What is Motability? How to apply and the cars that qualify

Drivers with a disability might find the process of leasing a car quite difficult. Not only will a specially adapted car be required in some cases, but even negotiating car insurance can become a more complicated process than it is for non-disabled people.

The Motability scheme is designed to make the process as simple as possible. The government-backed charitable organisation currently helps more than 600,000 disability claimants to gain access to a new car. Read on to find out how it works…

What is Motability?

Motability allows people with disabilities who claim for one of several types of disability allowance to put their payments towards the cost of leasing a car. It’s designed to make the process as simple as possible for its customers – it bundles insurance, breakdown cover and servicing costs into the agreement, so users need only pay for the cost of fuel.

The funding comes through the Department of Work and Pensions, plus additional charitable grants and donations. To ensure claimants always get the most from their allowance, every three months Motability negotiates the costs of leasing on all the cars available.

Who can claim Motability?

The scheme is open to claimants who have access to funding through either the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the War Pensioners’ Motability Supplement (WPMS), or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP). Any claimant with at least 12 months left on the award – and their carer, parent or nominated driver – may be eligible to claim.

What cars qualify for Motability?

The vehicle choice through Motability is huge – more than 2,000 different models are available to lease through the scheme. They include anything from city cars such as the VW Up to vans specially adapted to provide access for wheelchair users, called Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs). Even sports car fans are catered for with the Mazda MX-5.

Petrol and diesel options are widespread and there’s a selection of hybrids for the most eco-conscious drivers. Petrol/electric models include the likes of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid and Kia Niro, while those those looking for power sourced exclusively from a plug socket can look to the Nissan Leaf or the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive.

How do I get a car on Motability?

If you meet all the requirements to qualify for a Motability car, you should head over to Motability’s website to pick the model you’re after. At that point, you can go into a dealership and purchase it as you would a normal car. For help narrowing down your choice, use our handy car chooser tool.

Anything else to consider?

Much like buying a leasing a car, every car is priced differently. Some cars are covered entirely by the disability allowance, while others may require an extra payment. If a car’s monthly rate exceeds the total Motability allowance, an advance payment to the dealer is required at the start of the lease. This payment can be minimal – £45 for a Ford Fiesta Titanium, for example – or can run into the tens of thousands for wheelchair-adapted MPVs and vans.

Customers needn’t place their entire allowance towards a car though – if they wish, they can choose to pay a partial fee up front and let the let the allowance cover the rest. It’s important to consider your needs from a car to make sure you purchase one appropriate for you and your budget.

Want to know more about Motability?

Head over to the Motability home page to find out more about how the scheme works, who is eligible and which cars are available through the plan. Use our car chooser tool for help narrowing down your new car search.

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