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Searching for a new car can be a lot of work, especially if you want to find the perfect one – you know, comfortable on long journeys; a good investment without breaking the bank; one that looks good too.

With all that in mind, you probably want to start with a little research online. Maybe come up with a list of affordable options which match your criteria? Then head over to a car dealership, right?

Before you commit to that shiny new vehicle, as a prospective buyer, you might want to take it for a test drive to make sure you are pulling away with the best car for you.

So, do you need insurance for test driving a car?

Yes. Yes, you do.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about test driving a car without insurance, getting insured with GoShorty, and anything else you need to consider. 

Why do I need insurance coverage just to test drive a car?

The bottom line: if you are involved in a road traffic incident, the police will not act any differently just because you were on a test drive, and you will still be liable.

This means that whether you are test driving a car down winding, country roads with poor visibility or the wide-open, familiar roads of your local area, you need to make sure you are properly insured just in case there is an accident and it happens to be your fault.

Do I need a separate insurance policy for test driving cars?

Most recognised or professional car dealers will have an insurance policy in place that covers you during your test drive.

If you are using your own insurance, check the details of your insurance policy to see whether it includes driving-other-cars cover or DOC.

The reality is that DOC cover is increasingly rare. If your insurance policy does not apply during a test drive, you might choose to take out a temporary car insurance policy with GoShorty.

Buying from commercial sellers

Most commercial dealerships will have their own dealer’s insurance policy in place. This benefits them, too, since you are ultimately asking to take their valuable merchandise out for a spin, and if something goes awry, they don’t want to lose money any more than you do.

This garage liability insurance is designed to cover customers and employees in the case of vehicle accidents which take place during test drives.

Of course, if you are an insured driver with your own applicable car insurance policy, you can feel doubly at ease during your test drive. Your own policy will help protect you if there is an accident and the dealer holds you responsible.

Before you hop in the driving seat to test out your potential new car, it’s worth giving your auto insurance provider a call to check what specific coverage you are eligible for while test driving and if you are covered for vehicle and property damage.

Buying a car privately

If you are interested in test driving a car from a private seller, then insurance-wise, it’s a whole new kettle of fish, so to speak.

For one thing, there is no super-professional dealership, no comprehensive policy or catch-all blanket policy, and no one to blame but yourself if something goes wrong and you are not insured.

Get in touch with your insurance provider to check whether your existing insurance policy includes that elusive driving-other-cars clause.

If it does, it’s probably your run-of-the-mill, third-party cover only. This is not ideal because it will not cover damage to the car itself, and the private seller will likely hold you responsible.

If your policy does not include DOC or the coverage is insufficient, you might consider taking out a temporary policy, providing you with the necessary car insurance to test drive a car with peace of mind.

Depending on your insurance provider, there might be the option of adding the vehicle in question to your existing policy temporarily or, indeed, the seller adding you to their policy temporarily as a named driver.

Temporary car insurance

Temporary car insurance is exactly what it sounds like: fully comprehensive motor insurance for driving a car for a limited period of time. This flexible cover is most often a better idea than relying solely on the garage’s insurance or your own DOC clause.

Temporary driving insurance from GoShorty allows you to take out a policy for the hour(s), week(s), or month you need without interfering with or risking your existing policy.

If you need to claim on this temporary policy, the chances are it will not impinge on your annual policy’s no claims discount.

Types of temporary insurance:

GoShorty offers comprehensive cover for a limited period of time.

For a test drive, you probably only need hourly car insurance but if you plan on taking multiple test drives in a short time, compare quotes to find the best policy for you.

At GoShorty, you can apply for comprehensive insurance for:

Drive away insurance cover

Yes, you also need insurance to drive your new car home.

Drive away insurance is a type of temporary insurance which lets you get behind the wheel straight away and drive your fancy new vehicle home before you get your annual insurance policy updated.

Perhaps you had a chance to get your shiny new vehicle added to your annual insurance policy, but if not, drive-away insurance is available as a temporary policy to get you home safely and legally. After all, driving a car without insurance is never okay, not even a sparkly new one.

Often, annual insurance can start on the same day. However, temporary drive away car insurance is a good alternative to get your new vehicle. Plus, Go Shorty will grant you up to four weeks’ breathing space to set up your permanent policy in your own time.

What to look for when test driving a car

Once you have your complete bells-and-whistles car insurance set up to protect you in case of that accident which probably won’t happen, you’re just about ready to get going with that test drive!

So, what do you need to look for to make the most of your test drive:


What is the best insurance policy for a short period?

GoShorty offers hourly temporary car insurance. This will allow you to insure a new car or a used car for exactly the length of your test drive.

Hourly car insurance is a more cost-effective option than adding an extra car to your existing car insurance policy or the seller adding you as a named driver. Each of these ‘temporary’ alterations will likely last for at least a week.

Can I test drive a car if I’m still learning?

In most scenarios, you cannot test drive a car if you are still learning to drive or only have a provisional driving licence.

However, if you are buying a second-hand car from a friend or family member who is willing to let you take it for a test drive, then you can apply for temporary learner driving insurance from GoShorty.

Am I required to show proof of my insurance policy before test driving a car?

Whether or not you are asked to provide proof of your insurance will depend on whether you are taking your test drive with a dealership or buying a used car from a private seller.

Any private seller you can trust should ask about your insurance before a test drive. A dealership, however, will need to see your licence to make sure you are eligible to test drive a car, but since their own auto insurance most likely covers them, they might not need to see proof of your own.

Beware a dealership asking you to sign a waiver, which might cleverly shift blame onto you in the case of an accident during a test drive. Insurance can be a tricky thing, so even if you are itching to hop in the driver’s seat and test drive a car, make sure you read everything carefully before signing.

Get insured with GoShorty and test drive that car

Even if you are only getting into the car for a test drive, and even if you are just going around the block, you are still driving, which means you still need auto insurance.

GoShorty can help you understand different types of temporary car insurance and what you might need to test drive a car. Our handy guide to temporary car insurance, ranging from hourly to monthly, will provide you with the cover you need to test drive a car with peace of mind.