawn out. While our loss was over 9 months ago, I only received the replacement wheelchair last week (the wheelchair was damaged badly enough that it needed to be replaced).

Also, because our van was a wheelchair van, it was very expensive to repair. So expensive, that insurance decided to write it off. We bought the van back from insurance and had the necessary repairs made, but that took a long time as well (partly due to Covid 19).

After our van was recovered, we needed to do about $500 in emergency repairs to make it driveable. It needed thousands of dollars of other work that was done later. Because we could still drive it (after the emergency repairs), we only needed to rent a wheelchair van while ours was in the shop being repaired - a total of about 2 weeks.

Long before the theft, I had decided to add roadside assistance and rental reimbursement for the van to our auto policy. When I did so, I made sure the insurance company knew that it was a wheelchair van and the rental coverage needed to provide for a wheelchair van rental. They agreed. Fortunately, they recorded that phone call.

When the van was stolen, we reminded them of our need to be reimbursed for the cost of renting a wheelchair van. They initially said they would only reimburse us for the cost of a regular van ("large SUV"). I reminded them of the conversation we had years previously. They initiated a review, found the tapes of the initial conversation, and agreed to reimburse us for the cost of the rental wheelchair van.

For our part, we made sure that we only rented the wheelchair van when it was absolutely necessary.

While the whole process was a bit of a hassle, I give USAA very high marks for how they handled our case. In the end, they wound up paying around $60,000 for the claim. I am sure glad we had the insurance we did.

That claim is still not finished, but we now see the light at the end of the tunnel (or is it a train? we will know soon:)).

Steve
 

Fusia

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Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
34
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
Thanks, Steve, for all those details. I will talk to my insurance agent on Tuesday to ensure that my homeowners policy would cover the PWC and other contents. I'll also consider adding roadside assistance and rental reimbursement - might be a good idea considering the type of vehicle.
 

frankb

Senior member
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
551
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
10/2010
Country
US
State
Georgia
City
Sandy Springs
BRAVO, USAA ! ! - - - when i insured my van i informed usaa the van was handicapped customized. they insured me (no pun intended} there would be no additional charge for the conversion. really fantastic, but then i have been insured with usaa for the past 55 years !
 
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