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Think you’ve found the perfect set of wheels? Whether it’s a new car or something with a few miles on it, there’s no better way to decide if it’s the one for you than to take it out for a spin. But before you do, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly covered with car insurance, like short term car insurance.

Test driving isn’t just about getting a feel for the car. It’s also an important part of evaluating the reliability and safety of your potential ride. It allows you to check out the performance of the car first-hand.

You can see how it feels on different road surfaces and winding turns, as well as check out any special features like cruise control. Plus, you can get an idea of how comfortable the ride is and whether it works for you. Because after all, you’ll be the one driving it. 

It’s easy to be dazzled by aesthetics alone, but looks aren’t enough here.  After testing out several cars within your price range side-by-side, it will be much easier for you to narrow down which one works best for you based on feel rather than just looks alone.  


But, while test-driving is important when buying a car, it’s still your responsibility to make sure you have the correct insurance in place to drive it. 

Person in orange with blue car and trees and sun in the background.

Why would you need insurance to test-drive a car?

If you’re buying from a major car dealer, then they may have insurance in place to allow you to test drive their cars. You should always double-check though because it’s on you if you drive without insurance. 

But if Keith down the pub is selling his car and you’re really keen to buy it, then you might find he doesn’t have car insurance that would cover you to test-drive it. 

In the UK, it’s illegal to drive without the proper car insurance in place and this is especially important when it comes to taking a spin in someone else’s car. Imagine if you wreck it. Could you ever look Keith in the eye again? Think a pint would solve it? Think again. 

Even if Keith has his own policy and gives you permission to drive his car, chances are, your own insurance won’t cover you if something were to happen. Even if your car insurance covers you to drive other cars, this usually comes with all sorts of limitations and restrictions. And it will almost never extend to test-driving someone else’s car. 

The good news is that there are now plenty of insurers who offer temporary car insurance policies.  These policies provide cover for periods as short as one hour – so as long as the car is MOT’d, taxed, and roadworthy, you can go ahead and test-drive it. 

A small word of caution though – while you might trust Keith with your life, if you’re planning on test-driving multiple cars, you should always exercise caution. As in, if you’re meeting strangers from the internet to check out their cars, make sure they’re legit. Ideally, meet in a public place, or at least bring a friend to the appointment. 

Also, get the car’s reg before you head over to check that it’s got an MOT and make sure it’s taxed. If it isn’t, you won’t be able to test-drive it anyway, which might defeat the purpose.

Man with blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

How to take out a temporary car insurance policy to test-drive a car

A temporary car insurance policy can last anywhere between an hour and a few weeks. It’s a super flexible policy that can usually be arranged in minutes allowing you to take your potential new ride for a spin quickly. 

This type of policy offers comprehensive cover. But, there are some important differences between comprehensive cover offered by temporary car insurance and fully comprehensive cover offered by annual policies. As is always the case, you need to check the details before buying. 

In general though, a temporary car insurance policy is a great choice if you want to test-drive a car. With Zixty, for example, all you have to do is download the app, scan your licence, and fill out a few details about yourself to get a quote.

Blue hatchback car with trees and the sun in the background

Test-driving a car with Zixty’s temporary car insurance policy

Zixty can get you on the road in minutes with a policy that could last as little as an hour. As long as you have the owner’s permission (duh), you can hit the road safe in the knowledge that you’re insured to drive the car. 

And while you’re test-driving your potential new ride, you could be doing your bit for the planet too. Zixty isn’t just super flexible and quick to arrange. We also offer a free add-on called Zixty Miles which, when enabled, carbon offsets all your journeys up to 100 miles a day. Yup, we plant trees while you drive.

Also, we plant a tree every time you take out a policy too. So if you’re planning on test-driving five separate cars, that’s five trees you could help plant. And that’s excluding all the carbon offsetting benefits.