Aerial View of a Range of Cars in a Car Park

Don’t make these common insurance mistakes when buying a second-hand car, expert warns

Driving without insurance is a serious matter and could result in a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points if you’re caught.   

Britain’s used car market is thriving, with car transactions growing 5.1% in 2023 according to a report by SMMT.

In fact, of the 7 million used car transactions counted, the Ford Fiesta is the most popular model, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Golf.

Second-hand cars can be a better option financially for new drivers amidst the recent price increases for road tax and car insurance.

However, it is essential to be well-informed and prepared before going ahead with a potential purchase to avoid any costly errors.

This includes looking into insurance cover to check your eligibility and the price for the car you’re about to view. It may also be beneficial to book short-term cover ahead of visiting a private seller so that you can test-drive the vehicle.

Nicholas Shaw, temporary car insurance expert and our Director of Operations has shared everything you need to know to avoid making simple second-hand car insurance mistakes:

Do I need car insurance to test drive a car?

You need to be covered with valid car insurance even if you’re just test driving a car.

Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states: “a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road [or other public place] unless there is in force in relation to the use of the vehicle by that person such a policy of insurance”

This law applies to all road users, regardless of whether you own the vehicle you are driving or not. Even if the vehicle itself is insured, if you’re not correctly insured to drive it, you could be penalised.

It’s worth checking your existing policy first, as you may already have driving-other-cars (DOC) included in your current annual insurance.

However, this is not as common as it once was so it’s important not to assume this without checking first.

If you don’t already have this cover, some car dealerships may already have their own policy for test driving in place but it’s best to confirm this first.

However, those buying from private sellers must steer on the side of caution.  You must be insured on the vehicle before test driving or driving it after purchasing.

Do I need car insurance to drive my new car home?

The law is very clear that every motorist who drives on a public road must be insured. Furthermore, it doesn’t differentiate between seasoned car owners and those who have only just purchased one a few minutes ago.

This means that driving your car home before setting up your insurance is illegal. In fact, you need to be insured from the second you drive on a public road.

Drive away insurance is a type of temporary car insurance which can be a more convenient way to ensure you are covered. It gives drivers the opportunity to be a bit more flexible when deciding on a second-hand car.

If you are buying from a car dealership, it is worth asking if they offer complimentary drive away cover as part of their service. Otherwise, you can also easily arrange this yourself, by getting a quote from a trusted temporary car insurance provider.

Nicholas added: “Driving without valid insurance is a serious offence and could result in costly fines, confiscation of the vehicle and a licence suspension. It may also make purchasing insurance in the future more expensive and reduce the number of options available to you.

It is not worth taking this risk, even if you think you will only be driving for a very short time.

A much better, and legal, alternative is drive away insurance which can start in as little as 15 minutes before driving away and gives you the flexibility you need to test drive or pick up a new car.

Temporary car insurance can be prearranged and scheduled ahead of time so you can focus on your purchase without having to worry whether the right insurance cover will be in place.”

While booking short-term insurance, it’s also crucial to ensure the car is taxed at point of purchase, which can be done online at the website.

For more information about drive away car insurance, please visit:

About Dayinsure

Dayinsure’s drive away insurance is essential if you’ve purchased a new car and want to drive it home right away and is perfect whether you need to drive a new car from the forecourt or a used car from a private seller.

Dayinsure’s flexible learner insurance policies cover you from 1 day to 5 months, depending on your needs, and can be arranged in minutes.

For more information, please visit: