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Courtesy car insurance cover

If you depend on your car to get around, then courtesy car insurance offers peace of mind that you’ll get a replacement vehicle if yours is being repaired. Here’s what you need to know about it.

If you depend on your car to get around, then courtesy car insurance offers peace of mind that you’ll get a replacement vehicle if yours is being repaired. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance expert
Last Updated
21 FEBRUARY 2023
4 min read
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What is a courtesy car? 

A courtesy car is a replacement vehicle provided by your insurance provider or garage while your car is being repaired. It can be a lifesaver if you depend on your car to get around.

What kind of courtesy car will I get?

Many courtesy cars tend to be small, one-litre, three-door models like a Ford Ka, Kia Picanto or Nissan Micra. You’ll sometimes see these referred to as ‘Class A courtesy cars’. If it’s important to you to have a courtesy car that’s similar to your own, for example if you need a larger car to accommodate all your family, you should look for courtesy car insurance that includes ‘like for like’ cover.

How does courtesy car insurance work?

You’ll typically get a courtesy car if your vehicle is damaged in an accident and needs to go into a garage for repairs. In most cases, you’ll still receive a courtesy car even if the accident was your fault.

If your car insurance doesn’t include courtesy car cover but your car is damaged in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to claim for a courtesy car on the other driver’s insurance.

Be aware that if your car can’t be repaired, it may not be covered by courtesy car insurance. That means you may have to return the courtesy car that was given to you if your car is written off after being assessed.

It’s also important to know that not all insurance providers will give you a courtesy car if yours is stolen (although some will). If your policy won’t, you can look into getting hire car cover or add a replacement car extension to your policy. That way, you’ll have access to a rental car if yours is stolen or written off.

Terms and conditions vary among policies, so it’s important to read the policy details carefully to make sure you know exactly what’s included and what’s not.

Does my car insurance include a courtesy car?

That depends on your policy. Some insurance policies feature courtesy car cover as standard. On others, it’s available as an optional add-on. However, you’re more likely to have cover if your policy is fully comprehensive

Third-party, or third-party, fire and theft insurance doesn’t usually cover courtesy cars. But again, it depends on your policy – some might do, so it’s always worth checking.

Am I insured to drive a courtesy car?

If a courtesy car is included in your car insurance policy you should be automatically insured to drive it, along with any named drivers included on your policy, typically at no extra cost. Always check the terms of your policy to be sure.

If your insurance doesn’t cover a replacement vehicle, you may be able to negotiate use of a courtesy car directly with the garage handling your car repairs. In this case, it’s vital that you speak to your insurance provider to make sure you’re properly insured. They should be able to set you up with temporary courtesy car insurance to keep you covered and on the right side of the law.

What do I need to know about getting a courtesy car? 

Some insurance providers will only give you a courtesy car with certain conditions attached. These might include: 

  • Getting your car repaired at one of their approved repair centres.
  • A ‘subject to availability’ clause in your policy. That means you won’t get a courtesy car if there isn’t one available.
  • Excluding certain vehicles from cover, such as classic cars or camper vans.
  • Expecting you to return your courtesy car with the same amount of fuel as when you were provided with it.
  • A small courtesy car that’s cheap to run, as opposed to a like-for-like replacement for your own car.

What happens if I have an accident in a courtesy car?

It’s possible you’re at greater risk of an accident in a courtesy car – after all, you’re driving a vehicle you’re not used to.

The good news is, if a courtesy car is included in your car insurance, you’ll normally be covered in the same way as when you’re driving your own car. That means you should only have to pay the car insurance excess to get the courtesy car repaired. And you may well be entitled to another courtesy car while the other is in the garage.

If you’re injured in an accident that’s not your fault while in a courtesy car and you have personal accident cover included in your car insurance, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Otherwise, there are solicitors who’ll help you make an independent compensation claim.

Is it worth paying extra for courtesy car cover? 

Whether it’s worth paying for extra cover depends on your personal circumstances and how much you need your car. Do you use it to commute to work? To shop for your family? Or to ferry the kids around to after-school activities? Would you be able to manage for a few days without your car?

It’s worth working out how much it would cost to rent a car while yours is in the garage, then comparing that with the price of extra insurance. Bear in mind that if your car is out of action for several weeks, hiring a rental car instead could end up costing you more.

Choosing a comprehensive car insurance policy that includes courtesy car cover as standard could work out cheaper than adding on extra cover.

How do I get an insurance quote that includes courtesy car cover?

If you’re looking for a car insurance quote that includes courtesy car cover as standard, comprehensive car cover is your best bet. And it can be cheaper than third party, fire and theft insurance.

Courtesy car cover isn’t a definite inclusion even on comprehensive car insurance policies, so if it’s important to you, check exactly what cover is included before you buy.

One of the best ways to find a good deal on the car cover you need is to shop around. Start a quote with us, telling us a bit about you, your car and what level of cover you’ll need. Our online comparison service will give you a range of competitive quotes. You’ll be able to check the details of each policy to see if it includes courtesy car insurance.

Frequently asked questions

How long will I get a courtesy car for?

Usually, you’ll only get a courtesy car for as long as it takes for your car to be repaired. With any luck, this should be within a few days, but some insurance providers do attach time limits, such as 14 or 21 days.

Will I have to pay for a courtesy car?

If your insurance policy includes courtesy-car cover, then no, you won’t need to pay for it unless you’re charged an excess. On top of that, you should only have to pay for the fuel you use.

Will my resident parking permit cover a courtesy car?

If you live in an area with resident parking bays, you’ll need to contact your local council to let them know you have a courtesy car. Most boroughs will give you temporary cover that lets you park your courtesy car in a controlled parking zone.

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