So, you head to the car dealership to find a new set of wheels, how exciting! You’ve done your research and have a few cars in mind, but you want to make sure your new car fits and feels right. which means getting behind the wheel for a quick test drive.
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Before you jump into the driver’s seat of that flashy four-wheeled whip, make sure you’re covered: Do you need insurance to test drive a car, or does the dealer have you covered? let’s find out.
test drive a car at the dealership
If you’re at the dealership and want to test drive some cars, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered by insurance in case something unexpected happens down the road. here’s what you need to know:
what if I don’t have car insurance?
Dealerships are required by law to insure their cars, which means they must have an umbrella policy that pays for damages if a customer drives the vehicle. therefore, whether or not you have car insurance, the dealer’s insurance should be considered your primary coverage in the event you need to file a claim.
what if I have my own car insurance?
Same answer as above: If you’re test driving a car, it’s usually the dealer’s responsibility to cover the damage. however, having your own auto insurance is always a good idea, as there are some instances where a dealership could hold you liable (more on that below).
A good rule of thumb to follow is that the insurance policy usually stays with the car. So, for most states, your personal auto insurance covers your vehicle, and a dealer’s car is covered by your insurance policy, which means if you have an accident while test driving a car at the dealership , it is most likely covered by your insurance.
can the dealer hold me responsible for the damage?
All of that being said, while you may be covered by a dealer’s insurance, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be free from liability. depending on the cause of the accident (reckless driving, for example), the dealer may hold you liable for damages. While the dealership may initially pay for the car repair, they may subrogate and try to collect from you or your insurer if they caused an accident during the test drive.
what happens if I sign a waiver?
There are some dealers that will ask you to sign a “loan/demo” agreement before handing over the keys for a test drive. this usually happens when you will be driving for a long time or if the salesperson is not present for the test drive. Signing the waiver means you accept responsibility for paying the cost of repairs if you cause damage to the vehicle during the test drive.
Of course, be sure to check with your agent to verify that your personal auto insurance policy covers you in cases like this.
what if I test drive a car for a private party sale?
Although cars sold on the private market are usually covered by standard personal auto insurance, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to ask them to call your agent and make sure you’re covered to drive the car. .
You can also ask the owner of the vehicle to sign a statement giving you permission to drive the car and stating that the car is insured. It never hurts to be very careful in cases like these.
Please note that if you plan to test drive a car, insurance coverage may be different for each dealer or private entity selling the vehicle. always be sure to discuss with the seller if you are covered by your insurance if you were to have an accident. You can also check with your insurance agent if you’re not sure or have any questions.
what do I need to test drive a car?
Requirements to test drive a car can vary by dealer and state, but generally, you’ll just need to have a valid driver’s license on hand to test drive it.
Our advice to avoid any problems with insurance? keep in mind that you are driving the vehicle with great care and caution. familiarize yourself with the vehicle before changing gear, adjust the mirrors to your liking, make sure your feet comfortably reach the pedals, give other cars plenty of room, and as fun as the music is to play, don’t mess with the radio this time.
Are you planning to bring a car home forever? Here’s a helpful list of what to bring when buying a car – it’s everything you need to make the car buying process easier.
Keep in mind that searching for a car is a process that should not be rushed. be sure to hit the road and properly test a handful of options. You can also head to the dealership fully prepared with our six tips to make your car buying a better one.
After you’ve signed the dotted lines and the keys are yours, contact an American Family insurance agent to verify our auto coverages and ensure your new ride is never left unprotected.