What is Motability?

How to get a discounted lease car with disability allowance: everything on the Motability scheme

BuyaCar team
Mar 20, 2017

Disability allowances include some money that can help with transport costs, enabling recipients to travel more easily.

It can often be used to lease a car under the Motability scheme. This is a long-term car rental with a weekly payment that includes insurance, breakdown cover and servicing.

The car can be driven by up to two additional nominated people, so you don’t need to have a driving licence to benefit.

For cheaper cars, the full lease price is covered by the allowance, so the only cost that drivers must pay is the fuel.

On average, 200,000 new cars are leased through Motability each year and this scale means that the scheme can negotiate cheap prices with manufacturers, helping to make cars affordable.

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 £57.45 per week)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recipients with the enhanced rate of mobility component (£57.45)

Recipients of the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) (£64.15)

Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) recipients, which includes a mobility allowance (£57.45)

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:

  • Insurance
  • Servicing and maintenance
  • Breakdown cover
  • Tyre and windscreen repair and replacement
  • MOT
  • Car tax
  • Up to two additional named drivers
  • Many adaptations (such as steering wheel controls)

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. It’s more commonly allowed for 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)


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

It depends what vehicle you choose but there are 150 cars that cost less than the mobility allowance. The money is paid directly to Motability and you get the remainder.

Even more cars - 400 - 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. 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 Ford Fiesta 1.6 Zetec auto 5dr. A Ford Focus 1.0 T Zetec 5dr automatic costs the equivalent of the weekly allowance.


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 the car?

The scheme is intended to give claimants 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 sort of cars are available?


Everything from hatchbacks and SUVs. Wheelchair accessible vehicles, called WAVs, are also available.


Am I restricted in the kind of car I can choose?

Motability has access to around 2500 popular models. By going to its website and using the scheme’s search engine, you can filter the range of cars by make, model, transmission and budget.


Where do I get the car from?

From a Motability dealer. There are over 5000 of them. They are ordinary car dealers who have joined the scheme and so are qualified to supply its cars.


What about 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.


Can I order a Motability car online?

No. You have to visit a dealership to collect the car.


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