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Used car boom – GoCompare warns drivers to check insurance before test driving a used car as new car shortage looms

  • Shortage of new cars due to Covid lockdown closing factories is expected to lead to a boom in used car sales,
  • Insurance is a must for test drives but most (92%) policies don’t cover policyholders to drive cars other than their own,
  • A car’s group rating has a significant impact on the cost of insurance – so check before you buy,
  • GoCompare Car Insurance shares tips on getting a good deal on car insurance.

As car dealerships open their doors again, GoCompare is warning that a shortage of new cars could force many people to buy second-hand cars.  The comparison site is urging people to consider the insurance implications if they are looking at a used car.

While dealers may have stock in their showrooms, the motor industry has reported that new car production in Britain fell by 99.7% in April as production lines were closed1.  Getting back to pre-pandemic production levels will take some time.  Therefore, there is likely to be a shortage of new cars, which could leave some drivers with limited options if they are coming to the end of their PCP arrangements or looking for a second car.

A shortage of new cars coupled with the Government’s recommendation to avoid public transport where possible, is likely to increase the size of the used car market. 

GoCompare Car insurance is warning would-be car buyers to check their insurance before heading out for a test drive because most (92%) policies2 don’t cover the policyholder to drive cars other than their own. If a motorist test drives another vehicle without checking they’re covered, they could be prosecuted for driving without insurance.

Where policies provide cover for driving other vehicles, this is likely only to offer third party insurance protection.  So, in the event of an accident any damage to the car being test driven won’t be covered.  Typically, ‘driving other cars’ cover is not available to young (under 25s) or inexperienced drivers, or to drivers in what insurers consider high-risk occupations.  In addition, the excess level may be higher.     

If cover isn’t available on their current policy, drivers can arrange short-term insurance cover. Using a comparison site like GoCompare, will help them find the best deal.  Alternatively, the buyer might be able to add the car as an additional temporary vehicle on their policy, or the seller could add the buyer as an additional driver on their insurance.

The cost of insurance is a significant factor in running a car, so it is also important to check how much a used car will cost to insure.  Insurers allocate cars into insurance groups (ranked 1 to 50) based on the make, model, engine size, new value, cost of repair and security. The higher the ranking the more the car will cost to insure.  The group rating will also give you an idea of how safe and secure a model is and whether it will be expensive to repair, which are important factors in deciding what car to buy.  

Checking a car’s group rating is quick and easy with GoCompare Car Insurance’s online checker: https://www.gocompare.com/insurance-groups/

Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare commented, “Car retailers are among the first wave of non-essential businesses to open.  But it will be months before vehicle manufacturers are back to full capacity.  The motor trade are anticipating that the shortfall and the government’s advice to avoid public transport, will boost the second-hand market.

“Before buying a car it’s always wise to take it for a test drive to make sure it runs smoothly and is comfortable for you to drive.  But, before you get into the driver’s seat, it’s essential to make sure that you are insured.

“In the past, comprehensive policies typically covered you to drive other cars, but it’s rare these days. So, it is essential to check the terms and conditions of your policy to see if you’ve got cover and what that includes.”

Lee Griffin concluded, “It’s illegal to drive a car without proper insurance, if you’re caught, you face six to eight points on your licence and a fixed penalty of £300. You will also find it harder and more expensive to buy insurance in the future. According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau3, in a recent two-year period, over 3,000 vehicles were seized due to drivers mistakenly believing they were covered to drive other people’s cars without the correct cover.”

Top tips from GoCompare Car Insurance to get the best car insurance deals:

•             NEVER accept your renewal quote without first checking that the price you are offered is competitive – even if your insurer was the cheapest last year,

•             Give yourself time to review your cover – note the renewal date in your diary and shop around as early as possible before your policy renews to get the best deal, 

•             Compare prices AND check the small print.  Be sure you’re making like-for-like comparisons and understand all the charges, any penalties, exclusions and terms and conditions you will be required to meet.

For more information on buying and selling a second-hand car visit: https://www.gocompare.com/motoring/guides/buying-and-selling-cars-privately/


For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132

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

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

Notes to editors

1The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported that production of cars in Britain fell by 99.7% in April 2020 (29 May 2020)

2Defaqto Matrix of 346 comprehensive private car insurance policies (29 May 2020) – instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number.  92% exclude cover for driving other vehicles, 5% provide cover as standard, 3% provide cover as an optional extra.

3According to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, over 3,000 vehicles were seized between July 2016 and June 2018 due to drivers mistakenly believing they were covered to drive other people’s cars without the correct cover.


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