If you’ve been involved in a non fault accident you are likely to need another vehicle whilst yours is off the road. In this situation, a lot of people get confused over whether they have a courtesy vehicle or a hire vehicle.
The reason for the confusion is that hire companies often provide a vehicle without asking for payment up front and this is referred to as a credit hire vehicle.
This article will explain the differences and what you need to be aware of.
A courtesy vehicle is often provided by the garage that is doing the repairs to your vehicle. They do so to persuade you to use them for the repairs. They will often ask you to arrange for cover of the courtesy vehicle on your own insurance as a temporary additional vehicle. This type of vehicle often has the garage’s name on the car, advertising their services. Any additional insurance premium for putting the courtesy car on your own policy is something that you would have to recover from the at fault person’s insurer. If you have legal expenses insurance under your own policy, you could ask them to help in recovering these costs. If your vehicle is a write off, then it is unlikely you will have a courtesy vehicle as the garage would not be getting the repair work.
On the other hand, you could hire a vehicle on a credit basis. A hire vehicle is often provided, even if you pay an additional amount on your policy, of say £25-£30, to provide you with a vehicle in the event that yours is undriveable. The hire vehicles are often provided without a charge to you on the understanding that the charges will be recoverable from the insurers of the person at fault. You will still be required to sign a contract, but payment is ‘contingent’ on your cooperation in pursuing the claim against the at fault person’s insurer. These are often experienced companies, and often have agreements with the at fault insurers, making the process of the claim a lot easier. They will normally include any of your own losses, such as an excess, with the hire claim, meaning that you do not have to pursue this element of your claim on your own.
If you enter into a credit hire agreement you need to be aware that the cost of the hire car is in your name and you are liable for costs until an insurer accepts responsibility.
Craig Budsworth, author of “Courtesy vehicle or hire vehicle?” is a recognised ‘Credit Hire’ expert and regular MASS Trainer. He is also a previous MASS Chair.