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A loaner car is a courtesy vehicle that an auto repair shop will provide to you while your car is being repaired. Frequently, the loaner will be of the same make and model as your car. Dealership manages their own loaner fleet. It’s not a demo vehicle or rental car.

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A loaner car is supplied by the dealership or by your insurance company free of charge while your car is being repaired, for example after an accident. Some dealership offers free loaner car or courtesy vehicle, which is essentially a rental car that the dealership pays. If you are trying to get rental cars, you should check out Discover cars here for the best deals.

Either way, if your car takes overnight repair, it will allow you to temporarily fix your transportation solution with this strategy, which can improve the dealership’s business in customer satisfaction and maybe tempt you to buy one. Complimentary loaner vehicle is considered new car since dealerships don’t usually register them as demo or program cars.

Here’s what is a Ricer Car and why should you care!

  • Updated Car Insurance
  • Age Verification
  • Document Verification

Updated Car Insurance

US law requires the motor vehicle to have automotive insurance. Loaner cars are considered temporary replacement vehicles in most automotive insurance policies.

Updated car insurance assures your auto insurance policy to be transferred to a temporary or loaner vehicle while your car is in repairs or maintenance. Full coverage car insurance may also contain courtesy car cover, which will ensure that you can use a loaner car while the car is in repairs and insurance company pays for it.

Age Verification

The age verification of the primary driver of the loaner vehicle is required. Dealers may set their own age limit for 20-to 25-year-olds.

Younger drivers tend to lack experience in driving, which causes them to have a higher risk than older drivers. Insurance rates are higher for young drivers. Those 25 years and above have acquired the necessary experience to lessen the risk of accidents and lower insurance rates.

Document Verification

Like any other policy, a driving license is must to have before getting a loaner car. It contains your personal identification information, such as your name and birthday, which will help avoid identity theft and fraud.

Aside from incidental purposes, You will also use credit or debit cards for payments in traffic, parking, or other violations. The temporary car is in your possession, and you hold the accountability to pay for the damage (unless covered by insurance), tolls, and fuel charges.

Here’s the steps of getting a loan car from any authorized body shop, auto repair shop or dealership:

  • Ask Your Insurance Provider
  • Set An Appointment With Lender
  • Fulfill The Prerequisites And Formalities

Remember that courtesy cars are offered to vehicles that require maintenance or repairs for overnight service or service that may take multiple days.

Ask Your Insurance Provider

Your insurance package may include courtesy car covers, check your insurance policy if it covers courtesy cars. If it does, then ask them for the approved body shop and dealership in your area.

Set An Appointment With Lender

Once you know the approved dealership in your vicinity, contact them to set up an appointment for repairs and service to your car. Do not forget to bring your insurance, driver’s license, and credit or debit cards.

Let your dealership know about the problems and repairs your car needs. Ask them how many hours or days it will take for them to fix it. If it takes a lot of time, ask if they can give you a courtesy car your insurance provides.

Fulfill The Prerequisites And Formalities

Suppose the dealership deemed your vehicle to require multiple days for repairs and has allowed you to have a loaner car. They will take you to an office to sign up for an agreement outlining the contracts from mileage limits to how long you can use the courtesy car.

You must have insurance, a driver’s license, and a credit or debit card before settling the terms and agreements. Once everything is cleared, fill and sign the paperwork. Just wait for them to approve the deal. They will give you the key to the courtesy car then you’re good to go.

The payment for a loaner car accident could vary from contracts and insurance regulations. If there is a collision and you are the victim, you can ask the offender to pay for the damage. Your insurance would cover the loaner car if you were in an accident.

Dealers may also provide primary or excess coverage while the vehicle is in your care, depending on your contract. Dealership’s insurance might cover your loaned car if their car resulted in property damage, physical injury, or death to someone else.

A loaner car is offered to you for free if your vehicle is in repairs or maintenance. Aside from being free, loaner cars are usually in the service for 90 days to be assured that you are driving a quality car. If you have full-coverage insurance, you can be at ease since most insurance includes courtesy cars as part of their cover. If you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover a courtesy car, you may be asked for additional cost for the cover.

Its downside can be limited driving miles which can be 75 – 100 miles depending on the dealership. The driver may meet the age limit of 25. Pets and smoking in cars are usually not allowed. Sometimes you can not pick the car you will use. You are responsible for fines, gas, and fees.

