If you are looking to buy a new or used handicap van or wish to convert an existing vehicle, it's important to understand the available features and the requirements. Given the wide range of needs that different members of the public have, you may be surprised how closely a stock solution might fit your situation. When looking at handicap vans, these five tips can guide you through the process.
Most Major Manufacturers Make Vans
Automotive makers almost all have divisions that provide vehicles for individuals who have disabilities. Most utilize specific models that handle heavy loads, such as using their main transit or cargo van design as a starting point for accessible vehicles. This is because they need to accommodate the added weight of systems like lifts, and they'll also frequently be asked to haul around items like wheelchairs.
Medicare does not deem handicap vans to be medical necessities. There's a slim chance that if you have a Medicare Part C plan through a private insurer that they might pick up some of the cost, but you should discuss this well in advance of committing to anything. For tax purposes, you cannot take the full value of a van as a medical expense. You are, however, allowed to take the difference between the regular version of the vehicle and the one you purchased as a deduction.
New models of handicap vans range between $50,000 and $85,000, depending upon the manufacturer and how they're outfitted. Vehicles that have been in use for two to three years and have around 30,000 to 50,000 miles on them go for about $35,000 to $40,000. Older ones with lower miles may be cheaper.
The cost of a conversion depends heavily on the customer's needs. If you're looking to convert a regular van, a larger vehicle like a Chrysler Pacific, Ford Explorer or Toyota Sienna, is likely to deliver the best experience. In most cases, a conversion just to provide wheelchair access will cost a total of between $10,000 and $20,000, particularly if you want the ability to drive it yourself. That does not include the purchase price of the van itself.
It's a good idea to find a nearby company that performs maintenance specifically on vehicles for folks who have mobility needs. Even if you don't need to have work done, show them your vehicle and ask about costs.
Contact a company like Lone Star Handicap Vans for more information and assistance.