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When you plan on buying a new car, test driving vehicles will almost always be a part of the process. Luckily, you do not need insurance to test drive a car, as it should be provided by the dealership or the private seller you’re working with.
We’ve reviewed all major industry players to determine the best auto insurance options overall. By comparing quotes from top providers, you’ll have an easier time finding competitive rates for a vehicle once you’ve decided to purchase it.
Am I Covered by Dealership Insurance During a Test Drive?
In most cases, the dealership’s insurance will cover you during a test drive. Most dealerships insure every single vehicle in their inventory to protect themselves financially, and many have additional plans such as garage liability insurance in place as well.
Always Confirm That You’re Covered
Despite dealership car insurance typically offering coverage during a test drive, it’s smart to confirm this before taking a vehicle out. You don’t want to get into an accident during the test drive only to discover that you are financially liable for the damages.
What If the Dealership Makes You Sign a Waiver?
Many dealerships and commercial sellers ask motorists to sign a waiver before test driving their cars as an extra financial precaution. The dealer’s car insurance coverage will likely still protect you, but make sure that the waiver says so.
It’s smart to read through the waiver before you test drive a car as it may include disclaimers or mention important details. This is the best way for you to confirm that you won’t be held liable for damages if the vehicle ends up in an accident.
Do I Need Insurance During a Test Drive With a Private Seller?
You don’t usually need insurance to test drive a car from a private party as long as the seller carries auto insurance. You will be covered under their personal policy if you were given permission to drive their car.
To ensure that you are being covered, ask the private seller to write and sign a statement permitting you to drive their vehicle. This will make sure that their insurance company cannot deny a claim by stating that you were not given permission to drive the car.
How Can I Get Insurance for a Test Drive If It’s Needed?
If you happen to test drive a car that’s not covered by insurance, you will at least need to buy temporary auto insurance coverage. The best option for this is to purchase nonowner auto insurance, which covers you while driving someone else’s car.
You may also want to get nonowner coverage if the dealership asks you to sign a waiver that releases it from insurance obligations. At the very least, contact an auto insurance agent to make sure that you’re covered during the test drive.
Those who need short-term insurance while car shopping should consider buying a cheap car insurance policy that only includes minimum coverage. A simple way to reduce the price of temporary auto insurance is by increasing the deductible on your coverage plan.
Can I Buy a Car Without Insurance?
You don’t always need auto insurance to test drive a car, but you will need coverage before buying the vehicle. Nearly every state has laws that force you to either meet or exceed minimum coverage requirements. It’s typically illegal to drive a car home without insurance.
In fact, dealerships will not even let you drive a newly purchased car off the lot without proof of insurance. You also won’t be able to finance a car unless you show that it’s adequately insured. Private sellers, however, are less likely to ask you for proof of insurance.
It’s illegal to drive an uninsured car, and you could face legal consequences if pulled over or financial consequences if you get into an accident. Those who already have a previous car insurance policy may have a weeklong grace period before adding a new vehicle or used car to their policy, though.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
When getting insurance or changing your auto insurance policy, we suggest looking at GEICO, USAA and Progressive. Compare multiple auto insurance quotes to learn which providers offer cheap and high-quality plans that will provide peace of mind to prospective buyers.
FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOU CAN
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GEICO: Best Overall
GEICO earned 9.1 out of 10.0 stars due to its strong customer experience and plentiful ways to save money. The insurer offers discounts for daytime running lights, anti-theft systems, anti-lock brakes and air bags. It also offers discounts for good students, for using your seat belt and for completing a driver’s education or defensive driving course.
USAA: Best Military Provider
Getting insurance from USAA is a great call for military members, veterans and their families. The company is known for its bargain rates and comes with excellent discounts for bundling your auto coverage with homeowners or renters insurance.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
It’s simple for high-risk drivers to get insured by Progressive, as it rarely penalizes those with DUIs, recent accidents or speeding tickets as much as other providers. While its prices aren’t always the cheapest, they’re often competitive for those with bad driving records.
Read our Progressive insurance review to learn more about the provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my existing car insurance be enough coverage for test driving a vehicle?
Your existing car insurance doesn’t apply during your test drive. The current car owner’s insurance or dealer’s insurance should cover the vehicle throughout the test drive.
Do car dealers require insurance for test drives?
Some car dealerships may ask for proof of insurance before you test drive a car. In this case, a car salesperson is likely to have you sign a waiver. Most of the time, you do not legally need your own insurance to test drive a car, as the dealership’s insurance covers the vehicle.
What do you need to test drive a car at a dealership?
Any dealership will require you to show a valid driver’s license before test driving a car. Depending on the dealership, you may also need to provide proof of insurance.
Can I drive a car around without insurance?
No, every state but New Hampshire and Virginia requires you to have insurance when driving a car. Most states at least require bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. Several others also require personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage, but none mandate comprehensive or collision coverage.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.