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Test drive insurance

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Test drive insurance

The insurance you need to test drive your new car

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What is test drive insurance?

We all know how important it is to try before you buy and nowhere is that more important than with a new car. Test drive insurance lets you try before you buy without any risks or worries about insurance.

When you’re looking for a new car, going for a test drive is an important step in the process of buying a car. The test drive is the first and sometimes only opportunity to see if there are any issues with the vehicle.

One of the many benefits of temporary car insurance for a test drive is the level of cover you get as standard. With fully comprehensive cover for the duration of the test drive, you’ll get complete peace of mind without affecting your existing insurance or the car seller.

With test drive insurance, you can focus on what’s important, finding out if this car is right for you.

A thorough test drive has many elements, find out more about the test drive process with our test drive guide

Do I need insurance for a test drive?

Yes, you do need insurance for a test drive. Even if it’s just a quick spin around the corner, you need to be insured to use that vehicle.

It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure whoever is driving their vehicle is properly insured to do so. If you are buying from a garage or dealership, they will likely have some form of test drive insurance, however, you must check before getting behind the wheel.

If you are caught on a test drive without insurance, you could face a range of penalties including penalty points, fines and in some cases a driving ban.

Ensure you buy a policy for the entire duration of the test drive as any second you’re not legally insured, you risk a penalty.

This is likely to be the first time you’re using the vehicle, so it’s crucial to have insurance in case the worst happens. You don’t want a 10-minute test drive to have massive repercussions on your driving, working, and financial future.

Do I need test drive insurance during a private sale?

Yes, even if you’re buying privately, you will still need to be covered by some form of insurance to drive the vehicle.

To ensure you are insured to test drive a car for sale, there are a couple of different options.

Adjust their policy. Adding yourself to the owner’s policy will allow you to drive the vehicle, but this is a long and bureaucratic process. It can be incredibly expensive with adjustment fees and it could push up their premium. Effectively, there’s a lot of risk in this for them, with only some chance of it paying off.

Buying annual insurance. You could take out a pre-emptive annual policy on the car you want to test, but this could be a costly mistake if the test drive flags up some problems and you don’t feel you can or want to purchase the vehicle.

Multi-car insurance. You could also ask your current insurance provider if they’ll allow you to drive another car as part of your cover, perhaps through a multi-car arrangement. But they may say no, reduce your level of cover you have to third-party-only or increase your annual premiums if you do.

Temporary insurance. With temporary insurance, you get a separate, standalone policy that won’t impact any existing cover and won’t affect any No Claims Discount the owner has. A temporary car insurance policy is also flexible to the duration you need. From just 1 hour up to a month depending on how long the owner lets you test drive for.

If you’re the one selling the vehicle, you have the same options as the person buying, and you’ll probably want them to take out test drive car insurance before you let them drive your car.

How do I get temporary test drive car insurance?

Getting temporary test drive car insurance from Tempcover is incredibly easy and unbelievably fast. Get your test drive car insurance 24/7 online in just 3 simple steps:

 Enter a few details about yourself and the vehicle you’re test driving

Confirm you’re happy with the price and details of your policy

Pay for your policy and get your documents emailed instantly

Can I get insurance to test drive a car?

Test drive car insurance is available to a wide range of drivers, however, as with all insurance products, you will need to meet a basic level of eligibility in order to get a quote.

To get insurance to test drive a car, you must

To get insurance to test drive a car, the car you want to test must

Be aged 17-78 years oldBe valued between £1,500 and £65,000
Hold a UK driving licence, an EU or International driving licenceBe in a roadworthy condition with a current and valid MOT (unless you are using the insurance policy to take the vehicle to a pre-booked MOT)
Have been a permanent UK resident for the last 12 months or a British expatriateThe vehicle must be taxed (unless you are using the insurance policy to obtain tax for the vehicle immediately after purchase)
Have no more than 7 licence points in the last 3 yearsNot be modified in any way except for those designed to aid disabled drivers
Have not been disqualified from driving for the last 2 yearsBe a right-hand drive car
Have no more than 2 fault claims in the last 3 yearsHave no more than 8 seats
Have no criminal convictionsNot be declared SORN
Not have had a previous policy of insurance declared void by an insurer

Please be aware that each insurer on our panel has its own eligibility criteria and so you should pay close attention to their Proposer’s Declaration.

What should I look out for when test driving a car?

It’s important you make the most of it and try to enjoy your test drive, but there’s a lot to think about and assess while you’re out there.

Whether you like the car’s appearance and how it drives will often come down to personal taste, but there are a few things you should always look out for:

  • Tyres. Are they fresh, or do they look worn and in need of replacement? If the latter is the case, you’ll want to include the cost of new tyres in your decision as to whether you purchase the car.
  • Strange noises. Keep an ear out for any unusual noises, especially where the engine is concerned. Loud knocks could be the sign of a major problem.
  • Dashboard. Check the dashboard. Ensure there are no warning lights illuminated.
  • Accelerator. Experimenting with this should give you a good idea of the health of the engine, and how powerful it is.
  • Steering. See if it works with your driving style, and also take note if there’s any pulling in one direction or delayed reaction times, as these are signs of a problem.
  • Brakes. Make a mental note of their reaction time and stopping distance. Brake pads can always be replaced if worn, but if this is needed, you’ll want to include the cost of this as a factor in whether you buy.

You’ll also want to test that the parts you use most often work properly. These areas include:

  • Air-con and heating
  • Handbrake
  • Infotainment systems
  • Windscreen wipers
  • Headlights
  • Electric windows
  • Folding seats

There are plenty of other aspects of test driving good practice. You should always get set up properly behind the wheel for your size and posture, as the current set-up of the seats and mirrors may not be suited to you.

While on the road, aim to try the car on a variety of routes, from small narrow lanes to large, busy carriageways. And most importantly of all, don’t pay afraid to ask the owner lots of questions.

Insurance for driving home a new car

Like what you saw on the test drive? You might choose to buy the car there and then. If you are, you can also use temporary car insurance to drive the vehicle home.

For safety and security when driving away your new purchase, get fully comprehensive drive away insurance from Tempcover.

Buying a new car is an incredibly exciting event, and the last thing you want to do is sit on the side of the road organising annual insurance. Give yourself time to find the best annual policy while still being able to drive your new set of wheels around.

With temporary cover available for up to one month, you have plenty of time to enjoy your new car while you arrange ongoing cover.

The cover you need for the duration you want

Full cover,
no impact

Get fully comprehensive cover on our standard short term policies - plus it won't affect your no claims discount

Hourly, daily, weekly

Choose the duration you want with 1-12 hour and 1-28 day cover available - don't pay for cover you don't need

All customised, nothing added

Customise your policy to suit your specific situation - get the policy you want and even choose the minute you want your policy to begin

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