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Motability – the hail and hearty jumping on the bandwagon!

It seems that nothing is sacrosanct. The £1.4 billion a year scheme designed to provide transport for disabled drivers has been subjected to abuse and has been allowing friends and family members access to government-funded luxury cars.

The Motability scheme provides a disabled driver with £51.40 a week to lease a car, but it has emerged that able-bodied friends and family members are using the vehicles in as much as 50% of cases, the findings of an investigation in The Sunday Times reveals. This scheme also enables participants to top up their allowance to be able to access such cars as the BMW 3 series or an Audi A4!

The investigation by The Sunday Times has claimed that almost 200,000 of the cars are being used by people other than those for whom they are intended. The newspaper claims that potential buyers are also told they can 'drive the car as if it's their own' as long as it is occasionally used for the disabled person's benefit. The system does actually allow other people to drive the cars it provides, as up to two nominated drivers are permitted to assist the disabled person to get around.

A Whitehall source is quoted as saying “A lot of people are saying 'my neighbours have got this car and it's for their granny, but they ride around in it'. The issue is 'is Motability being abused?' And the answer is yes, absolutely, in some cases it is.”

Policing the scheme could prove tricky as the person's nominated driver could be using the car go shopping on his/her behalf. Sometimes the car is used for all the right purposes, and others for all the wrong. If the disabled person requires the car to go to the doctors, church or attend a social occasion, then that is what it is intended for. How this can be monitored is anyone's guess.

Perhaps the anomaly in this is that the scheme allows participants to put down an advanced payment and upgrade their choice of car – so they in effect can choose a BMW 3 series, Audi A4s – or a Land Rover Discovery, eschewing the likes of the conventional Toyota Yaris or Citroen Berlingo.

Motability is a wonderful scheme, but it's sad that people have to abuse it. One thing not to overlook though is insurance. Whoever drives the car must be insured for that vehicle. Just because you are a nominated driver does not mean you are insured. Check your own policy and speak with an independent insurance advisor. Give Westhill Insurance services a call and explain that you are a nominated driver on a Motability scheme vehicle and they will be able to advise the best insurance for this. Having a disabled person to care for is stress in itself, don't add to it with insurance worries – get good advice and enjoy your time out in the car.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 28th July, 2011