Buying a new or used vehicle

Test driving a vehicle

A test drive will let you get a feel for a vehicle and find any obvious problems.

You should examine it and take note of any defects, from stone chips to stalling. Have your car buyer's checklist ready to take notes.

Check the speedo for mileage, and the manufacture date on the compliance plate. This may come in handy if you negotiate over price later.

Insurance and test drives

Before taking the vehicle for a drive, check it is covered by comprehensive insurance. If you have an accident that's your fault and the car is comprehensively insured you will have to pay an excess. 

An excess is the amount of money that you must pay when making a claim on an insurance policy.

If the car is not comprehensively insured and you have an accident that is your fault, you will have to pay all the repair costs.

Most licensed car dealers and traders will have a comprehensive insurance policy that covers all their cars during test drives.

However, the law doesn't force car dealers and traders to take out insurance so you need to check with them before taking a test drive.

If you have an accident

If you have an accident that is your fault while on a test drive then the dealer's or trader's insurance company will insist that you pay the excess.

The excess payable on a comprehensive policy is dependent on the age and experience of the driver and the age of the vehicle.

In some cases, it can be as high as $1,750 for a driver under 19 years of age.

Some vehicles will attract a higher excess.

You should check with the dealer or trader all of the following before taking a test drive:

  • whether the vehicle is covered by a comprehensive insurance policy
  • if you are covered by this insurance policy if you have an accident
  • how much the excess is.

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Last updated: 06 July 2015

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