Courtesy Car Insurance
Many insurance policies will come with courtesy car insurance cover. What this means is that if you’re involved in an incident, your insurance provider will loan you a car while yours is being fixed, so that you’re not left stranded. Nice, huh?
Yet not everyone is entitled to a courtesy car. So, let’s find out a bit about how car insurance and courtesy cars work so you’re not left disappointed…
In this guide:
- What is a courtesy car?
- Will I get a courtesy car if I have an accident?
- I have courtesy car insurance, but do I need to buy anything extra?
- How do I claim if I’m involved in an accident in my courtesy car?
- Can I fix my courtesy car without making a claim through an insurance company?
If you’re involved in a collision, rendering your car temporarily not drivable, then you may be eligible for a courtesy car while yours is getting repaired. Critically, however, courtesy car insurance doesn’t cover cases where your car is written off – it’s essentially loaning you a vehicle while yours is recovering at the auto hospital.
If your insurance company will cover you for a courtesy car, then you’ll only get a car of the same standard as your regular one - sorry all, no GTRs this time!
If you do qualify for a courtesy car, then there are lots of variables that make up your courtesy car experience, such as:
- what cars are available at the time (some providers have a “subject to availability clause”
- why your car needs repairing (who was at fault)
- how long you can have a courtesy car for (sometimes a maximum of 30 days)
- what garages/repair shops meet the standards required by your insurance company to repair your own vehicle
Our advice? Check your policy so you know what to expect.
Not all insurance policies come with courtesy car cover, so if you want a courtesy car then you may have to purchase additional cover as an add-on to your premium.
We recommend considering your need before you buy a policy. Factor in how detrimental it would be for you to be without a car and bear this in mind when you compare car insurance deals. If you’re someone who’s completely dependent on your vehicle (e.g. you don’t live on a public transport route), then you may want to consider courtesy car insurance options, as either included in your premium or as an optional extra.
If you have an accident and you’re the one at fault, then you’ll only get a courtesy car if it’s written in your policy. Alternatively, if someone else is responsible for the incident, then you’ll be able to claim against their policy, even if you don’t have courtesy car cover yourself.
Remember: it’s illegal to drive without insurance, even with a courtesy car, so if you’re unsure – check!
When you’ve got a courtesy car, whether you should purchase separate insurance for it depends on who has provided the vehicle. Usually, if it’s been sourced by your insurance company, you would be covered under the same terms as your regular policy – after all, you’re still paying your premium. Insurers will often have a pool of reputable lenders who they work alongside, with themselves acting as the go-between; they may also insist that your car gets fixed by an approved body rather than by someone you’ve sourced yourself.
If however, you’ve found a replacement vehicle yourself, then it may be a different story. The garage or leaser themselves may require you to buy extra insurance – after all, it’s their property, plus there could also be more stringent requirements from your insurance company.
If you need to make a claim while driving your courtesy car, then you’ll have the same level of cover as under your original policy. So, if you only have third party, fire and theft, you won’t suddenly have comprehensive cover in your courtesy car, and vice versa. It’s still issued under the umbrella of your own premium, and you can claim in the same way.
If you do find yourself involved in an incident and having to make a claim, then follow the same steps as you would if it was your own vehicle: exchange contact and insurance details and take photos. And then go have a big cup of tea to distract from your bad luck.
We understand that many drivers may be apprehensive to make a claim on their courtesy car, especially if the damage is easily repairable and something that might not ordinarily be done through insurance (for example, a minor scratch). A driver may want to arrange repairs themselves through a garage, but we advise caution with this for two reasons.
First, you need to return your courtesy car as soon as your own vehicle is repaired and being unable to produce the car when the time comes could result in some awkward conversations. Secondly, much like a hire car, your courtesy car will have been meticulously checked for grazes scrapes, damage etc, so you would need to be absolutely confident that it’s repaired to the same standard.
Remember, when it comes to insurance policies, honesty is always the best policy as any failure to disclose information could result in an invalidated insurance policy and hefty fines.