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Should I get a mobility car?

| Insurance

Driving offers a huge amount of independence for those that struggle with mobility or find it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks and activities. However, owning a car can be expensive - there’s the car itself to pay for, as well as all the accompanying costs such as insurance, road tax, fuel and maintenance. Luckily, the Motability Scheme could mean that the costs of a car are completely or partially covered. Find out more about mobility cars below and whether you’re eligible.

What is a mobility car?

Mobility cars, also sometimes referred to as Motability vehicles, are available through the charity Motability. The scheme allows people who claim some kind of disability allowance to exchange their monthly payments for a leased car instead. Instead of the money from the allowance going into your bank account, it will get paid straight to Motability to pay off the car instead.

Depending on the price of the car, it may be paid off altogether or highly discounted, enabling you to keep your independence. With a selection of over 2,000 available cars as part of the scheme, you’re sure to find the perfect mobility vehicle for you. They can even be adapted depending on your needs. This includes driving adaptations such as pedal modifications, and access adaptations such as swivel seats and person hoists. However, some adaptations may cost extra, so do take this into account when budgeting for your vehicle.

You can keep the leased vehicle for three years, after which time you must return it. At this point, you can either lease another car through the same scheme or leave the scheme if you’d prefer. 

Is a mobility car worth it?

A mobility car is absolutely worth it, particularly if you struggle to get around via other forms of transport or may not be able to afford a car otherwise. Motability states that the car is for the benefit of the disabled person. This means that even if you don’t have a driving licence, another named driver in your household can use it to take you where you need to go. The vehicle can be driven by up to three people.

And it’s not just the car that’s included. Over three years, the scheme also covers all services and other maintenance, tyre repairs and replacement (from Kwik Fit only), windscreen and window repair and MOTs. No road tax is required on these vehicles as they’re exempt and you’ll be given a mileage allowance of up to 60,000 miles over the three years. This could save you a fair bit of money in the long run and makes the scheme very desirable.

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Do you pay insurance on a mobility car?

You don’t have to worry about taking out insurance with a mobility vehicle, as this is done for you. You’ll be provided with comprehensive car insurance for up to three other drivers. While some restrictions apply (such as a minimum age of 25), this means that up to three family members or friends can take you wherever you need to go in your mobility vehicle. If you do drive, you can still add an additional two people to the insurance.

Am I eligible for a mobility car?

So how do you know if you’re eligible for a mobility vehicle? You are eligible if you receive one of the following: 

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with higher rate mobility
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) with enhanced rate mobility
  • War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) that includes a mobility allowance.

If you receive at least one of the above and will do so for at least the next 12 months, then you will likely be eligible for a motability vehicle.

Then, instead of receiving the above weekly payments, the money will go towards your mobility car, either fully covering the cost or covering most of it. In the latter case, you may need to make up any additional costs. However, the benefit of the scheme is that some vehicles are fully covered (such as a Vauxhall Corsa), so you can set your budget and ensure you don’t pay more than you can afford.

You may not qualify if you wish to use the vehicle for work purposes, however you can apply for permission through RSA Motability.

Children are also eligible for the scheme too. If a child gets the higher rate DLA, they can receive a Motability vehicle from the age of three and a parent or guardian can be insured on it. Once a child turns 16, they can learn to drive in a mobility car, one year earlier than the standard age of 17. They may even get additional help to cover the cost of their driving lessons.

Still not sure if you’re eligible? You can use Motability’s online assessor to check.

How much does a mobility car cost?

The cost of a mobility car will depend on which one you choose. As mentioned, there are up to 2,000 cars available on the scheme. Around 80 of these cost less than the mobility allowance and around 140 cost the same. This means there’s a choice of around 220 cars where you won’t need to pay a thing besides the fuel you use.

If you wish, you could choose a car that’s more expensive than your allowance and make up the cost yourself. This would need to be paid as a one-off lump sum known as an advance payment.

Vehicles that require no advance payment include Renault Zoe Iconic, SEAT Leon, Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper. Some vehicles, such as a Ford Focus, start from £45. More expensive vehicles include Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which require an advance payment of at least £1,119. Once the advance payment has been paid, the rest of the payments will be covered by the Motability Scheme so you don’t have to worry about it.

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