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How a simple test drive could get your car crushed

Why test drive insurance is so important

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A recent survey on the automotive social media platform DriveTribe, suggests that nearly 70% of people mistakenly believe they would be covered for insurance purposes, when test-driving a private vehicle for sale.

According to the survey, 38% of people believe that their existing fully comprehensive coverage would permit them to drive someone else’s car on a third-party basis. While a further 30% think they would be covered to test drive, as long as they have the owner beside them in the car.

Tempcover’s CEO Alan Inskip explains that “it used to be commonplace for insurance companies to include a ‘Driving other Vehicles’ extension that enabled drivers with a fully comprehensive policy, to drive another car on a third-party basis. Nowadays DOV coverage is the exception rather than the rule and, where it does exist, it has always been intended for emergency uses only, rather than test driving a car for sale.”

Seller’s responsibility

While it is the car sellers’ responsibility to check that the person test driving their car has suitable insurance coverage, if an uninsured driver is stopped by the police, both the owner and the driver could be liable for a minimum six penalty points, a fixed fine of £300 and the owner might also see their vehicle impounded. Should the matter go to court, it could be up to 8-penalty points, a potential unlimited fine and the possibility that the vehicle might be crushed.”

Despite these hefty penalties, the DriveTribe survey suggests that 12% of survey respondents would be prepared to take the risk and would not bother getting test drive coverage.

Only 11.2% of respondents said they would contact their existing insurer to extend their coverage for a test drive, while 8.7% said that they would take out temporary insurance to cover them specifically for the test drive.

Commenting on the survey, Jonathan Morris CEO of DriveTribe, said “this survey suggests there is a pressing need for the insurance industry to educate the mass of drivers who assume that policies of old still exist today.”

“With 2.7m vehicles sold privately each year, there are clearly large numbers of people inadvertently or perhaps deliberately breaking the law each time a test drive takes place.”

Given temporary insurance can be purchased from around £8.99 an hour and the whole process takes under 2-minutes to complete online, getting coverage is easier and cheaper than ever.

It is also a process that can help to reinforce a bond of trust between buyer and seller, something that can make the car transaction a great deal easier to manage.