Can I Get A Camper Van on Motability?

It is almost time for me to start a new lease with the Motability Scheme. I have been wondering if it was possible to get a Camper Van on Motability so I thought others might be looking for an answer to this same question too. My current lease ends in December, but there is a long lead in time for ordering new cars due to delays caused by the Covid Pandemic and Brexit. Here’s what I managed to find out.

At this moment in time, it is not possible to get a Camper Van on Motability, bummer. However, there are some creative ways to get around this, which we’ll discuss below, so read on.

What is the Motability Scheme?

Rather than me trying to explain what I think the Motability Scheme is, here’s an explanation straight from the horses mouth, the Motability Scheme website:

The Motability Scheme enables people to get mobile by exchanging their mobility allowance to lease a new Car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), Mobility Scooter or Powered Wheelchair.

The Motability Scheme is a registered charity that aims to get people who are in receipt of certain allowances suitable transport.

The scheme allows those in receipt of qualifying allowances to enter into a 3 year contract to exchange those allowances, or a part of them, for the lease of a vehicle in order to allow them to gain more independence through mobility.

You may be eligible to join the Motability Scheme if you are in receipt of a current UK higher rate mobility allowance. Qualifying Allowances are:

  • Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP)
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA)
  • Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Adult Disability Payment
  • Higher Rate Mobility Component of Child Disability Payment
  • War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

I qualify to be a member of the Motability Scheme through being in receipt of War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) due to injuries I sustained when serving in the Marines.

I currently receive £72.00 a week which I exchange in full for a Car. The Car is brand new when you get it, with zero miles on the clock. Servicing, Tyres, any Upgrades needed and Fully Comprehensive Insurance are all included in the Lease Agreement.

You are permitted to drive for 20,000 miles a year, or a total of 60,000 miles over the length of the lease without penalty, which is extremely generous. I have never gone above 45,000 miles and I have had 3 consecutive cars with the scheme.

The staff who are employed by the Motability Scheme are extremely helpful and the Legal Team even allowed me to take my UK Registered Car to Spain while we lived there with special permission and a modified lease agreement. I simply had to pay for servicing, tyres and repairs locally and reclaim the money that I had spent.

I have found the scheme incredibly helpful in allowing me to be mobile, and I will continue to use it for as long as I am permitted, which should be the rest of my life, hopefully a long time!

Why Doesn’t The Motability Scheme Allow You To Lease Fully Converted Camper Vans?

Can You Get A Camper Van On Motability - No Camper Vans

There doesn’t appear to be a reason that I can find as to why you can’t have a Camper Van on Motability. I can only guess that it is due to the cost of procuring a new Camper Van being too high to fit into the scheme’s parameters.

Below is the only statement that I could find relating to Mobile Homes on the entire Motability Website, which is a pretty comprehensive site:

Currently it is not possible to lease a motor home or a caravan through Motability. If you wish to use your Motability Vehicle to tow a caravan, you will need to arrange insurance and breakdown cover for this separately.

How Can I Legally Get Around The Rules Preventing Me From Leasing A Camper Van On Motability?

Although you are not permitted to have a Camper Van on Motability, you are permitted to have a Car or Van with the Motability Scheme that is suited to be a Camper Van.

Recently I have discovered that several companies are making Modular Camper Van Conversions, especially for smaller sized Cars and Vans.

Can You Get A Camper Van On Motability - Camper Van Module

These are basically kits that can be slotted into an empty Car or Van without any modification to the vehicle itself, other than possibly removing a row of rear seats, which can easily be put back without damage.

So, in my thinking, (this isn’t something I have done, it’s only a theory for now) I could lease a suitable Car or Van, a model that currently has a company making a specific modular kit for it, use the vehicle as a normal vehicle for the majority of it’s life, and also fit the modular kit when I want to use it as a Camper Van, returning the Van to it’s normal state when I return.

Ok, to make things simpler, here’s a full breakdown on how I believe it can be done.

The Camper Van On Motability Case Study

There are three of us in our family. Me, the wife and our daughter. This immediately raised a concern. A lot of the Camper Van Modular Conversions required the Rear Seats to be removed, so one of us would have nowhere to sit.

It soon became apparent that the criteria I needed to search for, in our case, was going to be:

  • Is there a suitable Van or Car around with 3 front seats?
  • Can the Vehicle be leased on the Motability Scheme?
  • Is there a Company making a Modular Camper Van Kit for this Vehicle
  • Is the Modular Camper Van Kit affordable?

Is there a suitable Van or Car around with 3 front seats?

I was almost certain that some vehicles, especially a couple of Vans that I have been in before, have indeed had three front seats.

Time for a bit of internet searching. A few minutes later I had a couple of contenders, there were probably several more, but I only really needed to find one for my theoretical case study to go ahead.

The Citroen Berlingo has three front seats and three rear seats, as does the Peugeot Partner.

Can the Vehicle be leased on the Motability Scheme?

The next step was to see if either of these vehicles were available on the Motability Scheme. A quick search revealed that they could both be leased through the scheme. I decided to stick with the Citroen Berlingo for simplicity, as it was simply the first one that I came across.

Do any Companies make a Modular Camper Van Kit for the Citroen Berlingo?

Yes they do. I quickly came across this Modular Camper Van Kit for the Citroen Berlingo from Simple Camper Vans. Click the Link to view the full details.

Can You Get A Camper Van On Motability - Modular Camper Van Conversion

Is the Modular Camper Van Kit affordable?

Oh yes, it is certainly affordable. The kit comes in at between £459 and £669 depending on how comprehensive a kit you require, and it can even be paid for in 3 monthly payments.

So, my theoretical way to get a Camper Van on Motability appears to be possible. It only remains for someone to try it and put it to the test.

Is there another way to get a Camper Van on Motability or Mobility Allowance?

Actually, yes there is, in a roundabout way. As you would normally use your Mobility Allowance to exchange it for the lease of a vehicle through the scheme, you could instead simply not use the actual Motability Scheme and use your mobility allowance that you receive (in my case £72.00 a week) to take out a vehicle loan, and then use that money to buy a Camper Van.

Can You Get A Camper Van On Motability - Camper Van Loans

As I get £72 a week, and there are 4.2 weeks in a month, I could use my full monthly mobility allowance, which would come to £302.40 to take out a five year unsecured loan at a representative 8.5% interest rate, and borrow £14,848.69 according to Money Supermarket’s online calculator.

That amount of money, just over £14k, could buy me a decent second hand Camper Van that should also have a sell on value at the end of the 5 years.

You would of course have the additional costs of paying for any Servicing, Repairs and Insurance that are normally included in the package with the Motability Scheme. You would have to pay for these yourself.

Getting A Camper Van On Motability – Summary

So as you have just read, at this moment in time, you can’t directly lease a Camper Van on Motability. However, if you are prepared to be a bit creative, there are ways around this, without doing anything underhand or illegal by fitting a modular conversion kit when you need it.

Alternatively, if you are in receipt of a mobility payment of some sort, you could also simply allocate the funds that you would be using to pay the monthly lease charges on a vehicle, across to a loan instead, and buy a Camper Van outright.

Having limits to your mobility is no reason to stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Owning a Camper Van certainly aids you in having an outdoors lifestyle.

I personally spend the majority of my life doing exactly that, being outdoors. I would definitely recommend an outdoors lifestyle to anyone.