Best Handicap Vans on the Market

Buying a handicap van is a big decision involving major research. Read on to get answers to questions & help choosing from the best handicap vans in 2021.

Purchasing a handicap accessible van is an important decision involving crucial research. The process might even feel overwhelming if this is your first time purchasing a handicap van. What questions do you ask? What types of features do you need and what features are even available?

Fortunately the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association and other accredited dealers associated with the Quality Assurance Program (QAP) are available to help you ask the right questions and make the best decisions. Who will utilize the handicap van and where will it travel? What is the combined weight of the person and his/her wheelchair? Read ahead for important information on choosing the best handicap vans in 2021.

How Handicap Vans Help Someone with Disabilities

Living with a disability does not necessarily also mean living without total independence. Whether you drive yourself or are driven to various locations, your handicap van is more than a vehicle. It is an essential aspect of daily living, which improves the quality of your life. Handicap vans offer lowered rear floors to make sitting in a wheelchair more comfortable. Ramps fold out from a side door or slide from under the chassis for convenient storage. Side and rear-entry ramps are also both available.

Certain disabilities allow you to maintain your ability to drive. The technology to install hand controls for drivers with limited range of motion has existed for decades. Mechanical, electronic and pneumatic hand controls are used to replace gas and brake pedals. Advances in technology make driving convenient and safe for even people with limited upper body strength and/or no use of their legs. A handicap van helps someone with disabilities regain some independence and have control over important aspects of his or her daily life.

Where to Find a Handicap Van

Purchasing and/or leasing a fully accessorized handicap van is possible through accredited mobility dealerships. Other vans have to be modified to become handicap accessible. Regular vans purchased for the purpose of handicap accessibility conversion are purchasable at regular van dealership across the nation. Converting a van into a handicap accessible vehicle is possible through authorized converter companies, which are also commonly certified accredited mobility dealerships.                                                                                                    

Leasing A Handicapped Van

Budget is always an important consideration when shopping for a handicap van. Leasing is a potentially affordable option. Leasing a vehicle is like leasing an apartment. You pay a down payment/deposit on the lease followed by a specified amount of monthly installment payments. Leases are typically financed through the same mobility dealers where purchasing options are also available, so what are the benefits of leasing a handicapped van?

Because you do not own the van you are leasing you are only required to pay for the months you use it. In this way leasing is cheaper than financing a purchased van. Often you get a current model (new) or recent outgoing model for a fraction of the price it would cost to buy one. Down payment amounts are also more manageable.

A leased van also provides warranty protection. Some limitations to leasing do exist, however. The amount of miles you are permitted to drive within the terms of the lease might be limited and driving over the allotted amount will cost extra money. You are also responsible for maintaining the van’s condition and might be responsible for costs of certain repairs/upkeep maintenance at the end of the lease. Still, leasing is a way to save money on a handicap van and get where you need to go on temporary basis. 

Starting Prices

Starting prices on handicap vans vary based on dealer, features added, model year and more. For example, a handicap accessible van starting MSRP might range from $40,000 to $100,000 or more. Pricing is structured in two ways. The base price of the van is combined with the expense of adding any modifications you want/need. Starting base prices on vans range from approximately $20,000 to $70,000 or more. Modifications to make the van handicap accessible cost approximately $15,000 to $30,000+. 

Financing Options

The benefits of purchasing a handicap van include owning it and the freedom to drive an unlimited number of miles with no financial penalties. A purchased van also builds equity similar to a purchased home, but unless you are capable of paying cash in full you will need to finance the vehicle. What are the best financing options for handicap vans in 2021? 

Financing is available through local, regional, and national mobility dealers similar to financing options for a regular vehicle. Because handicap vans are designed for U.S. residents with disabilities, however, additional financing options are also available. State and county agencies provide grant monies to help purchase handicap vans. Financing resources for disabled U.S. veterans are also available including a one-time grant funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Additional financing assistance options include:

Federal Rebate Programs (are there any to help with cost)

Federal rebate programs are available to help with the cost of purchasing a handicap van in 2021. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers disability tax benefits on specified wheelchair van, lift of other vehicle mobility product purchases for people with disabilities. IRS Publication 502 lists specific deductions for medical equipment including the cost of special hand controls and other equipment. Additional expenses related directly to your disability and applicable transportation (including mileage & depreciation) might also be tax deductible.

Safety Standards

Your handicap van is best when in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This guarantees your van meets necessary safety standards and protects you while in operation. Door height, restraints/tie-downs, wheelchair ramp & lift width and ramp slope are all standard van features, but are they ADA compliant? Some examples of ADA compliant safety standards include:

  • Interlock gearshifts.

  • 1:12 wheelchair ramp slope ratio,

  • 34-378-inch high ramp handrails.

  • 30+-inch wide wheelchair lift.

  • 56-inch high door.

  • Equipped with shoulder/lap belt and 4+ tie-downs.