Forbid Solo Test Drives

Here's another good reason for nixing solo demo drives. Unaccompanied granted test drives have staged vehicle collisions, then filed bogus medical claims for medical treatment and litigation, warns Universal Underwriters Group. To help prevent potential losses, including the loss of an unreturned car, procedures for test drives should be strictly followed. That starts with sales people accompanying

Here's another good reason for nixing solo demo drives.

Unaccompanied “shoppers” granted test drives have staged vehicle collisions, then filed bogus medical claims for medical treatment and litigation, warns Universal Underwriters Group.

To help prevent potential losses, including the loss of an unreturned car, procedures for test drives should be strictly followed.

That starts with sales people accompanying all prospective customers on short test drives, advises the Overland Park, KS-based insurance and F&I products group.

If a customer insists on an overnight or weekend drive, dealers are advised to transfer liability through a borrowed car/loaner car/rental car agreement.

Conditions for this agreement include a copy of the customer's driver's license with photo ID; copy of a proof-of-insurance document; verification of current coverage; verification of credit, financing and personal information prior to release of the vehicle; management approval of any extended drive; and, if possible, keeping the shopper's vehicle at the dealership until the dealership vehicle is returned.

Other recommended test-drive guidelines:

  • Management should designate routes. A good test-drive route consists of all right-hand turns avoids highly congested areas, dangerous intersections, construction and school zones, and uses intersections with stop lights as opposed to stop signs.
  • Use a “test drive/demonstration log” to identify any vehicle out on a test drive or demonstration.
  • Require the salesperson to drive the vehicle off the lot and use a designated driver-transfer spot. Salespeople should always exit the vehicle with keys in hand while transferring control of the vehicle to the customer.
  • Use a well-lit transfer place in a moderately populated area, such as a mall, movie or restaurant parking lot.
  • Review with the customer the safety and operational features of the test-drive vehicle before relinquishing control.
  • Salespeople who observe a customer operating the demonstration vehicle in a reckless or unsafe manner should take control of the vehicle as soon as possible. Never let a customer suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs drive a vehicle.
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