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Buying a new car in March? Drivers urged to do their homework

  • Buyers of 21-numberplated cars face a non-traditional sales process.
  • Online research essential for buyers with showrooms shuttered and test drives banned.   
  • Check insurance group for clues on safety, security and repair costs.
  • Shop-around to check insurance costs and see if you can get a better deal.

Comparison site GoCompare is urging those looking to buy a new registration car online in March to do their homework, including checking out insurance prices.

March sees the release of the first new numberplate of the year, which is usually one of the busiest months for new car sales.  But this year, lockdown restrictions mean that all non-essential retailers are closed, including car showrooms.  So, drivers wanting a 21-numberplated car this Spring will have to strike a deal virtually.

Many car dealerships remain open online, with contactless click-and-collect and delivery services being allowed for pre-purchased cars.  Visits to showrooms and forecourts are banned, test drives are also not permitted, so GoCompare Car Insurance is urging new car buyers to look at independent reviews and insurance costs of the vehicles they are interested in.

Technology is enabling car dealerships to showcase their cars in potential customers’ homes.  In addition to browsing dealerships’ websites, potential buyers can access personalised walkaround videos of individual cars.  Negotiations and finances can be arranged online or over the phone.   Car buyers should also look at vehicle reviews from independent sources which will give them a more objective view of the pros and cons of different makes and models. 

Before agreeing to buy a car, drivers should check their consumer rights with the dealer.  Consumer rights for lockdown car sales – where a car is bought at a distance, without a showroom to view, test-drive, order, pay for, or collect – differ from traditional purchases.  

Distance Selling Regulations give consumers the right to cancel the order within 14 days and receive a full refund of their deposit.  After the purchase has been completed and delivery accepted, the Regulations also give the customer the right to change their mind and reject the car within 14 days and receive a full refund – without the need to give a reason.

Insurance represents a significant part of a car’s running costs.  All cars belong to one of 50 car insurance groups, which band cars from the cheapest to the most expensive to insure – with group one being the cheapest and group 50 the most expensive.  A car’s group rating is based on its price, cost of repairs, performance, safety, and security – so gives an indication of how safe and secure a particular model is, and whether it’s likely to be expensive to repair.  To check a car’s group rating visit https://www.gocompare.com/insurance-groups/

Vehicle group ratings are only one factor insurers use to calculate premiums, other factors include the age and experience of the driver, where they live and how they use their car.  Using a comparison website, like GoCompare, to run quotes for different car makes and models will show drivers how much it will actually cost them to insure a particular vehicle.

Lee Griffin, CEO and founder of GoCompare Car Insurance, commented, “March new car sales this year will look very different thanks to lockdown restrictions.  Without being able to physically look round or take a demonstration car out for a spin, it’s more important than ever to do your research.  Looking into the insurance costs can be very revealing.  Not only will this give you an idea of day-to-day running costs, but will give you a useful appraisal of a car’s safety, security and an indication of repair costs.”    

Lee Griffin continued, “If you are changing cars it’s essential that you update your insurance – otherwise you could be driving uninsured.  Most insurers will allow you to transfer your existing policy to a new car.  Depending on the car you are buying, on top of an admin fee for the transfer, there may be an additional premium to pay.

“Before speaking to your insurer, it’s useful to have some comparative insurance quotes for your new car – these will help you see whether you are being offered a competitive deal.  If you are unhappy with the quote from your current insurer, you have the option to switch.  However, you need to weigh-up the cancellation cost on your existing policy against the savings you could make from switching.  Your policy documents should show any cancellation fees which may apply, and whether your insurer offers a full or a partial refund of unused cover.  Drivers switching policies mid-term should also check whether they will lose their no-claims discount for the year.   But, despite the cancellation costs, drivers may still find that they can make big saving by switching insurance for their new car.”


For further information please contact:

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

More information on distance selling rules when buying a new car online: https://www.themotorombudsman.org/distance-sales-faqs


GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

For more information visit www.gocompare.com and www.gocogroup.com