Tips for Funding a Handicap Van

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s often harder for people in wheelchairs to get a loan for a handicap accessible van than it is for a standard automobile. An accessible van contains a conversion that typically includes a ramp, a wheelchair-restraint system and enough space in the cabin to accommodate not only the wheelchair user, but other passengers as well.

Prices, especially for new handicap vans, can be pretty steep but, for many people with a disability, even the far-lower price of a used handicap accessible van may be out of reach financially. You’ll be happy to know there are financing options available and, though the process may take a little longer, it’s worth it. You just have to take the time to explore the possibilities, which include loans, grants, mobility rebates, leasing, and fundraisers. Here are tips for funding a handicap van to help you navigate the process:

Practice Patience

As frustrating as it may be, loan and grant providers work in their own time frame, and they’re dealing with thousands of requests just like yours. Needless to say, it might be counterproductive to express your irritation to them as you make your way through the process. Expect progress to be slower than you’d like, and be thrilled when it takes less time than you anticipate.

Do Your Research First

Before approaching a bank, loan institution, grant provider or Medicare, be prepared. You’ll be facing a significant amount of paperwork; you’ll find the forms much simpler and faster to complete if you have complete information at hand.

The primary reason people in wheelchairs don’t have ready transportation is because they can’t afford it. The avenues for funding can help you IF you approach them with a plan that’s well reasoned. What features will you require in a van? Will you drive or be a passenger? Do you want a new or used van? Will you buy from a dealership or online? What’s the price for the vehicle you believe will work best for you?

All these questions can be answered easily with online research. Take a look at the base vehicles available (Honda Odyssey? Volkswagen Routan? Chrysler Town & Country?)  A number of van and minivan models can be easily modified by a professional handicap van conversion company. Check into conversion styles. Some conversions offer a power lift, others provide a power or manual fold-out ramp, while others feature a motorized in-floor ramp. Some vans have “kneeling” capability.  Explore all the features of handicap vans for sale (for example, will a side-entry van be better for you than a rear-entry design?) to determine the best style and price for you and your family.

Most importantly, pay attention to prices. New handicap vans are nice, but if you buy a used handicap accessible van, you’ll be paying a good deal less—which makes it a good deal all the way around!

There are two essential costs for handicap vehicles—the base price of the vehicle itself and the cost for the modifications to make the vehicle accessible for your wheelchair or mobility scooter. Some people purchase the van first and then choose a conversion company to make the modifications, which typically requires two loans. Others buy the vehicle already equipped with a conversion. Making all these determinations at the beginning can save you time, money, and might even make the process go a bit faster.