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At last, you’ve found yourself the perfect new car. It’s comfortable, easy to manoeuvre, cost-effective, and looks good too. All is right with the world. Only, you probably want to take it for a thorough test drive, just to be extra sure… right?

What Is A Test Drive?

Traditionally, a test drive is an on-the-go sales pitch where you drive, accompanied by an employee from the car dealership, who will explain the various fabulous features the vehicle has to offer.

While test drives can be a way for car dealers to showcase a list of premium features, it is also the perfect chance for you to test your potential new car and make extra sure that it’s the right choice for you.

Do You Need Test Drive Car Insurance?

The short answer? Yes, whether it’s your own annual policy or short-term car insurance, you need some sort of cover.

You might only be testing the vehicle – hey, you might only be taking it for a spin around the block! – but the moment you hop into that driver’s seat and flick the ignition, you need insurance cover.

Even when test driving a car, you must ensure the proper insurance cover for the full test drive experience. For every second you are behind that wheel without insurance, you risk penalty points, a fine or even a driving ban… and suddenly, that fancy new car you wanted? Yeah, you can go ahead and wave goodbye to that.

Why do you need car insurance for a test drive?

That road traffic accident probably won’t happen, right?

Except what if it does?

What if there is an accident and you are the one in the driving seat?

You’ll need to make sure you have the right insurance policy to cover you, even if you are only taking the car out for a test drive because if you are the one driving, you might be liable for responsibility.

Also, bear in mind that during a test drive, you are getting used to a brand new car and a brand new set of controls, so statistically, there is a greater chance of an accident than if you were driving a car you are more familiar with.

Whose responsibility is test drive car insurance?


Some people might say that it is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure that whoever is driving their car is properly insured to do so but think of it this way: if you are pulled over by the police and you are the one driving, then you are going to be the one in trouble.

An official dealership ought to have each vehicle legally insured to test drive. Similarly, a trustworthy private seller ought to ensure that any vehicle they are selling is fully covered for test driving but ultimately, responsibility for your insurance rests with you.

Temporary Car Insurance

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Temporary car insurance is a quick, easy option that will cover you for the full length of your test drive experience, be it hours, days or a week.

Temporary car insurance with fully comprehensive cover is available from GoShorty, and the best part is that you can customise your own cover to fit exactly how long you need it to!

Types of temporary car insurance cover

GoShorty offers comprehensive cover for a limited period of time.

For a test drive, you probably only need hourly car insurance, but if you are planning on taking multiple test drives in a short time or if your test drive is due to last a day or more, you can compare quotes to find the best policy for you.

At GoShorty, you can apply for comprehensive insurance for:

Temporary Insurance

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Using Your Annual Policy for a Test Drive

Before embarking on a test drive, it is worth contacting your insurance provider to find out whether or not your annual policy contains a driving other vehicles (DOV) clause. If it does, then chances are you are already covered for your test drive.

If not, then depending on your insurance policy, you might be able to add a multi-car arrangement to test drive this new vehicle on your existing insurance policy.

If they agree to this, there is the chance that they might reduce cover to third-party coverage, which will not include any damages to the vehicle as well as possibly increasing your insurance premiums.



Getting The Right Test Drive Car Insurance

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Whether you are testing out a car from a dealership or a private seller, you still need test drive insurance.

However, a professional dealership is likely to have properly insured every vehicle on their lot for test driving since they also stand to lose out in the event of an accident.

A private seller might not have any test drive insurance set up.

Buying from a dealership

Any reputable dealer you would want to buy a car from will have some test drive insurance coverage in place; however, it is good practice to speak to your own insurance company first, just in case the dealership test drive insurance does not extend comprehensive coverage.

Buying through a private sale

Test drive insurance is even more important if you are testing out a car from a private seller since they will not have the professional coverage of a car dealership, and there is always the possibility that the car is faulty and the seller is attempting to fleece you into a bad deal.

There are a couple of ways to obtain test drive insurance for a private sale:

What to Look For During a Test Drive

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When you are buying a new car, you want to make extra certain that it is the car for you. Before committing to the purchase, take it for a test drive to make sure you feel comfortable; could you drive this car on a long trip?

If you are buying from a dealership, then you probably just want to test the car out to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your family, but if you are buying from a private seller, there are a few more things to look out for:

Test-driving an electric car

With an electric car, you might need to keep it for a day or two to make sure it is compatible with your lifestyle, especially if you are switching to electric for the first time.

Not every seller or dealership will facilitate this but as electric cars are gaining popularity, more and more understand the need for potential buyers to keep them overnight; test the charging time and the range. Can you make it to work and back on a single charge?

For all vehicles, petrol or electric, take a look at Haynes’s comprehensive list of what to look out for when you test drive vehicles.


Can a learner driver test drive a car?

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.

Who can apply for temporary car insurance cover?

At GoShorty, most private drivers who have held a valid UK driving licence for at least 6 months, have not violated an insurance certificate or made in excess of 2 claims during the past 3 years will be eligible to apply for temporary cover.

Read more about exactly who can apply for temporary driving insurance from GoShorty.

How long does a test drive take?

The average test drive takes between 15 minutes and 30 minutes, although some dealerships are willing to let you test the car for a few hours or, in special circumstances, even a few days.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are test driving a used or a brand new vehicle, test drive insurance is an absolute must for every moment you are behind that wheel.

Drivers have a few options when it comes to test drive insurance, including:

A temporary insurance certificate is often the easiest, most cost-effective option with the most comprehensive cover.

Temporary car insurance allows you to pay just one single charge to insure the car you plan on test driving for exactly the length of time you need. Better yet, any claim made on this temporary policy will not affect your existing, no claims bonus!

Whether you decide to apply for temporary insurance or go a different route, before you test drive any cars, make sure you are fully covered to do so because if that ‘probably won’t happen’ accident does happen, that money you were saving for your new set of wheels could disappear very quickly with very little to show for it.