Tips on Buying A Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Buying a wheelchair accessible car, van, or truck can be a big investment, but if you’re willing to put in the time and do the research, it’s possible to find a good quality used handicap vehicle. The key is finding one that’s suitable for your needs.

The first place to start is with a reputable wheelchair accessible vehicle dealer. Dealers have trained specialists on staff who know and are familiar with the specialized equipment and systems installed on a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Everyone’s needs are different and it’s essential that you find the best solution for you. Choosing to buy from a private party may have serious ramifications, so always exercise caution if considering this option.

If the wheelchair occupant will be driving, it’s recommended they be evaluated by a qualified specialist through the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, or ADED. This expert will determine what specific needs, limitations, seating requirements or appropriate equipment should be taken into account with the adapted vehicle you’re considering.

Browsing inventory of wheelchair accessible vans, car and trucks can be overwhelming. Here are some additional things to keep in mind when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle that will help you narrow your search:

•    List the features and options you need and want so you can compare price differences.
•    Is the vehicle going to be used to transport the entire family?
•    It’s important to consider interior height when shopping for a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Make sure the vehicle can accommodate your needs without any modifications.
•    Once you’ve found a vehicle that works for you, have the body and mechanical parts checked out by your own mechanic. Don’t just take the seller at their word.
•    Does the type of wheelchair van lift on the vehicle work with the wheelchair you’re using? Think about where and how you’ll be getting in and out of the vehicle.

To start your search feel free to call one of our offices where our friendly sales staff can assist you.

Originally Posted: NMEDA BLOG
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Top Questions About Wheelchair Van Financing


No matter who you are or where you’re from, the topic of financing can be confusing. That’s especially true when it comes to financing specialized products that aren’t well understood by the general public – like wheelchair accessible vehicles!

1. Why are wheelchair accessible vehicles so expensive?

I just want to add a ramp on my van – not all the bells and whistles.” That’s a statement heard often by the finance team. Many first-time buyers don’t understand the time and work that goes into making a mobility vehicle. The conversion process is not just adding a ramp – it is rebuilding of the original vehicle, top to bottom and bumper to bumper. Keep in mind, mobility vehicles come in many shapes, sizes and price points: from rear-entry or side-entry, manual ramps or fully-automatic, brand new or certified pre-owned or even used. All of these options are available through Access Options, Inc.

2. Can’t Medicaid or Medicare pay for the vehicle? What about insurance? 

While Medicare and Medicaid may cover the cost of your wheelchair or scooter, they do not cover the cost of a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Neither does health insurance. There are some national, state and nonprofit funding sources that can help. Find a full list of those services here.

3. Why don’t you offer free financing? 

Because the vendors purchases chassis directly from the automotive manufacturer and not a dealership, the same consumer financing incentives you see offered by a Chrysler or Ford dealership, for example, do not carry over to the mobility dealership. Purchasing directly from the manufacturer lowers the MSRP, and the finance then works with major lenders to ensure we can offer competitive terms and low rates.

4. How much of a down payment should I plan on when purchasing my wheelchair accessible vehicle? 

The general rule of thumb in the automotive industry is 20% down. It’s possible to get a vehicle financed with zero down, but putting some money down initially puts the consumer in a better long-term financial position and results in lower monthly payments.

5. How do I apply for financing as a caregiver of someone else? 

You need to have financial power of attorney in order to apply for financing on behalf of someone else (this is separate from medical power of attorney).

And if an individual is unable to physically sign loan documents, there are alternatives.

6. What kind of credit score do I need to get financing for a wheelchair accessible vehicle?

There is no magic credit score required to obtain financing. Our finance team strives to widen opportunities for those with challenged credit. It’s important to note that your credit score is a small part of the overall credit decision.” Considerations like employment and employment history, total debt owed, income, and dozens of other factors all go into the final decision, she adds.

7. What is GAP insurance? Do I really need it?

Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance (GAP) comes into play when there is a total loss on a vehicle due to fire, theft or an accident. For example, in the event of a total loss, an insurance claims adjuster may say the fair market value of a vehicle is $30,000. If the consumer owes $35,000 on the bank loan, that leaves a gap of $5,000 for the consumer to cover. If the consumer had purchased GAP insurance, it would cover the $5,000 deficit and up to $1000 of the deductible.

Anyone who is financing a mobility vehicle should consider purchasing GAP insurance,” recommends Jill. For just an additional $5 onto your monthly payment, GAP could be a decision that saves you tens of thousands of dollars.

