How long does it take to get a courtesy car?

How long does it take to get a courtesy car?

Pretty much every car insurance ad nowadays has some reference to getting a courtesy car as standard when you’re involved in an accident. But what is a courtesy car, and how can you get one?

Getting a courtesy car isn’t as much of a mystery as you might think. It’s actually pretty straightforward. We’ve put together this handy guide to break it down for you.

What is a courtesy car?

Simply enough, a courtesy car is a car given to you by a garage or repair centre to use whilst your car is being repaired. In most cases, your courtesy car will belong to the garage or repair centre that is fixing your car, and they’ll lend it to you on behalf of your insurance company.

How do I get a courtesy car?

So how do you actually get one? Well the first step, as with most cases that involve an insurance company, is to check your policy documentation before you take your car for repairs. A lot of fully comprehensive insurance policies cover a courtesy car, but it might be worth making sure before you turn up at the garage.

If you were involved in an accident, you may have to check who's responsible for getting you a courtesy car. Some insurance policies will cover you based on who was at fault in the accident, whilst others will cover you regardless.  

Chances are you’ll also need to go to a repair centre that is approved by your insurance company. Again it’s worth checking with your insurance company before you go to make sure. Getting a courtesy car also relies on the garage you use actually having one available. Don’t worry though, a quick call to a few places nearby and you should be able to find somewhere with a car available.

How long does it take to get a courtesy car?

In a lot of cases, you’ll be able to drive out with your courtesy car on the same day as you bring in your car for repairs. As long as the garage has a courtesy car available, it shouldn't take too long at all. It might be worth taking a copy of your insurance policy with you (and of course your driving licence), just in case.

How long can I keep a courtesy car?

Often you can keep a courtesy car for as long as the repairs on your car take to be completed. But, as always, you can check with your insurance company and the repair centre, as they may have a limit on the number of days you can keep it for. Some insurance companies have an unlimited time-frame, whilst others may give you 14 or 21 days before they ask for the car back.

What courtesy car will I get?

Most courtesy cars are something that a garage can keep on site easily and cheaply, without taking up too much space. Courtesy cars tend to be small, easy-to-run, 3-door hatchbacks so you’re unlikely to get an upgrade to your current car whilst it’s getting repaired. But, you should get something reliable to keep you on the road. If you need a like-for-like replacement, like if you use the car for work, it might be worth looking into hire car cover (we’ll explain that in more detail shortly).

If you’re wondering what kind of car you might need, and you’re not sure what your current car might be classified as, you can check out our blog ‘What is an estate car?’ to check.

Who can drive a courtesy car?

In most cases, anyone included on the insurance policy for the car being repaired can drive a courtesy car. The only stipulation is that (in most cases) you have to be 21 years old to drive a courtesy car. It’s always worth taking a look at your policy documents just to be sure.

If you’d like to learn more about insuring more than one driver on the same car, you can check out our blog ‘​​Can you insure a car you don’t own?’.

Are there any times I won’t get a courtesy car?

There are some cases where your insurance company (or the garage) will not be able to provide you with a courtesy car. You might want to look at your policy for these exceptions, as they can be a bit specific.

Insurance policies may not cover you for a courtesy car if your car is:

  • Stolen
  • Outside the geographic location covered by your insurance (aka you’re on holiday)
  • Originally produced for sale outside Europe
  • A classic car
  • A camper van
  • Written off (the repairs will cost more than the price of the car)
  • Repaired by an unapproved repairer
  • Having its windscreen repaired

If you’re wondering if your windscreen is due a repair, you can check out our blog ‘Can you drive with a cracked windscreen?’

You may also have some trouble getting a courtesy car if:

  • You are under 21
  • The garage doesn’t have any courtesy cars available

What is hire car cover?

Essentially hire car cover is when your courtesy car is provided by a hire company instead of a repair centre. Hire car cover is more suited to those who need to guarantee a certain type of car, like if you use your car for work.

It’s worth noting that hire car cover is much less common than normal courtesy car cover and can come with a few more exceptions and rules, like you may be able to keep your hire car for 28 days total, but you have to pay a hire cost after 10 days. You can always take a look at your policy documents and talk to your insurance company to see what your options are.

A few final tips...

So, you can get a courtesy car pretty easily and efficiently, here are the main points you don’t want to forget:

  • If you think your policy covers a courtesy car, make sure you go to an approved repair shop or garage
  • If the repair shop has a courtesy car available, you should be able to drive it away on the same day (you can always call ahead to make sure they have one)
  • You are likely to be able to keep a courtesy car for as long as your repairs take
  • The courtesy car you get will likely be small and reliable
  • In most cases, anyone on your insurance policy will be able drive your courtesy car, provided they are over 21
  • You probably won’t be able to get a courtesy car if your car was stolen or written off
  • If you need a specific car, you might want to look into hire car cover

Don’t forget to have a look at your insurance policy documents, or even call your insurance company to check if you can get a courtesy car. You never know what little extras you might be able to get, sometimes you just have to ask nicely. We’re not making any promises though, not every insurance company is as great as us.

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.