Frequently asked questions

How do I get a mobility scooter?

A mobility scooter is a great option if you’re disabled or struggle to walk but need to travel long distances. If you’re able to use one, they can make a huge difference to your quality of life and mobility. Unlike wheelchairs, though, mobility scooters are not available through the NHS. So how can you get one? 

Before you look at the funding options for mobility scooters, consider if you need one or if a manual or powered wheelchair may suit your needs better. There are different types of mobility scooters available, and your personal situation and needs will tell you which is best. This guide from Motability can help you choose the right mobility scooter. 

When it comes to funding, remember that a mobility scooter is more costly than a wheelchair - they can range from £400 to £5,000 depending on their type and size. Because they aren’t available on the NHS, the only options are buying or renting one yourself. Luckily, there are charities that can help with funding: Better Mobility has a list of organisations you can contact. ShopMobility UK’s nationwide network of centres hire out mobility equipment to the general public. Contact them to see what’s available in your local area.

Once you’ve decided on your scooter, there are a few extra things to think about:

  • Getting insurance for your mobility scooter
  • The rules around driving on the pavement or road
  • Any modifications your car needs to transport your mobility scooter
  • How you’ll store your mobility scooter
  • Charging and replacing the batteries on your mobility scooter  

Making sure you have confidence in the company supplying the mobility scooter. Their membership of The British Health Care Trades Association is a good indication that they’re a reputable company, as they sign up to their code of best practice.

What do I do if my wheelchair service cannot provide a wheelchair that suits my needs or that of my child?

If you or your child has specific needs, it’s even more important that you get the right wheelchair. Unfortunately, NHS wheelchair services do have a limited budget, and may not be able to provide a wheelchair that exactly matches your requirements. So what support is out there if you cannot get the right wheelchair? 

Firstly, we recommend that you get the support of a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or rehabilitation engineer either at the wheelchair service you use or the school or college your child attends. They can do an expert assessment so you can get a wheelchair that fully supports you or your child. The professional can also help with applying for additional funding from the local clinical commissioning group for your wheelchair if necessary. This is important as they will know your needs inside-out and can personally advocate for the changes a wheelchair will make to your quality of life.  

If local funding fails, we’d recommend looking at the Personal Wheelchair Budget, which offers funding based on your specific needs. You can also seek additional funding from the Access to Work scheme or local or national charities. Research charities that are specific to your condition or situation to improve your chances of your funding application being successful.  There are a few charities that can help with wheelchair funding for children, such as Whizz-Kidz or Variety. Often, loaning or renting a wheelchair can be more helpful for children as their personal needs may change as they grow. 

Do I need to insure my wheelchair?

There’s often a lot of confusion around wheelchair insurance. Is it something you really need, or can you go without it? Actually, there’s no requirement for your manual or powered wheelchair to be insured, but it’s something you should consider. 

If you’ve received your wheelchair from the NHS, you may not need insurance as the service is responsible for any repairs or maintenance costs. The NHS will also cover replacing your chair if your condition changes or your child grows out of their wheelchair. However, if you’ve purchased your wheelchair yourself, insurance can help reduce costs in the future. 

There are some instances where we would highly recommend getting insurance, for example if you have a powered wheelchair or if it’s a very specialised wheelchair, for example those used for sport. 

When you’ve decided to take out insurance for your wheelchair, it's worth taking some time to research a variety of different covers. Though most policies will cover third party claims if you accidentally bump into something or someone, every policy is different. Some of the mo