We’re here to help you with your transport needs after your accident. To increase your independence and mobility and allow you to better access the community, we can pay for changes or modifications to your vehicle so you can drive again.
We can also pay a reasonable contribution towards the purchase cost of buying a vehicle in Australia if you do not have a vehicle or one that is suitable for modification, and you need one due to your accident-related injuries.
You need written approval from the TAC before discussing vehicle modifications or contributions with an occupational therapist.
Preparing to drive
- Your treating team will determine whether you are ready to participate in an occupational therapy driving assessment.
- A member of your treatment team may also recommend that you take part in a driving program to help with any physical, psychological or cognitive injuries that could stop you from driving.
- Your treating health practitioner will need to provide us with a medical clearance confirming that you can safely drive the modified vehicle and that the modifications to your vehicle match your licence conditions.
- Your treatment professional will need to submit a copy of the completed VicRoads forms:
About vehicle modifications
Vehicle modifications may be needed to help you to get in and out of your vehicle, drive, load mobility aids or travel as a passenger safely while someone else drives.
The vehicle may require minor or major changes:
- Minor changes include non-permanent equipment or accessories that can be installed and removed from a vehicle (for example, hand controls and loading devices).
- Major changes include structural changes and permanent adaptations to a vehicle (for example, changes to body of vehicle and wheelchair accessible conversion).
Contributing to the purchase cost of a vehicle
We can pay a reasonable contribution towards the purchase of a suitable second-hand or new vehicle if:
- You have difficulty or are unable to get in and out of your vehicle
- You do not have a vehicle that is suitable for modifications
- You are unable to use or access other transport options, such as being driven by a family member in their vehicle or using taxis or public transport
- You need a vehicle because of your significant accident-related injuries.
We will work with your treating team, occupational therapist and/or automotive engineer who will assess your vehicle and recommend the most suitable transport or vehicle solution to meet your injury-related needs. Your occupational therapist will need to outline why any existing vehicle you have access to can’t be modified before we can consider contribution to the purchase cost of a vehicle.
For example, if you can safely get into your vehicle as either a passenger or driver with the use of adaptive equipment or modifications, we may not consider it a reasonable expense to contribute towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
We will choose a suitable vehicle for modification or purchase-cost contribution based on:
- Your transport and injury related needs
- Your occupational therapist’s assessments
- The results of an independent medical examination if needed
- The information provided by your treating health team.
How we approve these services
We pay for your services in line with our responsibilities under the Transport Accident Act 1986.
In determining the funding approval, we can pay for driver rehabilitation programs or vehicle modifications or contribute an amount towards the purchase cost of a vehicle capable of being modified.
When making a decision we will take into account:
- Whether the vehicle modification is related to your transport accident injuries
- The occupational therapy assessment of your community access and transport needs, which may include prescription of equipment or modifications to your vehicle
- Whether the request is clinically justified by the occupational therapist as safe and effective
- The modification recommendations in your vehicle modifications assessment completed by the occupational therapist in consultation with an automotive engineer if required
- The goals and outcomes you wish to achieve (for example, accessing the community for social or work participation)
- Any additional assessments completed (for example, an independent medical assessor confirming that the vehicle modifications are appropriate).
What we will pay
We pay the reasonable cost of minor vehicle adaptations, equipment and major modifications, including supply, delivery and installation, related to your transport accident injuries. We view the reasonable cost of items as being the recommended retail price.
If we agree to contribute to the purchase cost of buying a vehicle suitable for modification, we consider the following criteria to determine how much we can pay:
- the market value now of the motor vehicle used by you at the time of the accident
- if that vehicle is no longer used by you, the market value of the vehicle at the time of the accident
- whether you, or in the case of a minor (his or her parent or guardian), owned, leased or rented the vehicle
- how often you were using motor vehicle at the time of the accident
- how often you will, or are likely to, use a motor vehicle in future
- the market value of any other motor vehicle you use
If the vehicle you used at the time of your accident was more than 4 years old, the amount we will contribute will be equivalent to the purchase cost of a 4-year-old vehicle.
