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It is almost inevitable for your car to incur damages over time. A lot of time could be spent in network garages of your insurance company if your car happens to get damaged. It can be very difficult to go about your normal life when cars are undergoing repairs for people who are highly dependent on private vehicles. This is why most insurance companies offer the replacement car cover benefit along with basic car insurance. Offering a temporary solution to your transportation problems, replacement car covers are designed to fill the gaps when your own car is not available for use. Let’s cover everything that you ought to know about the replacement car cover in car insurance plans. 

What Qualifies as A Replacement or Courtesy Car?

Replacement cars are essentially temporary cars offered by the car insurance company to replace your own car when it is undergoing repairs. The replacement car is often subject to the availability of spare vehicles at the garage where your car is being repaired. Replacement cars are only offered when you get your car repaired from a network garage of the insurance company. Getting your repairs done from an independent garage will not activate your replacement car cover. Some insurance providers may even offer replacement car cover when you get your car repaired from a local garage. However, the repair technician should be approved by the insurance company. This is completely up to the individual company’s policies and conditions. 

Is Courtesy Car Covered as a Basic Benefit in Car Insurance Plans?

Most exclusive comprehensive car insurance plans come with replacement car insurance cover as a basic benefit. The less expensive versions of these plans may have an option to include the courtesy car cover as an add-on. But it is rather common to find courtesy car cover as a basic benefit in car insurance plans in the UAE. Of course, this is applicable on a case-by-case basis for each provider and the subsequent plans they provide. The best way to make sure if the plan includes a courtesy car cover is by going through the benefits. You will not have to dive too deep into policy wordings, though. This benefit is always listed among the main covers included. 

Can I Get an Add-On for Courtesy Car Cover?

Yes. Generally, for car insurance plans that do not include replacement car cover as a basic benefit, policyholders can get it as an add-on. This depends on the provider and the available plans. Not all car insurance plans will come with this option. On top of that, you can only get a replacement car cover add-on if you have a comprehensive car insurance plan. Third-party liability car insurance cannot be combined with add-ons. Some extremely rare cases may allow policyholders to get replacement car cover with third-party car insurance plans. However, the possibility of this happening is very slim. 

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How Do Replacement Car Covers Work?

When you are involved in an accident where you are at fault, your car insurance company bears the expenses of your own car damage repairs. While your car is undergoing repairs, you can apply to get a courtesy car if your insurance plan includes it as a basic benefit or if you have taken it as an add-on. The insurance company will then offer you a spare car available at a network garage to use for the time being while your car is being repaired. This car may also come with a sticker of the network garage. On the other hand, if you are involved in an accident where the third party was at fault, you can claim to get a replacement car from the third-party insurance company. Your insurance provider may offer the necessary assistance for the same but will not cover the replacement car benefit in this case. You can only get a courtesy car from your insurance provider if you are at fault in an accident. 

Replacement Cars Vs Hired Cars

Replacement car covers and hired car covers are two different kinds of covers, both of which offer a temporary travel arrangement for the policyholder. The key difference here will be the type of car you receive. Hire car cover allows you to get the car you want – make, model, etc. On the other hand, in a replacement car cover, you receive a car that is available at the garage. This means when you have a specific requirement from the replacement vehicle you get from the insurance company, hired car cover becomes a better option for you. Hired car cover comes with a lot more flexibility as compared to the replacement car benefit. You are likely to get a car that is similar in size of your car and has the same features. 

Courtesy Car Cover Exclusions

Your car insurance plan will not offer a replacement car in case any of the following conditions apply:

  • If your car is stolen and not damaged. 
  • If your geographical location does not come under the covered locations of your plan.
  • If the insured car is a classic car, vintage car or campervan. 
  • If the repair expenses of the car turn out to be greater than the insured declared value of the car.
  • If your car is being repaired by a garage unapproved by your insurance company. 
  • If there are no courtesy cars available at the garage assigned to you.

Things to Keep in Mind When Getting a Replacement Car

  • Condition of the Car: See if the car you are getting with the replacement car cover is in good condition, even if it is a small, economy car. Unsuspecting and unaware folks often end up with written-off cars with their replacement car cover. So, even if your replacement car cover does not provide you with a high-end top model sedan, at least be sure that the car is in fair condition for your use. 
  • Insurance of the Courtesy Car: Since having a basic car insurance cover for all vehicles is mandatory in the UAE, your replacement car will also come with one. Chances are that it will be a third-party car insurance cover instead of a comprehensive one. Check the insurance coverage of the car, obtain the necessary documents to drive it and make sure you drive safe. 
  • Comparing Quotes: Needless to say, compare your options when it comes to buying a replacement car cover with your insurance plans. Almost every provider offers at least one car insurance plan that includes replacement car cover as a basic benefit. Circle these plans out and make sure that you compare their cost-effectiveness before making the final choice. 
  • Find Reviews: Just like when scouting for your main, basic car insurance cover, check the reviews and find out how other customers’ experiences were with the replacement car cover of a particular provider. Base your decision on all the factors combined and not just one. 

