Motability: everything you need to know

How to

You may have heard of Motability, writes Leana Kell of, but do you know what it is? Motability is a government funded charity responsible for the Motability scheme, which allows anyone with a disability to obtain a new car cheaply.

Motability Operations is a non-profit company who runs the Motability scheme. They are the largest fleet operator in the UK and the biggest supplier of used cars to the trade. Motability Operations sell over 145,000 used cars a year through the scheme and purchase seven per cent of all new cars sold in the UK each year.

To help you to find out if you’re eligible for the Motability scheme and how it works, answers the following key questions below:

Do I qualify for the scheme?

If you have a disability you may be eligible to join the Motability Scheme. To acquire a new car through the scheme, you’ll first need to obtain either a Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance or a War Pensioners'' Mobility Supplement. You must have twelve months award length remaining when you apply.

What are its key benefits?

You are provided with a mobility package, which includes a new car of your choice every three years, insurance and personal accident cover, servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance from the RAC, replacement tyres and window or windscreen replacement. There is also a wide choice of cars currently available on the scheme.

How do I pay for the scheme?

The most popular option is to Contract Hire scheme - customers can choose a new car every three years with all the above benefits included for a monthly fee. The customer pays all or part of their allowance to Motability for the period of the agreement, and there is usually no additional payment required unless your chosen car is a more expensive, larger model.

Can I own rather than lease my car?

Yes, there is a Hire Purchase option which allows customers to purchase the car at the end of the agreement. The way it works is that you negotiate the purchase price with your Motability dealer and you are then responsible for your own insurance, breakdown, tax, servicing and repairs costs. If you choose this option you must be receiving your allowance for the full length of the agreement.

Where can I get a Motability vehicle?

There are almost 5000 dealerships in Britain offering the Motability scheme so it should be easy to find one in your local area. To find your local dealer you can log onto and use the ‘find a dealer’ tool. You simply enter your postcode and it allows you to search for specific manufacturers or dealers within your area.

MotabilityCan I trade in my privately-owned vehicle?

Twenty-five per cent of existing Motability dealerships will now allow you to do this and you can use the value of your existing car against an advance payment on a new Motability car, should you wish. However, it’s worth noting that the price you agree with your dealer might be lower than if you sold privately. To find local dealers who offer this option, use the ‘find a dealer’ tool outlined above.

Do I need a driving licence to qualify?

If you opt for a lease agreement then you do not need to be the designated driver, you can nominate up to two drivers who may be friends or relatives, and parents or carers can apply on behalf of a child aged three upwards.

Is buying an ex-Motability car a good second-hand buy?

Ex-Motability cars provide a large source of second-hand cars and they are usually a good bet. Most cars have low mileage and have been well looked after by their previous owner.

Are there any drawbacks to the Motability scheme?

There are only 400 models of car available within the cost of a weekly mobility allowance. If you wish to purchase a larger model or better spec of car, you’ll have to pay an additional sum on top of your allowance. This is an advance payment which is payable in one lump sum to the Motability dealer at the start of your lease. Advance payments can increase up to several thousand pounds depending on the type of car chosen.

For more great car buying advice and to view and buy new and second-hand cars, click on to While you’re there, check our new, faster car search, too. Surf the web using your mobile phone? Click here or text ‘motors’ to 65056 and we’ll send you a link. Or if you’ve an iPhone, download the app from the ‘utilities’ section of the iTunes store.


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