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How Long Does it Take to Get a Courtesy Car After an Accident?

November 9, 2023

The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming both emotionally and logistically, from dealing with injuries to handling paperwork and, often, sorting out alternative transport. A courtesy car can help alleviate some of the stress by providing temporary transport while your vehicle is being repaired, however - how long does it take to get a courtesy car after an accident?

Generally, some car insurance providers will aim to provide you with a courtesy car in the week following your accident, but it’s likely you’ll need to go through more administrative work and paperwork to get your hands on one. Let’s take a closer look at the ins-and-outs of getting a courtesy car, and how to get one quicker.

When Can You Get a Courtesy Car?

The provision of a courtesy car primarily depends on your car insurance policy. If your policy covers a courtesy car provision, it typically means you're entitled to one while your vehicle undergoes repairs. However, the type and size of the car provided might differ from your own.

Not every accident scenario guarantees a courtesy car. Generally, if you're making a non fault accident courtesy car claim where the other party's at fault, you’re entitled to a like-for-like courtesy car under ‘Tort Law’. If you're at fault, the provision will generally depend on whether your policy has the 'courtesy car' feature.

Factors Influencing the Time Frame

The duration to receive a courtesy car after an accident can vary significantly based on several factors:

  • Insurance Policy: Your policy might have specific conditions about when a courtesy car is provided. Some might offer it immediately after reporting the accident, while others might require an assessment of your vehicle's damage first.
  • Repair Duration: If the repair centre expects your vehicle to be fixed within a short time frame, say within a day, they might not offer a courtesy car. Conversely, for longer repairs, a car is usually provided.
  • Availability of Cars: If the repair centre or insurance company has a limited number of courtesy cars, you might have to wait until one becomes available.

Steps Involved in Getting a Courtesy Car

Acquiring a courtesy car after an accident typically follows a set process:

Report the Accident

As soon as you're involved in an accident, report it to your insurance company. If your policy includes a courtesy car clause, ensure to claim it. Some insurers automatically offer it, while others require a specific request.

Vehicle Assessment

Before providing a courtesy car, the insurance company might want an assessment of the damage to determine the repair time frame.

Signing the Agreement

Once approved, you'll likely need to sign an agreement covering the terms of use for the courtesy car. This will detail aspects like the duration of use, mileage limits, and insurance coverage, but remember, always read the terms carefully to avoid unexpected costs or issues.

a collection of cars in a car park

Potential Delays in Receiving a Courtesy Car

Several factors can contribute to delays in getting a courtesy car:

  • Documentation: If there are discrepancies in your documentation or if the insurance company requires more details, this could slow down the process.
  • High Demand: During peak times, such as after severe weather incidents, the demand for courtesy cars can spike, leading to potential shortages.
  • Disputes: If there's a disagreement about who was at fault in the accident or the severity of damage to the car, it might delay your claim and, consequently, your access to a courtesy vehicle.
  • Policy Restrictions: Some insurance policies might have certain conditions, like providing a courtesy car only if repairs are done at approved garages, which can affect the waiting time.

How to Speed Up the Process

To speed up the provision of a courtesy car, here are a couple of tried-and-tested tips and tricks:

  • Provide Complete Documentation: Ensure you submit all required documentation promptly and accurately. This includes photographs of the accident, witness statements, and any police reports.
  • Stay Proactive: Regularly follow up with your insurance provider to keep the process moving.
  • Choose Approved Repairers: Using repair shops that are approved by or affiliated with your insurance company can expedite the claims and courtesy car provision processes.
  • Understand Your Policy: Familiarising yourself with the terms of your insurance policy ensures you know your rights and can assert them if necessary.

Alternatives to Courtesy Cars

If there's a delay in getting a courtesy car or if your policy doesn't provide one, consider these alternatives:

  • Rental Car: Some insurance policies offer a car rental option as an alternative. Check if yours does and understand the terms.
  • Car Sharing Services: Companies like Zipcar or Enterprise Car Club offer hourly or daily rentals, which can be a temporary solution.
  • Public Transport: Depending on the location and duration of car repairs, using public transport might be feasible.
  • Borrowing: If possible, consider borrowing a car from family or friends for urgent needs.

The Bottom Line

Overall, while a courtesy car can be immensely helpful after an accident, it's essential to be aware of the terms of your insurance policy and the potential waiting times involved; being proactive and having a backup plan can ensure you're not left stranded.