Joe I. Zaid & Associates is committed to representing the rights of the injured both in Texas, and across the nation.

Free Case Consulation

Trust ReefTrust Reef

When considering the purchase of a new vehicle, a test drive is often a crucial component of the decision-making process. Despite their rarity, accidents can and do occur during these test drives. Whether it’s unfamiliarity with the vehicle’s controls, distractions from testing the features, or unforeseen actions by other drivers, the unfortunate happens. So who bears the responsibility if an accident takes place during a test drive?

This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the intricacies of responsibility and insurance.

Identifying Liability in Test Drive Accidents

Much like any other car accident, determining liability in a test drive situation hinges on identifying who was at fault. Various parties can potentially be held responsible, including:

  • The Test Driver: Most commonly, the driver on the test drive is held liable if their negligent actions lead to the accident.
  • Another Driver: On occasions when a collision is caused by the actions of another motorist, that driver will be held accountable.
  • The Dealer or Seller: If the dealer or seller had a hand in causing the accident, perhaps through improper maintenance of the vehicle, they may bear some or all of the liability.
  • The Car Manufacturer: If a mechanical error or defect in the car directly caused the accident, the manufacturer could be held responsible.

Insurance Coverages and Their Roles

Insurance plays a significant role in covering damages and liabilities arising from test drive accidents. Here’s what you need to know:

If the Test Driver is at Fault:

  • Personal Auto Insurance: The test driver’s personal auto insurance policy typically extends to accidents that occur while they are driving a dealer’s or a privately-owned vehicle. Coverages such as Property Damage Liability and Bodily Injury Liability come into play here.
  • Dealership Insurance: Car dealerships generally possess comprehensive insurance policies covering their fleet of vehicles. If the fault lies partly or fully with the dealership, this policy may cover the damages and injuries.

If Another Driver is at Fault:

  • Other Driver’s Insurance: Should another driver cause the wreck, their insurance company is liable for covering the damages and injuries sustained.

Private Sellers and Test Drive Accidents

When testing a vehicle owned by a private seller, the dynamics shift slightly:

  • Owner’s Insurance: The vehicle’s owner may have an insurance policy that provides coverage during test drives. However, the specifics can vary based on policy terms and limits.
  • Driver’s Personal Insurance: The test driver’s personal insurance policy might also extend coverage when driving another person’s vehicle, depending on the terms of their plan.

Steps to Take After a Test Drive Accident

If an accident occurs while test-driving a vehicle, the subsequent actions are crucial. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Contact Emergency Services: Immediately call 911 to report the accident. If anyone has sustained injuries, request EMS assistance.
  2. Exchange Information: Obtain insurance and contact details from all involved parties.
  3. Document the Scene: Use your smartphone to take photos and videos of the accident scene, vehicle positions, and any visible damages.
  4. Seek Medical Attention: Consult a healthcare professional promptly to address any injuries, even those that are not immediately apparent.
  5. Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer: An experienced attorney can help determine whether you have a viable personal injury claim. Many law firms, like Joe I. Zaid & Associates, offer free consultations to guide you through your legal options.


Understanding the nuances of liability and insurance coverage in test drive accidents can significantly affect the outcome. Experienced personal injury attorneys can help navigate these complexities. At Joe I. Zaid & Associates, we specialize in assisting clients through the legal intricacies of car accidents, including those that occur during test drives. Our focus is on delivering results, ensuring that your rights are protected, and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact our offices in Pasadena, Humble, or Clear Lake to schedule a free consultation, and let us help guide you through this challenging time.

Get a FREE consultation with an Experienced Attorney

Need help with your case? Get a one-on-one consultation with an experienced attorney.  Simply fill out the form below for a call back.