Ballpark Estimate: $1,000 to $2,000
When physical limitations make it difficult for you to move around, a mobility scooter may be the answer to help you to make up lost ground. Mobility scooters are small, electric vehicles that can take you from place to place even when you’re unable to walk long distances on your own two feet.
A Growing Trend
Relying on mobility scooters for transportation is a growing trend, allowing people with illnesses, disabilities, and injuries to maintain a reasonable level of activity without needing others to assist them.
Depending on your needs and the model you select, you can use a mobility scooter for a wide range of situations, including moving from room to room inside, traveling a short distance outdoors, or navigating long pathways through the grocery store or mall.
If you’re not familiar with the logistics of how a mobility scooter works, the concept is very similar to a wheelchair or golf cart. It has three or four wheels (depending on the model) and a handlebar that can be used to steer. That makes this a good option for people who are agile enough to get on and off the seat and are also strong enough to be able to hold on and to navigate their way around. Most mobility scooters are electric and have a rechargeable battery. (Note that some of the earlier scooter models used to run on gasoline, but now most are electrically powered.) Some of them can also go reasonably fast, coming in somewhere between 5 and 10 miles an hour.
There are many benefits to investing in a mobility scooter. For instance, it will enable you to travel over more challenging ground than you could in an electric wheelchair. Mobility scooters are also much sportier than most wheelchairs, making them quite fashionable and therefore providing a psychological advantage for people who don’t want to look like they are reliant on medical equipment to get around. In addition, mobility scooters will be easy for you to navigate, often circumventing the need for assistance from a nursing aid.
Types Of Mobility Scooters
Not all mobility scooters are the same. Therefore, how you plan to use yours will make a big difference in what kind you decide to buy. Do you need a lightweight model you can fold up and take in a car? Or perhaps you prefer a heavier mobility scooter that you can drive out on the road. A range of options exist that will meet these basic needs, as well as many others.
Most mobility scooters fall into the following three main categories:
Three-wheel Mobility Scooter
This is a good option for moving around indoors in tight quarters and can accommodate riders with longer legs.
Four-wheel Mobility Scooter
This is a sturdier option that is better for riding on roads and rougher terrain. It can also support heavier riders, as well.
Compact Mobility Scooter
This is a good mobility scooter if you plan to use it occasionally when you travel, as it’s lighter and can be easily stored in tight spaces in your home, as well quickly folded up or taken apart to fit in your car trunk.
What to Look For
When shopping for a mobility scooter, you’ll want to talk to an authorized dealer to help you find the best match. Some of the details that you’ll need to take into account when selecting a model include how often you’ll use the scooter, whether it will be driven indoors and/or out, where you plan to take it, the type of seat you prefer, and what size and quality tires you need. You’ll also need to determine whether you prefer front or rear wheel drive mobility scooter. Generally, smaller tires and front wheel drive mobility scooters are good for indoor use, while larger tires and rear wheel drive are appropriate for outdoor driving at higher speeds and on rougher ground.
Other features you can look for in a mobility scooter include head and tail lights if you plan to drive on the road, a basket to hold groceries and other items, padded arm rests, swivel seat, lumbar support, and an onboard charging option.
How to Find
Once you determine what types of expectations you have in a mobility scooter, you’ll want to look for reputable dealers in your area. If you have Medicare coverage and have a documented physical need for the mobility scooter that meets the plan’s requirements, 80 percent of the cost may be covered so you’ll want to go through an authorized shop to get the full benefit. To find mobility scooter dealers in your area, you can also do a search online or ask your doctor to direct you. Some of the popular brands on the market worth looking at include Hoveround, Golden Technologies, Invacare, Orbit Medical, Pride Mobility, Shop Rider, and Sunrise Medical.
Things to Ask
It’s a good idea to test drive any mobility scooter model you’re considering. You should also ask the dealer about what type of warranty and service plan comes with it, whether the vehicle comes already put together, and if service on the vehicle is done locally. Check to see if a loaner mobility scooter is available when your own scooter is out of commission, since this can make your life much easier.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on a mobility scooter can span a wide range, depending on what you desire. The most basic electric mobility scooters usually cost about $800 and can cost as much as $5,000 for higher end models. Indoor and three-wheel mobility scooters are usually on the lower end, while four-wheel and heavier scooters can be more expensive. That being said, you can probably find a good quality mobility scooter to meet your needs in at a price of $1,000 to $2,000.
Keep in mind that while a car requires fuel to drive, mobility scooters require only the electricity needed to recharge the battery, the operating costs are minimal. However, the batteries often need to be replaced every year or two, depending on how often you use it. A simple replacement battery for a mobility scooter costs about $100.
Buying a Pre-Owned Scooter
If you’re looking for a more economical option, you can also go for a pre-owned mobility scooter from a dealer, which can be about half the price of buying new. You can save even more money by purchasing directly from an individual through eBay, Craigslist, or other online sellers, where you can often find a used mobility scooter for as low a price as $100. Just keep in mind that if you buy from an individual, you probably won’t get a warranty and won’t know for sure how reliable the vehicle will be.
A new mobility scooter can cost from $800 to $5,000, with many costing $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the features you select. A used mobility scooter can be purchased for at least half the original cost.
Some people prefer to rent a mobility scooter instead of buying. This can be particularly convenient if you plan to travel and don’t want to have to bring your mobility scooter with you. Some of the larger chain car rental companies offer mobility scooter rentals by the day. Short-term rental mobility scooters cost about $20 to $50 a day.
Play It Safe
While mobility scooters can certainly make your life easier, it’s important to remember that they are a real vehicle and driving them carries some risk. Therefore, you’ll need to be able to handle the mobility scooter safely and responsibly. Although having vehicle insurance on a mobility scooter is not a requirement in most places, the experts recommend going this route for your peace of mind. This will ensure that you will be covered if you have any accident, injure anyone, or cause any property damage. This will also protect you in the event that your mobility scooter is stolen or damaged.
Note that some homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage for mobility scooters, so before you purchase a separate policy, you should always find out what is offered through your existing plan.