Before buying a new car, taking a test drive is imperative. Not only does it give potential buyers the peace of mind that there are no underlying issues, but it also allows sellers to demonstrate the full capabilities of the vehicle – something that is not possible when just parked on a lot.
Why is a test drive important?
Taking a test drive is probably the most important part of the car buying process. It allows you to fully examine the vehicle and asses any issues, as well as get a feel as to whether it is right for you. Some faults, like a slipping clutch, for example, can only be noticed when driving a car.
Knowing all of the information upfront means that you can be sure you are making the right decision and spending your hard-earned cash on something that is worth it. You don’t want to drive the vehicle away, only to find on the way home there are issues you could have noticed on a test drive. This can leave you with an unexpected bill, and especially in the case of privately sold vehicles, it may not be possible to negotiate a return or compensation.
Traditionally, test drives involved a 30-minute drive around a pre-determined route with a salesman in tow. These days, however, there are many different types of test drives, including private tests, 24-hour tests and even in some cases a week-long test drive. This means that having flexible insurance is essential, as you can be covered for the exact length of time you need.
Do you need insurance to test drive a car?
Whenever you are driving a car, and for however long, you need insurance cover. This includes test drives, where you legally must be covered to drive the vehicle for the length of time the test drive lasts.
When test driving a car, you are getting to know the vehicle and its controls, making it even more important you are properly insured. Investing in short term car insurance makes sure you are covered for your trip in case of an accident, without it affecting your no claims bonus.
Do I need test drive insurance for a private sale?
If you are test driving cars privately, you will still need insurance. Although you can be added onto the seller’s private insurance, it is a long process that can incur fees and will affect their no claims bonus if there is an accident.
Temporary car insurance not only means the price will likely be much cheaper, but it also won’t affect either the driver or seller’s no claims bonus.
I have ‘drive other vehicle’ cover, do I need separate insurance to test drive?
If you have ‘drive other vehicle cover’ you will be already insured to test drive a car. However, this will only be 3rd party cover so you won’t be covered for repairs if there’s an accident. Temporary test drive insurance gives you comprehensive cover, meaning repairs can be paid for should they be needed.
How to get insurance to test drive a car
Who is eligible for test drive insurance?
Test drive insurance can be set up in a matter of minutes. Drivers must be between 18 and 75 and hold a full UK, EU, EEA, Australian, New Zealand, South African or Swiss driving licence (and have done so for at least six months).
To apply for test drive insurance, you will also need:
- your name, address, DOB and email address
- the registration number of the car you are test driving
- your passport number (for non-UK, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man drivers)
What vehicles can be covered for test drive insurance?
Temporary car insurance is great for a range of vehicles. The vehicle you are test driving must be registered in Great Britain, Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man. It must have a current market value of less than £75,000. It must have no more than 8 seats (including the driver’s).
It also cannot be covered if it has had any engine modifications, body kits or alloy wheels fitted after manufacture, unless fitted to carry a disabled driver or passenger.
For more information on the exact vehicle restrictions in place, be sure to consult our car insurance acceptance criteria.
Driving away a car you have just bought
If you have just bought a car, first of all, congratulations! We know how exciting it is to get a new vehicle, and you’ll want to make sure you have drive away insurance in place as quickly as possible so you can get your new wheels home with peace of mind.
Taking out temporary car insurance to cover your trip home means you can give yourself some time to set up your permanent insurance without having to leave your car on the lot.
Learn more about drive away insurance here: How to drive home a car I just bought in the UK?