GAP insurance is available nationwide on any wheelchair accessible vehicle for a term of up to 84 months with the with the exception of New York.

8. What is a Vehicle Service Contract?

A vehicle service contract (VSC) is extended coverage of the warranty of your mobility vehicle’s chassis and conversion. Buying at the time of sale reduces the VSC’s cost and allows it to be included in your total vehicle financing. The length of the contract is up to the consumer, but purchasing at the time of sale avoids any lapse in coverage and matching it to the length of the loan agreement.


Originally seen at The AbilityVoice Blog: Here
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Transporting Children with Disabilities

Automotive conversions are often completed to meet your exact accessibility needs; there are additional factors to weigh out if you plan on using the handicap van or car to transport children with disabilities. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your child safe while traveling:

  • Children under the age of 12 should always ride in the backseats of a vehicle.
  • Ensure ancillary pieces of medical equipment are secured on the vehicle floor or underneath the seat/wheelchair, as these may become dangerous projectiles in the event of an accident or rough terrain.
  • If your child requires any electric equipment for travel, make sure you have a source of power to last twice as long as you need for the duration of the trip, in case of changing circumstances.
  • Bring extra supplies like medicines, prescriptions and sustenance along for the trip to account for any changes in schedule or lost items.
  • Allow your child to sit with or close to family members or caregivers by transferring them from their wheelchair to a seat in the car (if possible) or positioning their wheelchair close to others. This not only adds protection and lets you keep an eye on them, but also adds a feeling of comfort, security and warmth for your child.
  • Tinted windows will prevent your child from getting too hot from streaming sunlight.
These are just a few of our suggestions for staying safe on the road while traveling with your children.

Originally Posted on July 16th, 2018 in Living With a Disability

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Maintaining Your Independence at Home

According to a 2015 study by HUD, less than one percent of housing in the United States is accessible for wheelchair users while only about one third of housing being possibly modifiable for an individual with a mobility disability. This means that while those with disabilities can now access public businesses, homes are another story, which is why Access Options, Inc. recommends EZ-ACCESS products to assist in breaking through those barriers.

See how EZ-ACCESS’ TRANSITIONS® line helps to bridge the accessibility gap in homes across America:

The Angled Entry Mat seamlessly blends in by providing a “welcome mat” style that comes in three colors to match the home’s aesthetic. It is simply set in place and ready to use.

The Modular Entry Ramp creates a sturdy and seam-free surface that helps eliminate potential tripping hazards for wheelchair, scooter, walker, and cane users.

In addition to TRANSITIONS accessibility products for the home, check out EZ-ACCESS’ other reputable accessibility product lines including the PASSPORT®, SUITCASE® and PATHWAY® 3G.

As you reflect on all of the amazing changes that have come from the American Disabilities Act, be sure to double check that your space is accessible for everyone. Whether it is through enhancing your home with a quality EZ-ACCESS product, or through a few quick adjustments around the house, there are a variety ways to give greater independence to individual with disabilities visiting your own home.

Originally seen on EZ-ACCESS’ Blog found: HERE
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BraunAbility Wheelchair Accessible SUV

The BraunAbility Ford Explorer MXV was first released in 2015 to high acclaim. Finally, wheelchair users and their families had a safe and suave alternative to the accessible minivan. Customers flocked to the innovative wheelchair accessible SUV and its many space-saving features and the product quickly became known as the most popular and best wheelchair accessible vehicles of its time.

Now, the BraunAbility MXV continues to draw crowds and the many patented engineering feats show why BraunAbility continues to lead the industry in quality and creativity. Whether you are new to the BraunAbility Ford Explorer MXV or a returning fan, here are 5 things you might not have known about the MXV, BraunAbility’s first and only handicap SUV.

