Are You Properly Insured When You Test Drive A Used Car?

Friday, 26. January 2018

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

When a used car dealer buys a car he either buys it at auction, takes it in part exchange or buys it from one of many other sources. As a registered trader he simply advises the DVLA that he is now the owner and has the car up for sale. Thus avoiding another owner in the log book (V5C). All good so far.


As a result of this he must keep the car off the road and when driven on the public highway he needs trade plates. The trade plates identify the dealer and also prove that he has Trader Insurance. As a result he can use the car for his own trips but predominantly the trade plates are used when a customer takes the car for a test drive.


A little like having fully comp insurance with the ‘any driver’ clause. But, unlike a domestic policy that generally only covers other drivers for Third Party Only the trader policy covers all drivers fully comp.


Now here’s the thing, a firm of lawyers has found that under the Road Vehicle (Registration & Licencing) Regulations 2002 a dealer who has held a car in stock for more than 3 months i.e. the three months period of grace, he or the company must register the car in their name (PART 4, Regulation 24).


This means, according to the lawyers who picked this up, that the dealer can no longer use the trade plates on the car once registered in their name, they must tax the car and insure it independently. It could also have a more sinister consequence.


Once the car has been owned for more than 3 months as a ‘stock car’ very few dealers are aware that they must buy the car so continue to take potential buyers out on test drives using their trade plates. As the DVLA would consider that the car was illegally on the road, after the 3 months period, unless registered, it could render the traders insurance void.


So you could be on a test drive, have an accident, and either be uninsured, or if you have fully comp on your own car, your own insurance may take over. However, you will only be covered for possibly third party with potentially a massive excess to pay.


Worse still I understand that many fully comp policies no longer include any cover at all when driving any car other than your own unless requested at the time of taking out the policy.


With over 8 million used cars changing hands each year there must be many car dealers carrying stock over 3 months old. Ask the question when you go for a test drive. By Graham Hill

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