A stolen wheelchair is more than just an annoyance or inconvenience. As wheelchair users will know, they’re often custom made and cost thousands of dollars. Other than being a heartless crime, wheelchairs are often essential in helping people with disabilities to lead an independent lifestyle.

Though we hope it’s a situation that you never have to deal with, it’s worth considering how a stolen wheelchair might impact your day to day life. If you can’t imagine life without your wheelchair, consider implementing some anti-theft measures to keep it safe from opportunistic thieves.

Here’s how.

How many wheelchairs are stolen in Australia?

How likely are you to become a victim of a stolen wheelchair? We did some investigating, and although we couldn’t find any detailed facts and figures, we do know that wheelchair theft is far from unheard of. Lately, there has been a few stolen wheelchair incidents reported in the media.

Paralympic medalist Nathan Arkley has had to beg for his stolen wheelchair to be returned after it was taken from the front porch. And even wheelchair trailers have been stolen.

So, it seems that unscrupulous thieves won’t hesitate to take a wheelchair if the opportunity arises. To avoid the hassle and trauma of having to replace your wheelchair in the event of it being stolen, take some preventative steps.

How to protect your wheelchair from being stolen

Being aware and taking some extra precautions can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding stealing. Even when it comes to car theft, most incidents are a result of opportunistic thieves rather than planned operations.

Making these preventative measures your daily habits will go a long way towards keeping your wheelchair safe.

  • Never leave your wheelchair outside. Instead, keep it indoors or stored somewhere which is safe, locked, and preferably concealed. This will also prevent any damage from rain and the other elements as an added bonus.
  • Invest in a good bike lock. If you do have to leave your wheelchair somewhere, using a good quality bike lock can be enough of a deterrent to thieves. Don’t buy a cheap, easily breakable one. Use a sturdy lock like this and secure it to a heavy, stationary object.
  • Consider an anti-folding bar. If you need to leave your wheelchair somewhere, an anti-folding bar makes it nearly impossible for someone to walk away with or load a wheelchair into a car without attracting a lot of attention. Most thieves will likely just decide that it isn’t worth the hassle.
  • Label your wheelchair. A clearly labelled wheelchair is less likely to become a stolen wheelchair. This is simply because they’re easier to identify by police, and are harder to sell.

These tips should help make your wheelchair less of an easy target. But if you do find yourself the victim of a stolen wheelchair, what should you do about it?

empty manual wheelchair in room. Leaving a wheelchair alone like this increases the chance of it being stolen

What to do if your wheelchair is stolen

If your wheelchair has been stolen, it’s important that you notify the police and your insurance company as soon as you realise. Provide any and all information you have to both the authorities and the insurers.

You can also post on neighbourhood social media groups and other communication channels to let people know that your wheelchair is missing. Make sure to have a photo of it to include as well. You might even want to try calling your community newspaper to see if they’ll write a story.

If enough awareness is generated, the thief might abandon your wheelchair.

Wheelchair insurance to safeguard your finances

Wheelchair insurance won’t stop your wheelchair being stolen, but it could offer financial protection in the unfortunate event that it does happen.

At Blue Badge Insurance we offer insurance for your wheelchair, as well as mobility scooters. Why us? We’re disability insurance specialists who know how to provide appropriate cover. Find out how Blue Badge Insurance differs from traditional insurers here.

And if you’re a disability parking permit holder, you’re eligible for discounts of up to 25% on your premium.

Stolen wheelchair – over to you

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