What is Motability?

How to get a discounted lease car with a disability allowance: everything you need to know about the Motability scheme

BuyaCar team
Jul 1, 2021

The Motability Scheme enables people who have a mobility allowance to lease a discounted car. Essentially, this is a long-term rental car that you pay for weekly. That weekly payment includes insurance, breakdown cover, and servicing. It allows eligible people to get a new car every three years, hassle-free.

Cheaper cars in the scheme, like the Volkswagen Up and Kia Picanto, are covered entirely by the allowance. People who opt for cheaper cars therefore only have to pay for fuel. More expensive cars still cost the same per week, but need an advance payment (like an initial rental payment on a PCH lease or a deposit on a PCP finance deal).

Around 200,000 new cars are leased through the Motability Scheme yearly - meaning that the scheme can negotiate cheaper prices with manufacturers because of its proven scale in leasing cars.

When you get a Motability car, it can be driven by up to two more people. This means that you don’t have to have a driving licence to benefit from the scheme, as parents, friends or named carers can drive the car instead.

BuyaCar does not offer Motability cars. However, our buyers' guides can help you to decide which car suits your needs best.

Which allowances are eligible for Motability?

The most common disability allowances have two levels of mobility component. Only those receiving the higher level can use it to pay for a Motability car. At the moment, the following groups qualify:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) recipients with the higher rate mobility component (worth £62.55 per week)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recipients with the enhanced rate of mobility component (£62.55)
  • Recipients of the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) (£69.85)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) recipients, which includes a mobility allowance (£62.55)

You’ll need at least 12 months left on your award to begin a Motability agreement.

What is included in the Motability scheme?

A Motability agreement runs for three years, during which you can cover a maximum of 60,000 miles. If you go over the limit, then you’ll be charged 5p per extra mile at the end of the term.

The weekly fee covers the cost of the car, plus the following:

You pay for the fuel that you use.  

What happens at the end of a Motability agreement?

After three years, you hand the car back and can begin another lease with a new car or leave the scheme.

If you would prefer to keep your car for a bit longer, then it is often possible to extend the lease. This is more commonly allowed with cars that have covered a low mileage.

When you return the car, it is inspected. Normal wear and tear such as minor scratches or even small dents caused by a wheelchair are permitted. If there’s no serious damage, then you may be eligible for a good condition bonus of £250 (£450 on cars with a longer lease). The car is then sold on.

How much does a Motability car cost to lease each week?

It depends what vehicle you choose but there are quite a few cars that cost less than the mobility allowance. The money is paid directly to Motability and you get the remainder.

Even more cars cost the same as the mobility allowance. You’ll never see the money because it is paid straight to Motability. You can choose a more expensive car by making a one-off advance payment to cover the difference - generally you’ll need to pay something upfront if you need or want something bigger than a city car or supermini. Leases are around 40% lower than standard rates.

An example of a car costing less than the weekly mobility allowance and with no advance payment required is the Seat Ibiza 1.0 FR, as pictured above.

Can I get a Motability car if I don’t get a disability allowance?

No. There’s not an option to lease the cars privately.

Who runs Motability?

The Motability charity is in charge of the scheme. It has been going since 1977 and its patron is the Queen. The day-to-day operations are contracted out to a company called Motability Operations, which is owned by four major banks: Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Who can drive a Motability car?

The scheme is intended to give claimants of the allowances mentioned above independence or to help them in their daily lives. For this reason, the claimant and up to two named drivers who care for or provide assistance to the claimant, can be insured on the car and drive it.

What cars are available with Motability??

Most mainstream cars are available on the Motability scheme, from city cars like the Citroen C1 to family hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus. SUVs and people carriers are also available, and now you can even lease hybrid and electric cars on the scheme.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles, called WAVs, are also available, as are mobility scooters. Full details of every vehicle on the Motability scheme can be found at www.motability.co.uk.

Where do I get a Motability car from?

Many dealerships have a dedicated Motability area and specialist salespeople to cater for the needs of customers. They can show you specific features of a car, or suggest models that can cater for your requirements - whether that’s a must-have feature or a model that will be particularly easy to get in and out of.

These specialists tend to be your port of call throughout your lease. Motability’s Find a Dealer page lets you filter by manufacturer and location.

What about car adaptations?

Motability has access to over 350 types of adaptations, many available at no extra cost. They are designed to make driving easier, and improve accessibility or stowage of essential items. These include hand controls, steering wheel add-ons and lifts that hoist a wheelchair into the boot.

Can I order a Motability car online?

No. You have to visit a dealership to order the car, as the dealership’s specialist will sort it all out for you.


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