When it comes to buying a standard car, we are flooded with different makes, models, options and features. So for those looking to buy or rent wheelchair friendly cars for the first time, the choice can be made even harder. In this blog post, we cover five facts that may be helpful for first time owners of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to know about.
First of all, it is good to know that there are three ways to secure mobility vehicles: by buying a new WAV, buying used mobility vehicles or through UK government-funded scheme Motability. While the first two are self-explanatory, it is worth briefly explaining how the Motability scheme works. Applicants are entitled to funding to go towards either a new, nearly new or used WAV. A new vehicle will require a substantial advanced payment from the buyer/renter, whilst a nearly new or used WAVs will require lesser advanced payments respectively. Secondly, WAVs come in different sizes. While this may seem like an obvious general car fact, this can pose more problems for those that require more special aids or space for wheelchairs. Smaller WAVs are cheaper, but offer much less space – suited to only a maximum of four people (including the wheelchair user) and with small luggage space. This is not ideal for those who need to fit certain mobility aids into the vehicle. Medium WAVs are suited for up to seven people and have adequate storage place for luggage and aids. Finally, larger WAVs have optimal space and also offer the best views for the wheelchair user whilst travelling.
Our third fact regarding wheelchair friendly cars relates to demonstrations. Many suppliers of WAVs are happy to give you a demonstration of a particular vehicle or vehicles that you are interested in buying or using. A good supplier understands that it can be hard to organise for a wheelchair user and their family to come to them, so they can demonstrate the vehicle at your home instead. Our fourth fact relates to delivery times. Keep in mind that there are different types of time limits on the delivery of WAVs when going through the Motability scheme. Used and nearly new WAVs can be delivered in weeks, but new WAVs may take over a month. This could be down to people requiring particular aids to be fitted to a car, which extends the time it takes to customise the vehicle. Our final fact relates to eligibility for funding under the Motability scheme. Those eligible to be part of the Motability scheme include those on the enhanced rate of mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (or PIP), the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance, the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) and the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP). These payments do not need to be used exclusively on cars, but on all mobility wheelchair accessible vehicles such as powered wheelchairs, scooters and even greener vehicles for those who want to reduce their environmental impact.
These are just a few facts to get you started in your first foray into WAV vehicles. There’s much more to learn and it can be great to consult the Motability website, as well as the websites of suppliers who offer wheelchair friendly cars and vehicles, to find out more.