Possible Clauses to Look Out For 

  • The Availability Clause: The most common condition you may find attached to your replacement car cover is the availability of the vehicle clause. A courtesy car will only be provided to you if there are any cars available at the garage or with the insurance company. This clause is even more common for car insurance plans that include courtesy car cover as a basic benefit. You must read the fine print of your insurance contract to check the presence of this particular condition. 
  • Cause Clause: Apart from the availability, the cause or reason for needing a courtesy car can also be present as a condition in your contract. Most insurance providers only provide a courtesy car if your own car is in for accidental damage repairs or something else grave and of a similar nature. Repairs for damages like windshield cracks are often excluded from courtesy car covers. Make sure you check this in the policy wordings. 
  • Place of Repairs: This is a sure set clause for all car insurance plans with replacement car covers. You can only claim a replacement car if you are getting your car repaired at one of the network garages of the insurance company. If your repairs are being done from some other independent garage, a replacement car cover will not come into effect. 
  • Duration of the Courtesy Cover: Policyholders cannot get courtesy cars for as long as they would like. There is generally a specific time limit for it, which could be around 21-30 days. Make sure you find the exact duration for having a courtesy car as per your car insurance plan. 
  • Type of Courtesy Car: Just because your hunk SUV is undergoing repairs in a network garage doesn’t mean you will get a car of the same stature with a replacement car cover. Most courtesy cars are basic cars meant to be of functional use at best. There is a good chance that you will only get a small economy car with your car replacement cover. If you require a specific kind of car every day, it is better to opt for a hired car cover instead of a replacement car cover with your insurance plan. 

In a Nutshell

Replacement car cover becomes a rather important benefit to have in your car insurance plan when you are highly dependent on a private mode of transportation. However, make sure that you are well aware of all the different terms and conditions that apply to your replacement car cover benefit. It can be a drag if you find yourself stuck in a non-negotiable situation when in need of a replacement car. Make sure you understand your needs as well. If you use your car for work-related purposes and require a vehicle of the same kind as a replacement, go with a hired car cover instead. Evaluate your needs in time to make sure you end up with the correct level of car insurance coverage.

Q1. How are roadside assistance requests carried out by insurance companies?

Ans: Insurance providers establish contracts with one or more roadside assistance agencies. These agencies become your point of contact when you, as a policyholder, require roadside assistance. You simply need to use the helpline number provided by the insurance company as a roadside assistance helpline to get connected to the service provider. Your policy number will be used for verification purposes, and after that, the services will be offered. 

Q2. Which providers offer roadside assistance cover in the UAE?

Ans: Almost all top providers offer roadside assistance cover in the UAE. Most of them include it as a basic benefit in their car insurance plans. Others offer it as an add-on to be taken with comprehensive car insurance plans. 

Q3. Can I buy roadside assistance cover with any kind of car insurance plan?

Ans: No, you can only buy your roadside assistance cover with either a fully comprehensive car insurance plan or own damage cover. Since third-party liability covers do not cover the policyholder’s personal damages, add-ons are not available to be taken with them. In some rare cases, roadside assistance can be a part of the third-party car insurance plan’s basic benefits. But that completely depends on the provider. 

Q4. Is there an upper limit on vehicle age to opt for roadside assistance cover?

Ans: Yes, many health insurance plans set a limit on the maximum vehicle age to get roadside assistance cover. This limit is generally set at around 5 years but can differ for each provider.

Q5. Is roadside assistance cover expensive?

Ans: Roadside assistance cover is one of the few add-ons that can be bought at a nominal fee. The charges of the cover may differ as per the providers, though.

Q6. Do roadside assistance claims impact the no-claim bonus?

Ans: No, fortunately, calling for roadside assistance services covered by your car insurance plan in the UAE will not affect your no-claim bonus. It stays intact without any future repercussions. 

Q7. Is unlocking the car covered by roadside assistance services?

Ans: Yes, most roadside assistance covers offer unlocking cars as a basic service when you have lost the keys or locked them inside the car. 

Q8. Can I get roadside assistance for my two-wheeler as well?

Ans: Yes, roadside assistance cover can be bought for both two-wheelers and four-wheelers if your insurance provider offers it. 

Q9. Is it worth it to buy roadside assistance cover?

Ans: If you have had your car for some time now, roadside assistance cover can turn out to be a lifesaver for you. It will save you towing costs as well as help with small breakdown services like changing the tyre. It is worthwhile to opt for a roadside assistance cover if your car is now old and susceptible to breakdown more often than not.

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