If you are test driving a car you will need insurance

Test driving a car we may want to buy is absolutely essential, and for that we need insurance.

Most of we motorists, probably mistakenly, think that we know a few things about cars, and we can tell the difference between a super bargain and a pile of steaming junk. Even so, it is difficult not to feel apprehensive when going to buy a second-hand car, particularly from a Private Seller, because it is so easy to get sold a duff one. Certainly we can take a good look at it and be driven around in it by the owner, but there is no substitute for sitting in the car our selves and taking it for a test drive.

Although this sounds fairly simple there are all sorts of complications, not least of all the question of insurance. Even if the vendor is willing to let you take the car for a spin round the block, with or without himself in the passenger seat, there is the ever present danger that in an unfamiliar car you could have even the slightest of accidents which could still cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage to the vehicle. You may think that this would be covered by your fully comprehensive car insurance on your old car, but you would be mistaken. There are indeed a number of insurance companies which extend cover to vehicles that are not belonging to the policyholder; but these almost inevitably cover third-party only risks, which means that if the car was involved in a bump whilst you were driving at the insurance company would pay for any damage or injury that you caused to other people, but not to the car that you were driving or any occupants! This could make a vendor extremely reluctant to allow you to have a test drive.


Looking at it from your point of view, it is one thing being driven around the block by someone else but a different thing altogether when you can sit in the driver's seat and take it for a spin, and find out how it accelerates, how good the steering is, how well the brakes work yourself.

There is an answer to this. When you go to look at a car that you are seriously thinking of buying you are contemplating an investment of, at the very least, hundreds and possibly thousands of pounds. Is it not worth your while phoning the vendor to find out the car's registration details, and then arranging a single day's fully comprehensive insurance on it? You will be showing to the vendor that you are a serious potential purchaser, and you will be giving yourself the chance to legally take the wheel and satisfy yourself that the car is the right one for you. It would cost you a little money, but this would fade into insignificance against what it would cost you if you bought a car, without insuring it for a test drive, which in fact turned out to be a lemon.

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