Unlike courtesy cars, you pay to use a rental car, which may take you $50 to $100 per day. Vehicles in rental cars have higher mileage because of the people who rent the cars. The history of the car is also not certain cause you are not the only person who used the vehicle. Since they have high mileage, they often suffer from wear and tear from the different ways of driving of the user. Most big car rental companies only allow the age of 25 years and above. Only some offer at least 21 years of age but with an added fee of perhaps $20 per day. Check out with them for more on terms.

The usual vehicles in car rentals are brand new and fresh, which attracts people to rent. It has maintained its optimal condition as it is regularly maintained. These cars have an upgraded feature that you can utilize for quality and safe driving. Your mileage count is not limited since you rent the car for days.

Courtesy cars will be up for sale once they have finished their service. Courtesy cars have specific mileage before being added to the inventory for selling, depending on the manufacturer’s requirements. Courtesy cars are often sold as pre-owned vehicles at a lower price.

The courtesy car has lower mileage than a rental car, so they tend to have a higher price value. Dealerships that sell loaner cars are certified to be from new car dealerships that protect the warranty and its history of service compared to rental car agencies. It comes with benefits and up-to-date technology that will ensure your leisure and the quality of your safeness in driving. Aside from it has low mileage, minor damage, and limited options, courtesy cars can be cost-saving.

Buying a rental car can save your wallet by a significant amount. Like courtesy cars, you can also have newer models of rental cars because they are often retired early, giving them a limited warranty that could be passed to you. Since they are well maintained, you can be confident that you will buy a good quality transport that can last for years, backed up by a maintenance record. But keep in mind that there is a limited selection of models for you to choose from. Some may even suffer from minor damages. Rental cars are likely to be cheaper than loaner because of their high mileage, you may expect repairs even if they are regularly maintained.

  • Affordable
  • Quality
  • After Sales Service


Courtesy cars are branded as used cars when they are up for sale. If you’re looking for a brand new car to buy, this will save your money by hundreds or even thousands of dollars that keep the car from depreciation. And since they are not registered, once you record them, you’re technically the first owner.


Even if it has little mileage or was used before the dealer put it in the inventory, you can expect that loaner cars will still be in top-notch condition because the dealership regularly maintains them. Engine damage from cars won’t be a bother since the dealership reconditions it to a standard. Loaner cars still have their optimal performance even being used driven by others.

After Sales Service

Warranty starts when the car is registered, so you can benefit from the warranty since you are the 1st owner. Aside from the warranty, new loaner cars offer the latest automotive features and even state-of-the-art aesthetics at such a discounted price.

  • Mileage
  • Minor Damage


Dealership requires a courtesy car to be in loaner service depending on their policy. Some offer 90 days, while some exceed the days. In controlling the quality of the loaner car, mileage policies are implemented to limit the vehicle’s mileage. You should take into consideration that it may have a few hundred or thousand miles while it was in loaner fleet.

Minor Damage

You may not notice it on the surface, but if you inspect closely, you may find uneven tires, door dings, interior damage, windshield chips, scratches, and a lot of wear and tear.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, a loaner car is a temporary vehicle that a car dealership allows you to use while repairing or replacing your vehicle. A loaner car is typically a basic vehicle that includes the bare minimum of equipment. Because loaner cars are typically not driven by the general public, you shouldn’t expect the level of quality and comfort you get from a new car.

The dealership usually requires insurance, credit cards, and driver’s licenses to verify if you can use a loaner car. Buying courtesy cars can be cheaper than brand new cars because they have a few mileages before they are put for selling. Compared to rental cars, courtesy cars can be more expensive, but their benefits make every penny worth it.

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2 thoughts on “Loaner Car – What’s The Catch? (Free Car Explained)”

  1. How about car dealership having your car for repairs. For a month and upon 3 weeks of having the vehicle started calling and warning the loner vehicle back. I asked about my vehicle and what the progress has been and they said they haven’t even worked on it or touched it at all and in fact that I owed them storage fees to get it back but I needed to return their lunar vehicle back where they were and turn in stolen well that’s what they just did turned in me in for 2nd degree aggravated phony theft of a motor vehicle which carried a 3 year minimum prison sentence However they kept my car for another 2 weeks after they illegally searched and seized the loner vehicle after baiting me in and using GPS locating on the vehicle

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