What Should I know About Renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van?
Canada Day typically marks the first official day of summer vacation season. From trips up to the lake or across the country to see family, the next nine weeks will be very busy for most people. Getting out and getting around is critical to enjoy all that summer has to offer. Renting a wheelchair van offers a great option to explore and to have the freedom provided by a standard vehicle. But before going and renting a van, there are three important things to know. Knowing these three things will save you money, time and effort.
#1 – Know how you are planning on using the vehicle
When renting a wheelchair van it is important to know who will be driving the van. With both side and rear entry options available for rent, you want to make sure you have the right type of van booked for your trip. Nothing spells disaster faster than not being able to drive the vehicle you need for your vacation. I covered this topic in another blog post (9 Questions to Help You Decide On The Right Wheelchair Van.)
The next thing to consider is how many passengers need to fit into the van. Most of the time, a standard converted minivan will hold everyone who needs to come along but there may be times when you need more seats. For example, at MoveMobility we have both rear and side entry vans available. Our standard rear entry conversion can hold up to four people including driver plus the wheelchair. The side entry conversion we offer can hold up to five people plus wheelchair. It is also important to make sure the van has enough room in it to allow the wheelchair to manoeuvre. One other thing to consider with the entry method is where are you planning on parking. Side entries are great if you are planning on sitting in the front seat area if you are in the wheelchair, however, parking can be a challenge.
In both side and rear entry vans, the cargo area is compromised because of the conversions. Make sure to plan accordingly with the amount of luggage, coolers, and pets you plan on taking along.
Lastly, how many wheelchair passengers do you need to carry in the van? Most rentals are setup to handle one wheelchair but there may be opportunity to have more depending on the conversion.
#2 – Know where you’re going on your vacation
Renting a wheelchair van is no different than renting a standard vehicle from a regular
rental company. It is important to know your insurance options and the liabilities you take on when renting a vehicle. Most rental companies will hold the renter accountable for any costs associated if for some reason a vehicle cannot be driven. The easiest way to avoid these charges is through insurance. Several options exist. Some people have coverage through their credit cards, options are most likely available through your insurance company and the wheelchair van rental company will usually have their own version of insurance as well. It is important to know the differences between the insurance plans and what you are responsible for. This way, if in the event something happens to the wheelchair van rental, you know ahead of time any costs you may be charged.
Depending on where you are renting from, it is good to know how over the border travel works. Each company works differently and may have certain rules for over the border travel. At MoveMobility for example, you are fully covered to take the van over the border and into the US. This is great for you, as it allows you to go where you want on vacation. However, it is important to know how many kilometres you will be travelling ahead of time. Some wheelchair van rental companies will only allow you to drive a certain number of kilometres each day and will charge you for extra kilometres if you go over.
#3 – Know your D’s – Dates and Drivers
Summer can get quite busy for rentals here at MoveMobility. The sooner you know your dates, the better. Rentals book up quickly so it’s important to try to book early. As well, since it is a rental, the drop off date may not be able to change if someone else is waiting for the vehicle. Something to be aware of is the company’s rental policy. Some companies will charge you a cancellation fee if you cancel too close to the dates the van was supposed to be rented. Lastly, for insurance purposes and for the wheelchair van rental company, you need to know who all the drivers are ahead of time. Sometimes, you have to pay extra for additional drivers.
Renting a wheelchair van can add a lot of fun and freedom to your summer. With a little planning and research, you can find a rental solution that will work best for you and your family.
Do you need a wheelchair van to help make your vacation easier?