4 Questions You Might Have About the BraunAbility MXV

  1. What Is a Slimmed B-Pillar?
    The BraunAbility MXV has many specially-engineered space saving features including a b-pillar that has been both slimmed and strengthened. This pillar makes up the side of the front door frame between the front and second-row, and by re-engineering the pillar, the MXV entryway was opened an additional three inches. Though much less bulky than the OEM design, the pillar was reinforced with cast steel to protect passengers in the event of a side-impact. The result is a pillar that performs as well as the OEM but increases space dramatically.
  2. Why Does the MXV Have a Minivan Door?
    The original rear passenger door on a Ford Explorer is a traditional swing door that you see on all SUVs today. We knew this design wouldn’t work with an automatic or manual ramp: there simply wasn’t enough room to accommodate the necessary space. An extensive door system investigation and accompanying design group were launched to find the design that would allow this vehicle to be independently driven by someone who uses a wheelchair. The resulting design was a hybrid of a commercial bus door system and a custom-designed swing door tailored to work with the new b-pillar. This patented design changes the operation of the rear passenger door from a standard door to a gliding door reminiscent of an airplane hatch. The door gives a futuristic feel to an already bold body style, and the automatic operation means the door opens, the kneel function is engaged and the ramp deploys all from the push of a button on the MXV key fob. An added benefit to the door design is that it can also be opened manually in the event of an emergency by pulling the door handle on the interior or exterior of the vehicle.
  3. What Are Tilt N’Go Seats?
    The latest additions to the MXV design are the Tilt N’Go front seats and is the only Ford wheelchair van on the market to include this technology. These seats, with the tap of a button and a gentle push to release the lock, spring forward to create three times more maneuvering space for a wheelchair user. After receiving feedback from our loyal customer base, we learned that even though many other space-saving designs like the cantilevered seat bases and sliding front shifter which was unique to the MXV design, some manual and power chair users still found the vehicle challenging to navigate. Now, with Tilt N’Go seats, more people than ever can enjoy the style of the wheelchair accessible SUV with added functionality.

  4. Does the Accessible Ford Explorer Keep Its Towing Capability?
    Along with the Chrysler Pacifica, the Ford Explorer MXV retains it’s towing capability and capacity. With a 3.5 liter Ti-VCT engine, the Explorer MXV yields a towing capacity of 2000lbs or 5000lbs with the factory class 3 hitch package and weight-distributing hitch. For active owners, towing can mean anything from trailers to boats and the freedom to take long road trips or a quick weekend getaway to the lake with friends and family.

    Originally seen on The AbilityVoice Blog
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Last of the NEW 2016’s

Access Options, Inc. currently has three brand new 2016 vans left in stock. Now is your chance to save! Which one is the best fit for you?

2016 Ford Explorer XLT – Stock #GGA86962

SUV Swagger Meets Minivan Mobility
Built on the renowned Ford Explorer, the MXV with Tilt N’Go seating now boasts better-than-ever maneuverability—3X better. Innovative design. Rugged styling. Complete independence. Isn’t it time for you to get out there?


2016 Honda Odyssey EX

2016 Honda Odyssey – Stock #GB084748

8 -way power driver seat, 4 -way power passenger seat, Cloth Bucket front seats, driver seat with power adjustable lumbar support, Rear ventilation ducts with fan control, Reclining rear seats, 2 one-touch power windows, Hands-free entry, Heated mirrors, Clock, Compass, External temperature display, Tachometer, Trip computer, Cruise control, Electric power steering, Front and rear door pockets, Front seatback storage, Keyless ignition, Overhead console with storage, Rear view camera, Tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Interior air filtration, Dual illuminating vanity mirrors, Three zone climate control.


2016 Dodge Grand Caravan SE – Stock #GR322668

White Exterior with an Black/Lt Graystone Cloth Seating featuring a VMI Manual Northstar E Conversion.4 -way manual driver seat adjustments, 4 -way manual passenger seat adjustment, 1 one-touch power windows, Remote keyless power door locks, Heated mirrors, Cruise control, Power steering, Tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel.






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Financial Options for Veterans with Disabilities


Purchasing a wheelchair van or having your own vehicle modified for your disabilities is costly. To help our veterans and service members with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers financial assistance to purchase a new or used vehicle and/or have a vehicle adapted.

To purchase a vehicle

Service members and veterans may be eligible for a one-time payment of not more than $20,577.18 toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance if you have certain service-connected disabilities. The grant is paid directly to the seller of the automobile.

A veteran or service member must have one of the following disabilities to qualify:

  • loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both feet
  • loss, or permanent loss of use, of one or both hands, or
  • permanent impairment of vision in both eyes to a certain degree

You may only receive the vehicle grant once in your lifetime.

To have a vehicle adapted

The VA will also pay to have a vehicle adapted. Those qualified for the automobile grant, plus veterans or service members with ankylosis (immobility of the joint) of one or both knees or hips resulting from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated by active military service, may also qualify for the adaptive equipment grant, which may be paid more than once.

Adaptive equipment includes, but is not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person into and out of the vehicle. Contact your local VA medical center’s Prosthetic Dept. prior to purchasing any equipment.

Posted on March 22nd, 2018 on the NMEDA Blog
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Mobile Apps to Get You Moving

If you’ve ever gone on a local outing or vacation and attempted to navigate the streets in a wheelchair, you know how difficult it can be to conquer the terrain. From curbs to stairs, dips or sidewalks in disrepair, it’s hard to predict what your barriers may be. For that reason, two mobile apps have been developed to show you the best routes and rides all over the globe.