If the vehicle you used was less than 4 years old, the amount we will contribute will be equivalent to the purchase cost of a vehicle of the equivalent age.
If your car is too old to be modified and the car you planned to replace it with is not suitable for major changes, we can pay the difference between the cost of the car you planned to buy and a suitable vehicle based on your accident injury needs, selected by us.
For example: Cost of the TAC-selected vehicle (a) minus the market value of your current/written off vehicle (b) equals the TAC contribution (c).
Subsequent vehicle modifications
If you have already received modifications or a contribution to a vehicle modification, we can only pay for modifications to a subsequent vehicle if:
- The modifications are required due to changes on your accident injury needs, such as significant changes to your vehicle access or mobility requirements, accessing services in the community or return to work.
- The modifications or vehicle adaptations are broken, unable to be repaired and require replacement.
- The modifications or vehicle adaptations no longer meet regulatory compliance such as safety or design standards.
We can only pay for changes to more than one vehicle at the same time if the changes are minor or adaptive, and the vehicle will be used to help you access services in the community or return to work.
We can only pay for major vehicle modifications to one vehicle at the same time. For example, we cannot pay for a second wheelchair-accessible vehicle if you already have one that is suitable for your needs.
We can contribute a reasonable amount towards the increased costs of insurance because of the modifications to your vehicle.
Subsequent vehicle contribution
If you have already received a contribution towards a vehicle, we can only pay for a contribution to a subsequent vehicle if:
- A different vehicle is required due to changes in your accident injury needs, such as significant changes to your capacity to access a vehicle, changes to your mobility and/or equipment requirements which impacts on your ability to access services in the community or return to work.
- The current vehicle has major structural modifications (for example, a lowered floor for wheelchair access), that are broken; unable to be repaired or modified, and require replacement.
If you have a vehicle with major structural modifications that does not require replacement due to changes to your capacity (criteria 1) or issues with the current major structural modifications (criteria 2), we can also consider assessing your vehicle for replacement if:
- You have owned the vehicle for more than 7 years.
- The vehicle has a 3 star or lower driver protection rating according to the Used Car Safety Rating annual report from Monash University Accident Research Centre.
If the criteria above do not apply and you would like to self-fund an upgrade to a newer vehicle of the same type, please contact the TAC to consider funding towards the vehicle modifications only.
If the modifications and our contribution towards the purchase cost of buying a vehicle is more than $10,000, you will need to enter into a contractual agreement with us, called a Vehicle Modification Agreement. This agreement establishes our respective responsibilities for ownership of the vehicle or modified items and associated ongoing costs, such as vehicle maintenance, vehicle insurance and registration. We will let you know if this is required.
If a vehicle has had major modifications, then you will need to get the appropriate approvals and certificates.
Paying for these services
We pay for your modifications:
- Directly to your provider, when you have provided them with your TAC claim number, or
- By repayment to you, when you have already paid your provider and you send us a copy of the receipt, or
- Directly to your provider or supplier in line with the Vehicle Modifications Agreement if this was required.
We expect you to use any equipment items and modifications that we pay for with reasonable care and for their intended purpose.
What we won’t pay for
You are responsible for the ongoing vehicle running costs and making sure that the vehicle is in safe, roadworthy condition, registered and comprehensively insured. If a higher insurance premium is issued because of the modifications, we can repay the difference between your quote for the modified vehicle and what it would cost to insure an unmodified vehicle.
We can’t pay for repairs that form part of the adaptive equipment supplier's or vehicle modifier's warranty or any loss or damage that does not arise from normal wear and tear to the adaptive equipment or modification.
You should contact your comprehensive vehicle insurer for any loss, theft, or damage claim.
We can’t pay the full cost of a new or replacement vehicle for you.
We can’t pay an amount towards the cost of replacing a vehicle that has minor modifications, as this is considered a normal expense that you would need to pay regardless of your transport accident.
We can’t pay an amount towards the cost of replacing a vehicle that has major modifications, for reasons such as a desire to upgrade, preference for different features, or additional seating to accommodate changed family circumstances, as these are considered an ordinary expense that you would need to pay regardless of your transport accident.