CASH-for-car drivers who make their own insurance arrangements are often being provided with courtesy cars totally unsuitable for the work driving they undertake while their own cars are being repaired, industry experts are warning.
The problem has been identified by insurance experts who say employees who use their own cars for business often fall outside of sophisticated accident and claims management arrangements, negotiated by fleets.
As a result, fleet decision-makers could assume drivers are in a safe car that they have approved for use on business journeys, when in fact the driver is putting himself and other road-users at risk.
Colin Thomson, head of business development at ABS Accident Solutions, said: 'Almost all personal motor insurance policies, even those that provide business cover, specify that a 'group A' car will be provided in the event of an accident. The fact is these cars are unsuitable for many kinds of business driving. It is not uncommon to find a cash-for-car driver who covers 40,000 miles a year who spends weeks pounding the motorways in a courtesy city car while his or her car is being repaired.
'This raises several negative issues. The first is that the courtesy car will usually be provided on a limited mileage basis, usually 50 miles per day with an excess for each additional mile.
'The second is a health and safety point because these vehicles are not really designed for this kind of intensive usage, and are not suitable if the driver regularly carries passengers or samples of some kind.
'The third is that it presents the wrong picture in the company car park with some image-conscious industries.'
There are several solutions to the problem, Thomson argues, but all of them have a price tag attached that must be picked up by the employer or their employee.
Thomson said: 'If you're an employer that has high-mileage cash-for-car drivers, it would be a responsible move to specify that they always drive a 'group C' car or higher. However, the easiest solution, and the one that we see most often, is for the driver to upgrade the 'group A' car to something more suitable.'