Navability: This app’s algorithms use the wheelchairs maneuverability, the environment (gradient, surface and obstacles) and the user’s ability to calculate the best route through the landscape. Navability selects paths to keep your travel within your ideal zone, which aims to preserve your physical energy or power chair battery life. Whatever path you choose, you can continually assess throughout the day how your travel is impacting you. Every Navability map and/or path reflects your travel ability and effort as a distinct color. That way, you always know how a path will affect you so you can make an informed decision where you will travel.


SafeTrip: Think Uber, only more accessible. Taxi cabs and apps like Uber aren’t equipped well enough to provide transportation with convenience and comfort for wheelchair users. SAFETRIP has bridged the gap with the world’s first healthcare transportation app. A perfect option for local trips, health checkups and prescription pickups, the SAFETRIP app provides convenient means of transport for those that are experiencing medical issues both short-term and long term. The emphasis at SAFETRIP is on comfortable and specialized travel for those with disability needs, and these previously unmet needs are now fulfilled with specialized EMS vehicles, wheelchair accessible vehicles, vans and premium cars that are accessible to app users for prescription pickup and delivery. All users are free to choose from Premium Cars, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, Large Vans, and Ambulances for emergency purposes.

So whether you plan to travel near or far, for fun or necessity – and you need a better way to get around – there’s an app for that.

Article originally posted on NMEDA’s site 01/19/2018
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Accessible Parking & Other Mobile Apps

You or your caregiver may have memorized the accessible parking spots at schools and grocery stores, but for the likes of airports or beach trips, finding accessible parking may be more of a challenge. Accessible parking is scarce enough as it is — use your phone as a compass to point you in the direction of your next parking spot. Here are three accessible parking mobile apps to help on the next outing or trip, whether that’s to the grocery store or to another country:

Find the Nearest Accessible Parking with Blue Badge Parking

Blue Badge Parking was originally created as a website that provided detailed disabled parking maps in a centralized, user-friendly database. Now, all of this information is available on your iOS and Android. Using a phone’s GPS, the app tracks the user’s location and identifies the nearest disabled parking space. If an area has incorrect or non-existent data, users can simply add or revise locations for other app users to find.

What makes this app stand out is that its users can easily search the locations of accessible spaces by address, zip code, or even landmark. After identifying the desired location, you are able to view the space in a few different ways: street-level view, map, and satellite views. This is especially helpful for double checking there’s enough space to enter and exit from a side-entry wheelchair accessible vehicle.

If you expect the GPS to be  spotty, you can prepare beforehand and print out screenshots of the map or directions to the spot.

Accessibility Improvements on Google Maps

Google has rolled out an update where anyone is able to edit the details of a location and add in accessibility details. This makes it possible to state whether or not a business location is actually wheelchair-accessible.

When you want to share accessibility information about a place or add details about many places quickly, follow these instructions:

  • open Google Maps,
  • open the main menu,
  • tap ‘Your contributions’
  • tap ‘Uncover missing info’ and sort by ‘Accessibility’

Doing so reveals places around you that are missing accessibility information. It’s up to the user to begin editing listings and add in new accessibility details. Google Maps offers four different accessibility descriptors to select from:

  • wheelchair-accessible entrances,
  • wheelchair-accessible elevators,
  • wheelchair-accessible seating,
  • And wheelchair-accessible parking.

If you’re unsure about how to accurate answer these questions, Google recommends reviewing this guide. Overall, it encourages everyone to be cognizant about accessibility in every place they visit.

Having this information more readily available should enhance any maps app that uses Google Maps technology. Caregivers and people with disabilities may also integrate directions with accessibility details as they move from location to location.

Use WheelMate to Find Accessible Restrooms

The WheelMate app’s mission is to design a free app to make finding clean, accessible restrooms and parking spaces easier and more convenient. This app uses a mobile device’s GPS location to search, identify, and easily navigate to accessible parking spaces. It’s incredibly useful for both emergencies and planned trips.

A special feature of Wheelmate is its ability for users to add, rate, and comment on not only parking spaces, but accessible restrooms as well. This rating system will help drivers make on-the-fly decisions when looking for parking spots.

Report Accessible Parking Spot Abuse

Parking Mobility is a free app on iOS and Android that enables people to report disabled parking abuse and improves accessibility within the community.

