Ex-Motability cars are commonplace in the UK used car market, but many people don't know much about them and what good value they can be. In this article, we will cover what the pros and cons are when it comes to buying one.
Motability is the largest car fleet operator in Europe, and it buys around one in ten of every new cars sold in Britain. That means it is a massive supplier of used cars too, selling around 200,000 of its ex-fleet vehicles every year.
The Motability Scheme allows disabled people to lease a brand-new car using their mobility allowance. After three years, the car is given back to the charity and sold on, typically to auction houses who then sell them to dealerships. This provides an opportunity for a prospective car buyer to find a great car, that’s only three years old, as that’s when Motability leases end.
How Do You Know A Car Is Ex-Motability?
When you look to purchase a car and have a look at any documentation, you can also check the details of the previous owners in the V5C logbook. Motability customers never own the car, so the company will be the registered owner with the DVLA. When you go to a dealership, cars are often marked as ex-Motability.
What Are The Advantages Of Ex-Motability Car?
As with purchasing any used car, there are both positives and negatives to the route you take. With ex-Motability cars, this is no different. Here are a few of the advantages of buying an ex-Motability car:
- Great Value: Motability cars are usually cheaper than identical cars that were not leased by Motability customers. Slow-selling models will be incentivised to make them more affordable, with smaller or even zero deposits.
- Low Mileage: Although the scheme gives a yearly mileage allowance of up to 20,000 miles, most Motability drivers don’t get anywhere near this figure, with most cars having been driven very few miles in the three-year lease period. This means that you will likely be purchasing a fairly new car with very few miles on the clock.
- Not All Motability Cars Are Adapted: Not all Motability cars are modified with special adaptations, partly because not every person may need adaptations, but also because Motability cars don’t have to be driven by the disabled person themselves. A carer or relative can be put on the insurance to drive the person around. This means that there may not actually be any modifications to the car; it will just have been listed as Motability in the V5C.
- Good Service History: Motability cars should have only been serviced by a main dealer at the predetermined mileage or intervals set out in the service book because, under the scheme, all servicing costs are included. This bodes well for a prospective buyer as you should have a full service history at hand.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Ex-Motability Car?
Countering the above advantages, there are a handful of disadvantages when buying an ex-Motability car, too:
- Low Mileage: Low mileage can be a double-edged sword - it may mean that the vehicle has been sat unused for long periods of time, or that it’s only been driven regularly for shorter journeys. This can damage components or cause them to wear out quicker in some cases, so low mileage is also something to be wary of.
- Car Value: Depreciation might also be steeper than a non-Motability car when you go on to sell the car again.
- Car Condition: You need to think about how the car might have been used in its previous life. You can’t guarantee that previous owners will have treated the car how you would, because it technically did not belong to them. It’s also important to note that you’re allowed to smoke in a Motability vehicle because it’s classified as private use. This can do a lot of damage to a car over a three-year period.
What Car Modifications Can Affect Insurance?
According to the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for a car insurance company to charge you a higher premium because of a disability unless they can prove it is justified. While most insurers comply with this, one of the barriers for disabled people has been that cars modified to accommodate their disability may be classed as modified in the same way that other cars may have modifications such as spoilers or body kits. This can lead to higher premiums even if the driver is not more of a risk to the insurance company.
However, this has improved in recent years and many insurers do recognise the difference between these two categories of modification.
As everyone’s abilities are different, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all policy’ with regards to disabled driver and adapted vehicle Motability insurance. Therefore, it is important that you tell your insurer any modifications that have been made to your vehicle. These include:
- Tail lifts
- Person and wheelchair hoists
- Adapted controls
- Tiller controls
- Steering wheel balls
- Transfer seats
- Wheelchair storage
- Restraints and belts
- Side steps
- Electronic ring accelerators
- Throttle and brake hand controls
- Twin flip pedal transfers
- Handbrake adaptations
- Infra-red controls
- Child harnesses
- All wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) converted from cars and vans.
This is worth knowing, because if you are set on an ex-Motability vehicle it may have had some of the above modifications, that have not been removed that could be classed as ‘car modifications’. To be sure you are being properly insured, the best thing you can do is to discuss this with your insurer.
So, if you find an ex-Motability car that ticks all the boxes and seems to have been looked after, there’s no reason to not go for it as your next car. But, as with any used car, you should conduct some research into all of your options and check any car over to make sure it is right for you and at the right price.
It’s important to note that when it comes to taxing an ex-Motability car, you will not be able to do this online the first time.
Unless you are also disabled and exempt from paying car tax, you will need to change the tax classification of the vehicle, which you won’t be able to do online or over the phone. You’ll need to take your V5 to the post office along with a V62 form to pay your tax, register as the new owner and change the tax classification of the vehicle. Find out more on the gov.uk website.
No matter which affordable car you go for, it is essential that you have the right insurance so that you can have peace of mind when on the roads.
Be Wiser is a great place to start to help you find the right car insurance cover for your needs, so get a quote today.