Legal Issues and Insurance for Mobility Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs
The Law on Scooters and Powered Wheelchairs
There are UK laws that cover the use of scooters and powered wheelchairs outdoors off private land. In law, these are still referred to as “invalid carriages”. The powered scooters and wheelchairs fit into two classes:
Drivers of both classes must be disabled, and at least 14 years old. Drivers of these do not need to hold a UK driving license.
Mobility Scooter Insurance
Insurance is not required by law for your mobility scooter, but it is a very recommended essential. At the very least, you should insurance yourself against claims from third parties.
Insurance will cover you if you knock someone over, run over a person’s foot, knock a display of expensive goods over, scrape a parked car, or cause an accident.
When looking for a policy, look for:
- Comprehensive cover, including loss or damage as a result of accidental damage, fire, theft and vandalism.
- Equipment replacement, new for old, so that if your equipment is stolen and not recovered, or damaged beyond reasonable repair, you can get a replacement, as long as the equipment is less than two years old.
- The option of a daily allowance to cover you if your equipment is unusuable following an insured event.
- Public liability cover for you or your carer to cover third party injury or damage by using your equipment.
- The opportunity to add cover for ongoing repairs, though the insurance cost may go up substantially if you add this
Costs vary between companies, but are usually between £40 and £90 per year, with the usual discounts for paying up front or in advance.
It is good practise to protect yourself from accidents by wearing a fluorescent waistcoat while driving your scooter outside, especially near or on roads. By hanging one on the back of your seat will increase your visibility to others, especially vehicle drivers.
Drive your scooter with care and attention, wearing your spectacles and hearing aid if you need them. Look out for small children, those with limited mobility and the visually impaired in pedestrian areas. Be considerate.
Always avoid leaving your equipment unattended, as equipment thefts do occur. If you do have to, ensure it has a key operated switch, and that you take it with you when you park up. Another way to secure your equipment is to use a cycle lock to secure it exactly as you would a bicycle. If you fail to do this, the insurers may not pay out for theft of vandalism, as they will claim you have not taken proper precautions to prevent an incident.
For further information on taking out insurance, please take a look at the mobility insurance section.