1. Home
  2. Car insurance
  3. Test drive insurance

Test drive insurance

Compare test drive insurance quotes

We've partnered with Tempcover to compare a range of short term insurers

  • Get a 1 hour test drive policy from just £20*

  • Find cover from 1 hour up to 28 days 

  • Get covered instantly

*Based on Confused.com data from Tempcover average policy purchase prices in September 2023.

Do you need insurance to test drive a car?

You need insurance to test drive a car as you can’t legally drive on the road without having a valid policy.

Test driving a car without car insurance could land you with a £300 fine and 6 penalty points on your licence, and could even result in a ban or unlimited fine if the case goes to court. Even if you’re already insured on your own car, you still need to buy additional cover while you’re test driving another vehicle.

If you’re test driving a car at a dealership, check if they're supplying insurance to cover you while you take a test drive.

If you’re buying privately, you need to arrange your own insurance policy before you can start driving the car.

How does test drive insurance work?

Test drive car insurance provides cover for you to try out a car before buying it, and can also cover you to drive it home if you decide to buy it straight away. It’s a type of temporary car insurance so you can choose to be covered for as little as 1 hour all the way up to 28 days.

It’s only available as a comprehensive policy, so you're covered for any damage you cause to the car you’re test driving. This is as well as any damage caused to a third party or their property.

Test drive insurance is a separate insurance policy. So even if you have to make a claim, it doesn't affect any no claims bonus you have on your standard car insurance policy.

Can you drive a new car home without insurance?

No - you need to insure your new car before you drive it home. If you’re driving straight home after a test drive, and the policy you bought for it is still active, you can drive home under the same policy.

There are a couple of options available to you if you need to arrange new cover for the car to drive it home:

Buy a drive away insurance policy to cover you to drive the car home, which also gives you more time to find the best insurance deal. You need to extend your temporary insurance or declare your car SORN after your policy expires until you’re ready to fully insure it.

Buy an annual car insurance policy as soon as you buy the car, which means you're fully insured straight away. But if you need to return the car for any reason, you may have to pay a cancellation fee.

Do I need insurance for an extended test drive?

Yes - extended test drives last longer than your typical trip around the block so you need to make sure you’re insured. Some extended test drives can last as long as 7 days. 

They’re usually only offered by dealerships, as private sellers are less likely to let you keep their car for a week. You might not have to buy test drive insurance for extended test drives as the dealership often has its own insurance in place.

While this should cover you, it’s always worth checking before you start driving. If you do need to arrange it yourself, you can buy extended test drive insurance for as long as 28 days.

Compare cheap test drive insurance quotes in minutes

Does comprehensive insurance cover driving other cars?

Not always. While some fully comprehensive annual car insurance policies include a driving other cars (DOC) clause, it's not as common as it used to be.

DOC clauses aren't intended to be used regularly and there are likely to be limitations on when you'll be covered, so always check your policy documents to see what's included.

DOC may not cover test drives, so you'll still need to arrange your own cover. With test drive insurance you get comprehensive cover, while DOC clauses only offer third party protection. This means if you were to crash on your test drive and only had DOC cover, you'd need to pay for any repairs needed.

What our expert says

"It takes less than 2 minutes to find test drive cover, so you’ll be able to set it up even if you’re already at the dealership or with a private seller. Driving without cover could land you with points, a fine or worse so it’s just not worth the risk, especially if you’re driving an unfamiliar car."

Marc Pell, Managing Director at Tempcover
Managing Director | Tempcover

Can you test drive a SORN car?

No - if a car has been declared off-road with a SORN, it’s illegal for anyone to drive it, even for a test drive. Before you can drive the car, the owner has to remove the SORN and get it taxed. You then need to get test drive insurance before you can drive the car.

If you buy a car with a SORN, you’d need to tax and insure it yourself before you can drive it home. 

Who is Tempcover?

Our trusted partner Tempcover is a leading provider of short-term car insurance and has been helping customers find temporary cover for over a decade. 

They compare fully comprehensive insurance policies from a range of insurers to help you find the cover you need.

Tempcover logo

What do I need to get test drive insurance?

To get a temporary car insurance quote from Tempcover for a test drive, you’ll need:

Personal details:

  • Your name and address
  • Details of your licence and driving history

Car details:

  • Details of the car you'd like to insure
  • When you'd like the cover to start
  • How much the car is worth - Tempcover don't cover cars with a value below £1500

Tempcover will compare temporary car insurance policies from their panel of insurers and show you the quote that best suits your needs. 

Types of car insurance

Car insurance guides

See all car insurance guides

Page last reviewed: 05 October 2023

Reviewed by: Marc Pell

Confused.com's temporary cover solution is provided by Tempcover LTD. Tempcover LTD are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 746985. Tempcover LTD is registered in England No. 9923259 at office: 2nd floor, Admiral House, Harington Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 4BB. Confused.com is an intermediary and receives a percentage of commission received by Tempcover LTD.