If you sees a vehicle parked in an accessible parking spot illegally, you simply launch the app and take the following photos:

  • a photo of the vehicle’s backside showing the make, model, and license plate,
  • a wider shot of the parking spot, showing that the vehicle is clearly parked there,
  • and one of the car’s windshield, proving that there’s no disabled parking tag.

Then, hit submit. The app sends this information to the city and they may even ticket the vehicle owner.

Additionally, this app allows the user to mark the location of accessible parking spaces anywhere in the world within 30 seconds. This means that other people with disabilities are able to easily find accessible parking, number of spaces, ramp access details and cost, if applicable.


Article was originally posted on VMI’s Blog 12/26/17
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Top 5 Tips To Buy the Best Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle for You


When deciding between wheelchair-accessible vehicles and lift options, choosing the best one is easier with the right tools. Whether you’re sticking to your favorite car brand or you’re willing to try something new, each option has its perks and there are a lot of steps before making a vehicle purchase. Here are a few tips to make the process easier and make a worthwhile decision.

1. Decide On Your Mobility Vehicle Needs
Buying a handicap-accessible van is a long-term solution, so it’s critical to think about the future as you make your decision. Functionality is the first step to explore. Depending on your preferences, you’ll need a different mobility product. Making a few key choices will narrow down options and ease the vehicle buying process in the long run. During this phase, it’s important to consider not only your current needs, but also your future needs. Ask yourself the following:

  • How many people will typically travel in your vehicle?
  • Will the primary driver be the caregiver or the wheelchair user?
  • Do you need extra room for height, weight, or a large power wheelchair?
  • Do you prefer a rear-entry vehicle or a side-entry vehicle?
  • Do you prefer a slide-out ramp or a fold-out ramp?

Once you have a solid idea of your must-have features, you can create a list of potential vans and shop with confidence.

2. Research Key Features
After creating a list of needs, it’s time to begin building a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles that fit your requirements. The best way to do that is by exploring the cars that have each of the features you need. Exploring the different conversion type and lift options should be the first place to start.

When comparing your options, take your time. Do your homework on each key feature and, if you can, list them in order of priority. Take what reviews, friends, and any bloggers or influencers have to say about the wheelchair accessible vehicle too — it can help narrow down your options early on.

For instance, try exploring the different wheelchair conversion types to further hone your choices. There are fold-out ramps and wheelchair lifts available. Depending on whether the primary driver will be a person with disabilities or their caregiver, an in-floor ramp may be of utmost priority. This will help you narrow down your options to include the Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Pacifica.

3. Take Notes On Your Vehicle Options
Take the time to explore more about the carmakers. Start with learning how a wheelchair conversion is built. Make the time to visit manufacturer websites, learn the benefits of each mobility product, and explore car reviews. Take the time to research the manufacturer, and closely examine the make and model of your vehicle choices.

This is also a good stage to prioritize your wheelchair accessible vehicles. Even if your favorite is a Chrysler Pacifica, it’s good to know that a Toyota Sienna is another option worth exploring at a dealership.

4. Assess Your Budget
Before you ever visit a dealership, there’s one last step to take: assess vehicle price ranges.

Check out nearby dealerships, and take the time to check out their vehicle inventory before making a trip. Even if you’ve decided on the make and model, looking at available inventory will help you decide between manufacturing years. For example, the difference between the Chrysler Pacifica 2017 and the Chrysler Pacifica 2012 base models will be extremely different.

Research financing options to help you make a vehicle purchase more affordable. Take a look at what kind of loan, promotions, insurance, and rebates are available through each manufacturer. For example, if you are a veteran who was injured in the line of duty, you may be eligible for service-connected benefits.

5. Trust Your Instincts
There’s nothing quite like exploring your car options in person. For many people, this is where the car buying journey begins and ends. For anyone that’s done their car buying homework, they’ll save a lot of time and money when entering a dealership for the first time. You’ll know the wheelchair accessible vehicle you’re looking for, and should be ready to take it for a test drive or request a demo. Simply fill out the request form and you can get some insight on seating, weight capacity, and other logistics.

This phase is the best time to bring caregivers, loved ones, or friends along for the ride — they’ll help you make the decision that’s right for you with their own instincts. After all, intuition is one of the most reliable tools in your arsenal at the dealership.

When in the car, simply trust your feelings. Take as long as you need and compare the vehicle to other cars on your list.

Purchasing a wheelchair-accessible van can be an exciting adventure that opens up a new world of mobility. Use these tips to make the process as productive and enjoyable as possible.


Originally Posted: 12/11/17 on VMI’s Blog
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