Courtesy car cover: Everything you need to know

Picture the scene – you’ve been in an accident and your car has to be taken away. You don’t know what you’re going to do! Fortunately, you have breakdown cover with a courtesy car as standard. 

Great news! However, as good as this is, it can lead to a whole host of other questions about your breakdown cover and your new courtesy car. If that’s you – don’t worry, this guide is here to help!

At Finance Rate, we believe that everyone deserves access to no-nonsense advice that is easy to follow, which is why all of our guides are free! We want to help you feel confident in your financial decisions.

What is a courtesy car?

A courtesy car is a replacement car you use whilst your car is in the garage for repairs. This temporary vehicle can be provided by the garage repairing your car or your Breakdown Cover provider.

If you are someone who relies on your car for your day-to-day activities, a courtesy car can allow your life to continue as normal, rather than coming to a complete stop.

Plus, you won’t have to rely on your loved ones or colleagues for lifts here, there, and everywhere! This can save you a lot of stress in an already stressful situation.

Will I automatically get a temporary vehicle if I break down?

Unfortunately, not all levels of breakdown cover offer courtesy cars within the insurance policy. Usually, it will come as standard in the ‘onward travel’ level of cover. 

However, if you opt for a different breakdown cover level, you may be able to add courtesy car cover as one of your optional extras. Although, this will more than likely come at an extra cost. 

If you do break down and have a courtesy car as part of your policy, you won’t receive your temporary vehicle until your repairs are authorised by the mechanic fixing your car. You will be able to keep it for as long as it takes to complete the repairs. 

Will I still get a courtesy car if I caused an accident?

We really hope you don’t find yourself in an accident situation, but if you do, you’ll more than likely still receive a courtesy car as part of your insurance policy, even if you are at fault. 

If you have a more basic level of breakdown cover that doesn’t include a courtesy car, you may still be entitled to a courtesy car – but only if the accident was not caused by you. Although, you will have to claim on the other driver’s insurance to get this.

If for some reason your car is unable to be repaired, you may have to return your temporary vehicle if your car is written off after it has been assessed. 

Of course, each insurance provider has different terms and conditions to their policies so be sure to read over your insurance documents before you sign anything.

Am I automatically insured in a courtesy car?

If your breakdown cover policy includes a courtesy car, then yes, your insurance should automatically transfer to your temporary vehicle. More often than not, this is at no extra cost, but always double check your policy details to be sure. 

If your breakdown cover does not include a temporary vehicle, there is always the option of arranging a deal with the garage fixing your car for a courtesy car whilst yours is being mended. 

Of course, if you do go through with this option, you will have to speak to your insurance provider to make sure you are actually insured on the temporary vehicle. 

Sometimes, you can get courtesy car cover specifically for these situations. 

Are my named drivers covered to drive my temporary car?

If your current insurance policy includes named drivers, these people should automatically be insured to drive your replacement vehicle. Usually, this will come at no additional cost, however, it is always best to look over the policy documents to be sure. 

If you take out a separate courtesy car cover, you will more than likely have to re-add your named drivers, which could come at an extra cost. Therefore, it may be best to weigh up how many people you want as named drivers, how much it will cost, and then see if it is worth the additional money for something temporary. 

Do I get to choose my courtesy car?

Most of the time, you will not be able to decide what type of courtesy car you get. This is typically chosen by the garage that is repairing your car. Although, if they have a number of cars available, you may be able to pick which one you like best. 

If you are someone who is used to flashy cars with all the mod-cons, you should lower your expectations for your courtesy car. Usually, they will be small and modest cars that ‘do the job’ whilst yours is being repaired. 

Saying that, if you have a larger car because you have more people to seat, you may be entitled to a ‘like for like’ car, meaning you could be offered a temporary vehicle that has a similar seating capacity.

What happens if I break down in a courtesy car?

Usually, courtesy cars are quite new so their potential for breaking down is very slim. However, if you find yourself in this situation, you should react the same way you would if you broke down in your regular car. If you have courtesy car insurance, call the relevant people – the garage or insurance provider that gave you the temporary car.

If you don’t have this cover, call up a nearby garage to get help. Of course, if you need to, you should call the emergency services first.

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