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Courtesy car insurance

What is a courtesy car and does your insurance include courtesy car cover?

Sara Newell
Written by  Sara Newell
5 min read
Updated: 04 Mar 2024

A courtesy car can come in handy if your car is being repaired and if you need a courtesy car with your breakdown cover. Here’s how being insured to get a courtesy car can help you stay on the road.

Navigating the road ahead: understanding courtesy car cover

When the unexpected happens and your car needs to be taken in for repairs, the inconvenience can be significant. But there's a silver lining for many drivers: the courtesy car.

This temporary vehicle becomes a lifeline, allowing you to continue with your daily routine with minimal disruption. Let's explore the ins and outs of courtesy car cover and how it can keep you on the move.

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What is a courtesy car?

A courtesy car is more than just a temporary set of wheels, it's a convenience offered by garages or insurers that ensures you're not left stranded while your own car is out of commission.

Whether your vehicle is in the shop for a minor fix or significant repairs, a courtesy car allows you to maintain your mobility and carry on with life as usual.

Courtesy car eligibility and insurance coverage

If you have fully comprehensive car insurance, it’s more likely than not that a courtesy car will be included in your policy. However, it's not a guarantee, so it's essential to check your policy document to confirm whether you're covered.

For those with less inclusive policies, a courtesy car can often be added as an optional extra, though this will come with an additional fee.

If you don’t have fully comprehensive cover, or if a courtesy car isn’t included, you might be able to include it as an optional add-on. It’ll cost you a little extra – but it could save you the cost of hiring a temporary car if your vehicle needs to be repaired.

When you might not get a courtesy car

There are certain scenarios where a courtesy car may not be provided:

  • If your car is written off, you may not be eligible for a courtesy car

  • Similarly, if your car is stolen, the provision of a courtesy car is not always guaranteed

  • Minor damages, such as those limited to your car’s windscreen or windows, typically do not warrant a courtesy car

The courtesy car you'll receive

The type of courtesy car you'll get is usually at the discretion of the garage handling your repairs. In most cases, expect a small, basic model. However, some insurance policies promise a 'like for like' vehicle, ensuring minimal difference in the quality of your driving experience.

Insurance for driving a courtesy car

When it comes to insurance, most insurers will automatically cover anyone who’s included in your insurance to drive a courtesy car. So if you have named drivers, they should be insured too.

But if the courtesy car isn’t provided through your insurance, separate coverage may be necessary. You still need insurance to drive a courtesy car.

Luckily, if your courtesy car is included in your insurance, your insurer should automatically cover you to drive it. If you’re getting a courtesy car but it isn’t through your insurance, though, it’s essential to make sure you’re fully insured. Driving any car without insurance is illegal, so you might have to buy some extra cover.

Accidents in a courtesy car

It can happen. You're driving an unfamiliar vehicle, and the risk of an accident can increase. If you crash your courtesy car or it's damaged in an accident, and you have a fully comprehensive policy, you're in luck.

Your insurance will cover the damages, and you'll likely receive another courtesy car. Just remember that you'll still have to pay your excess for the repairs.

On the other hand, if you have third-party cover, the situation is more complex. You may only be able to claim a courtesy car if the other driver is at fault. If the accident was your fault, a courtesy car might only be available if you've added it to your insurance as an extra.

Monitoring with black boxes

Garages have a vested interest in ensuring their courtesy cars are treated well. To promote responsible driving, some may install black boxes in their vehicles. These telematics devices track how the car is driven, encouraging you to drive safely even in a car that isn't your own.

The cost of courtesy car cover

Adding courtesy car cover to your insurance can cost up to £50, but it's often included for free in many comprehensive policies. This addition can save you from hefty rental fees and provide peace of mind.

You shouldn’t have to pay more than £50 for courtesy car cover – and if your car’s in the garage for weeks or more, that could save you hundreds of pounds on renting a replacement.

Choosing the right courtesy car policy

When selecting a policy with courtesy car cover, consider the following:

  • The duration for which a courtesy car is available

  • Coverage in the event your car is stolen or written off

  • The possibility of receiving a 'like for like' vehicle

  • The requirement to use an approved garage for repairs

It’s always worth reading the policy document in full so you know exactly what you’re getting. A few questions to keep in mind include:

  • How long will I get to keep the courtesy car for? Is there a maximum number of days per year?

  • Will I get a courtesy car if my vehicle is stolen or written off?

  • Am I guaranteed to get a ‘like-for-like’ courtesy car – one that’s broadly similar to my normal car?

  • Will I have to get a courtesy car from an approved garage?

Courtesy car vs hire car cover

It's essential to distinguish between a courtesy car and hire car cover. A courtesy car is typically provided after a claim is accepted and for the duration of repairs at an approved garage.

In contrast, hire car cover is more comprehensive, offering a replacement vehicle throughout the repair process or even if your car is stolen or written off.

Getting a quote with courtesy car cover

With MoneySuperMarket, finding insurance that caters to your needs, including courtesy car cover, is straightforward. When you compare quotes, you can easily identify what's included in a policy, what's not, and what additional options are available to you.

Simply tell us a little about yourself and the car you want to insure, and we’ll put together a list of quotes tailored to your needs. You’ll even be able to filter your results to only show policies that include a courtesy car.

Driving is an integral part of many people's daily lives, and the disruption caused by car repairs can be more than just an inconvenience. Courtesy car cover offers a solution that keeps you mobile and reduces stress during unexpected vehicle downtime.

By understanding the terms, conditions, and benefits of such coverage, you can make informed decisions that ensure you're never left without wheels. Remember to compare policies and choose one that provides the right level of support for your driving needs.

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