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How to Get a Courtesy Car After a Car Accident: Step-by-Step Guide

January 23, 2024

Experiencing a car accident can be a stressful, frustrating and challenging situation, with one of the most frustrating elements being the process of keeping your life moving while your vehicle is being repaired. In this step-by-step guide, we’re going to show you how to go through the process of obtaining a courtesy car after a car accident, so you can navigate this situation smoothly while keeping your life moving. Let’s dive in!

What is a Courtesy Car?

First, let's clarify what a courtesy car is. A courtesy car, also known as a replacement car or hire car, is a temporary vehicle provided to you when your own car is undergoing repairs due to an accident. In short, claiming courtesy car after accident ensures that you can continue your daily activities without significant disruption - for example, commuting to work or driving your children to and from school.

Initial Steps After an Accident

Before we dive into the details of securing a courtesy car, don’t forget that safety and security always come first after a collision! Here are the initial steps you should take immediately after a car accident:

  • Ensure Safety: First and foremost, make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe. If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately.
  • Exchange Information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved in the accident. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance details.
  • Report the Accident: Notify the police if necessary and report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Take Photos: Document the accident scene by taking photos of the vehicles involved, the damage, and the surroundings. This can be valuable for insurance claims.

Now, let's move on to the steps for obtaining a courtesy car.

Determining Eligibility for a Courtesy Car

It’s important to note that not everyone involved in a car accident is automatically eligible for a courtesy car; eligibility typically depends on the circumstances of the accident and your insurance coverage.

Requirements and Documentation

To determine your eligibility for a courtesy car, you'll need to provide the following:

Insurance Policy

Check your insurance policy to see if it includes courtesy car provision. Some comprehensive insurance policies automatically offer a courtesy car, while others may offer it as an optional add-on.

Fault Determination

If the accident was not your fault, you may have a stronger claim for a courtesy car, especially if the other party's insurance company accepts liability.

Claim Notification

Notify your insurance company about the accident promptly; they’ll be more than happy to guide you through the process and inform you of your eligibility (or non-eligibility) for a courtesy car.

Process for Acquiring a Courtesy Car

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Once you've determined your eligibility, here's how to go about acquiring a courtesy car:

Contact Your Insurer

Get in touch with your insurance company or broker to discuss your situation; provide them with all the necessary details, including the accident report, fault determination, and policy information.

Arrange the Car

If you qualify for a courtesy car, your insurance company will typically arrange it for you. They will coordinate with a rental company to provide a suitable vehicle.

Like-for-Like Vehicle

If you have a "like-for-like vehicle" provision in your policy, you will receive a courtesy car similar to your own vehicle in terms of size and type; this ensures a seamless transition in your daily routine.


The duration for which you can use the courtesy car varies, depending on your policy and the time needed for repairs. Make sure to clarify this with your insurer.

Alternative Options and Considerations

In some cases, you may not have courtesy car provision in your insurance policy, or you may not be eligible due to the circumstances of the accident. If this is your situation, consider these alternative options:

Rental Car

You can choose to rent a car independently while your vehicle is being repaired. Keep all receipts and invoices, as you may be able to claim these costs back if the accident was not your fault.

At-Fault Party

If the accident was clearly the fault of the other party and their insurance accepts liability, you can contact their insurer to inquire about a courtesy car.

Third-Party Claims

If you’re not at fault and the other party is uninsured or untraceable, you may still be able to claim for a courtesy car through the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, obtaining a courtesy car after a car accident involves a series of steps, from determining your eligibility to arranging the vehicle. Remember to communicate promptly with your insurer, and be aware of your policy's provisions - but don’t forget that your eligibility for a courtesy car will usually already be stipulated in your insurance policy, so knowing the limitations of your coverage before an accident occurs is the best way to prevent an unpleasant surprise.