Many motor accident injury claimants who use a courtesy car while their vehicles are being repaired are oblivious to the fact that their excess level is transferred to the courtesy car if they decide to temporarily switch their own insurance.
According to DCML, the courtesy car administration and day-rate insurance provider, thousands of motorists are unwittingly exposed to risks of excesses of up to £1,000, should their loan car be damaged while in their possession. Data from DCML shows that courtesy vehicles are involved in thousands of light or serious incidents annually.
The company says that an estimated 650,000 motorists choose to self-insure courtesy cars whilst theirs is being serviced or repaired and that there is a question over the advice being given to motorists taking on temporary vehicles.
Vince Powell, managing director of DCML, said that the situation was a "recipe for disaster".
“Not only is the customer unwittingly exposed, but so too is the dealer," he said.
“Worryingly, we are starting to see instances in which customers, with high excesses, have damaged the loan car and either don’t have the finances to cover the repairs or failed to realise that they would be liable in any way. Aside from the financial repercussions for the customer, it becomes a resource drain for the dealer/bodyshop as they deal with the issue.”
“Driving an unfamiliar car naturally raises the risk of an accident, so service advisors have a duty to advise customers about the potentially false economy of trying to further cut costs by self-insuring courtesy cars,” he added.