What could be better than that new car smell? You may wonder what steps you should take and how to buy a car with confidence and success. At Independent Insurance Associates, we offer you five steps to help navigate the process of purchasing, insuring and caring for a vehicle.
1. Set A Budget
Knowing how much you can spend on a new car is a critical step to consider before you search for a vehicle. Determine how much you can afford to pay and, if you need a loan, take the time to pre-qualify with your financial institution. Knowing the limit of your budget and your projected monthly payment gives you an edge when starting the search for a new vehicle. Working within your price limit and being prepared for the costs of insurance and maintenance is a great way to manage your money.
2. Do Your Research
We all dream about the car we can’t possibly afford. Whether it is a rare classic roadster or a top-of-the-line electric vehicle, those types of purchases are usually out of reach. How do you buy a car that is reliable and worth the monthly payment? The only answer is research. Choices in the car market can be overwhelming, and it is up to you to figure out what suits your needs. Safety, size, and versatility are all personal choices.
What truly matters is matching the quality of the make and model with your financial risk. Taking on a five-year loan for a car that has a track record of needing significant repairs right after the three-year warranty expires may not be right for you. Check on how well your model holds value by using resources like Kelly Blue Book and Edmonds. Some cars are worth a great deal more after ten years than others, and if money is an issue, this is worth the time to research.
3. Get Car Insurance
Most states will require you to have car insurance coverage before you can drive your new car off the lot. Even if you purchase your auto from an individual, it is essential to obtain liability insurance. The rules on car insurance vary from state to state, but North and South Carolina require liability insurance for every vehicle and driver. Take the time to discuss the legal minimum vs. the actual coverage you need with your insurance agent. Finalize your policy details and be prepared to confirm proof of coverage when you are ready to purchase your new car.
4. Test Drive and Shop Around
Just because you love the style of a particular car does not mean it will be comfortable and easy to drive. Taking the time to test drive several types of automobiles will help narrow the choices. Consider blind spots, the amount of traffic you encounter daily and the space you have available for parking and unloading your car. Shop online for available models, compare prices between dealerships and be prepared to decline if the expense is over your budget. Schedule time to visit more than one dealership to confirm you are getting the best deal on the right car.
5. How To Maintain Your Car
Now that you’ve purchased a car, the next step is to maintain it. Your purchase agreement will cover any warranty details, and, in many cases, the dealership will be responsible for the standard check-ups at specific mileage intervals.
Here are a few maintenance tips for first-time car owners:
- Read your car manual and dealer warranty
- Schedule regular oil changes
- Locate your spare tire and jack
- Learn how to change a tire
- Set calendar alarms for renewal dates for license and registration
Changing your oil regularly and checking the air pressure in your tires is crucial to good gas mileage and making your car last. You may be better off finding a good local mechanic for regular oil changes because the dealership will often charge a premium. Before you sign on the bottom line for any aftermarket warranties, read the fine print, and determine if the offer is worth the actual expense.
Taking the time to do your research helps in the overall process of buying a car, as setting a budget and obtaining a loan is just the beginning of your car shopping experience. When it comes to car insurance, navigating the state laws and coverage costs will be simpler if you choose an insurance provider you can trust.
Your local Independent Insurance Associate is happy to guide you through the process of insuring your new car. Feel free to give us a call today to discuss your policy options and needs.