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Are there alternatives?

If you want to drive another vehicle that you do not own, or lend your own to someone else, you may find that insurance cover is already available to you without you having to buy a further policy although it cannot be stressed too highly that you must be absolutely certain that this is in fact the case since driving without insurance or permitting someone else to drive your car without at least the minimum cover required by law can get you into very serious trouble, and claiming that you did not know you were committing an offence would be no defence against a prosecution.

However, having got that dire warning out of the way, there are alternatives. Firstly, many people who already have a comprehensive insurance policy on another vehicle are automatically covered for any vehicle which they do not own, they have not hired, and which they have the permission of the owner to drive. This cover is almost invariably third party only, which means that although it complies with the law of the land it would not cover any damage to the vehicle that the insured person was driving so although this may be acceptable for a vehicle which was of fairly low value it may be considered a risk too far if it was for a reasonably expensive one. You should always check your policy carefully before assuming that you have this cover; a number of insurers have dropped it recently or inserted extra conditions and it has been suggested at government level that it may be abandoned completely in the future, although many insurers are resisting this.

If you are hoping to buy a car from a dealer then you may be able to test drive the vehicle under the dealer's trade policy or they may be able to arrange a specific day policy for you at no cost to yourself.

Once you have bought the vehicle you may well be offered driveaway insurance which is a free or heavily subsidised policy with a short life of perhaps a week or so which would give you time to get the vehicle home and find a suitable long-term policy.

All of these remedies may be worth looking into before you buy a short-term policy yourself but again the onus is upon you to ensure that you are adequately covered regardless of what a car salesman may tell you.

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