Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 13, 2020

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If you or someone you know is a disabled homeowner, you already know the value of adding home wheelchair ramps and home wheelchair lifts to make your life easier. The standard home insurance policy coverage is designed to repair or replace your home if it is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril regardless of whether the property is customized for a disabled person. However, if you have installed something like a home wheelchair ramp, you need to make sure they are included in the replacement cost of your home in the event of a loss. Confirm your home insurance policy coverage will include any special additions to your home before you buy a policy.

Home Insurance Policy Coverage and Limits

Home insurance policy coverage includes your real property and anything that is attached to your home, including any additions to accommodate a disability. There are coverage limits included in every policy that you need to know about, so be sure to read your policy carefully. To set the limit of your coverage, insurance companies use a replacement cost calculation based on information on the home (square footage, quality of construction, number of stories, type of roof, etc). This calculation determines a replacement cost for your home if it were to be totally destroyed. Any changes you have made to your home to accommodate your disability should be considered while determining the replacement cost. Make sure that any additions that you have added to your home, including home wheelchair lifts, permanently installed bath rails, permanently attached home wheelchair ramps, and any other devices are included in the replacement cost calculation of your home. Assist the agent or insurance company by explaining the installation cost of these items to ensure they tailor the replacement cost calculation of your home to include these items.

Get Your Features Included in Your Home Insurance Policy Coverage

There are several steps you should take to ensure your installed equipment is covered. Ask your agent about the following:

  • Does the insurance company have any home insurance riders that specifically address the coverage of home wheelchair lifts, wheelchair ramps or other equipment installed to help the disabled?
  • Make sure you ask for an inflation guard endorsement for your home. This will allow the replacement cost limit of your coverage to keep up with inflation. If you have installed your home wheelchair lifts or wheelchair ramps several years ago, the cost to replace such equipment has increased. With this endorsement, the replacement cost limit will tick up every year to keep up with inflation. Hopefully this will also allow you to keep up with the increased cost of replacing your equipment.
  • Keep all receipts for installation and equipment cost.
  • Keep the number of the specialty provider for your type of equipment handy. In case of claim, direct your adjuster or insurance company to them to get the actual cost of replacement.
  • Don’t be afraid to increase your coverage amount on your quote if you feel it is not enough. Increasing your coverage by $10,000 may only cost you $50 a year. It may give you that peace of mind in case of a large claim.

If you have had your home insured for a number of years with the same insurance company, this may be a good time to sit down with your agent and go over the replacement value of your home. Ask your agent for an annual insurance analysis review, especially if you have added a feature after you obtain your policy. If you have updated your home since obtaining the policy, the replacement cost might not adequately provide coverage in case of a major loss.