Depending on the kind of hand controls you want, most modifications of this sort cost between $1,000 to $12,000. Read on to see how much does it cost to put hand controls in a car in different cases and how you can go about doing it.
Hand Controls in a Car – A Boon for People With Disability
There are millions of people living in this country with some form of disability. Many of these disabilities will affect a person’s ability to drive in a conventional way, and so their vehicles need to modified to become accessible for them to be able to drive.
For drivers who cannot operate a vehicle using their feet (like almost all drivers do), installing hand controls can be an excellent option to be able to maintain their independence and be able to drive their car.
Some people believe that modifying their car is basically like buying a brand new car because it’s so expensive and they cannot it.
More so, when many people in this position are often also handling medical expenses so they really don’t have the extra funds for making this happen.
Vehicle hand controls can come in a variety of options, and costs. Which means that they can be affordable to most people. There is also the option of Medicare coverage to defray a large part of your expenses of installing hand controls in your car.
Hand controls are almost always customized to make sure they work for the person who needs them. The kind of hand controls a person needs will largely depend on their disability.
Types of Hand Controls Available
Before trying to estimate how much it’s going to cost to modify your vehicle, it’s important to understand that there are a variety of options to make driving accessible for almost everyone.
Some hand controls are as simple as a device to make using the steering wheel easier while other options are more high-tech and involve much more for installing and operating.
The kinds of hand controls you can have installed in your vehicle may include
- Brake levers
- Under-wheel accelerators
- Steering wheel extensions
- Push/pull accelerator/brake options
- Trigger operated accelerator/brake devices
- Steering-wheel mounted steering ball
Who Uses Hand Controls in a Car?
Typically hand controls are used by individuals who have either had one or both legs amputated, or have lost the use of their legs. They use the hand controls in place of using their legs and feet to fully operate a vehicle.
What Kinds of Vehicles Can Have Hand Controls Added to Them?
The good news for anyone who needs to have hand controls added to their vehicle is that they can be retrofitted to almost any vehicle out there, so you don’t need to purchase a brand new vehicle at all.
You can use your current vehicle to have these changes made.
However, it is important to keep in mind that some of these changes will make driving your vehicle using the pedals impossible. So anyone who needs to drive your vehicle (like a spouse, unless you have two vehicles) may have to also learn how to operate the vehicle using hand controls.
How Much Does It Cost to Have These Controls Added to Your Car?
It is hard to say exactly how much it will cost to have these hand controls retrofitted to your vehicle, for a few reasons. Each person’s needs will be dependent on their disability and what kind of control they would have for operating a vehicle.
If you need a simple device like a steering wheel extension or a steering wheel-mounted steering ball, it can cost as little as $50 to buy it and have it installed.
Now for more complicated or advanced needs, there are a few options. For most push/pull devices for accelerating and braking, you will be looking at anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000 for purchasing in installation.
In other cases, the more high-end digital accelerators can cost you up to $12,000 to have them put in your vehicle.
Now that being said, there could be a chance you need to upgrade your vehicle.
If you previously had a small vehicle and you need to have it fitted to accommodate a wheelchair lift to get into the driver’s seat then it might not be possible with the vehicle you currently have.
How Do You Know Which Hand Controls You Will Need to Drive?
Before any controls are purchased or installed, every person who is looking to have their vehicle modified will have to go through an assessment.
During this assessment, a trained professional will review your current driving abilities and where you might need a little more help.
You will first have to do a physical assessment with a professional to make sure your cognitive abilities are there and your reaction time is sufficient.
After that, they will ask you to do a driving road test to determine what kind of assistive devices can help you and will be right for you.
Does Medicare Pay For These Modifications for Your Vehicle?
If these modifications are deemed necessary by your physician then you may be able to get some of the costs covered by Medicare.
This isn’t to say that you will get the entire cost covered, so be prepared for paying some of the bill (even just the deductible) for having these hand controls installed.
In order to get the modifications covered by Medicare, you will need to make sure you are going through Medicare-approved companies to purchase from and have them install the devices.
You will also likely need to make sure you are covered for the work before any work begins on your vehicle.
If you are received Medicare benefits and want to explore if your benefits will cover these modifications, you can reach out to your Medicare contact and start the process for the assessment.
The coverage for these modifications may also be dependent on your income and the amount you can afford to pay on your own, so don’t be surprised if Medicare requires a little more in-depth review of your finances and your need for the hand controls.
Do You Qualify for a Disabled Parking Permit if You Have Hand Controls?
Typically, when a person needs hand controls for operating their vehicle it’s because they are unable to drive in a conventional way and cannot use their legs or feet which means they will have some mobility issues, too.
Knowing that, if they are going to be out somewhere they will need accessible parking to make it easier to get in and out of their vehicle.
If you use hand controls because you have a disability that prevents you from driving using pedals then you will qualify for a disabled parking permit.
How Do You Qualify for a Disabled Parking Permit?
If you have never had a disabled parking permit before, you may not know how to go about applying for one. The conditions for qualifying for a disabled parking permit are
- Any person who cannot walk 200 ft without needing to stop or rest
- Any person who cannot walk without using an aid like a crutch, cane, prosthetic device or wheelchair
How Do You Get a Disabled Parking Permit?
If you physically qualify for a disabled parking permit and want to start the process to get one it’s pretty easy to do so.
The quickest way to get the process going is probably to schedule an online or virtual consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap.
This service gives you access to a medical professional who can verify your disability and fill out the necessary areas of the disabled parking permit application form.
From there, once the form is completed, you can submit the form to your local DMV for getting your disabled parking permit.
Hand Controls in a Car – Final Thoughts
Having hand controls installed on your vehicle can be an expensive venture, and that can be overwhelming when you already have medical bills and other financial obligations you need to take care of.
Many times those who need the hand controls installed on their vehicles it’s because they are just recovering from an accident or illness that has drastically impacted their life.
You have a number of options when it comes to which hand controls are installed on your vehicle, and a trained professional will assess your abilities to determine what kind of controls would work best for you.
From there, you will also get training on how to drive with your new hand controls. The amount of training you do will vary, for some people it’s around 10 hours and for others it’s significantly more.
It might also take a little bit of time to get used to driving with hand controls as it is a very different way of operating a vehicle.
Working with professionals will give you access to ask the questions you need to and receive training so you feel safe when you’re out on the road with other drivers.
If you have a spouse who also drives, and you don’t have a secondary vehicle, they may need to learn how to drive your vehicle with the adjustments as well – depending on the modifications you have made.
Here has been so many developments and advancements in hand controls that it’s making driving so much more accessible to people who have lost their legs or physically cannot use them anymore.
If you think you may qualify for hand controls in your vehicle so you can continue to drive, you can start by talking to your doctor to start the process.
They will be able to refer you to an assessment center so that you can speak to someone who will be able to get your medical need for hand controls documented.