Shopping for a new car can be an overwhelming process. You want something that looks good and drives well, but you also need to consider the quality of the vehicle, how you plan to finance the purchase, and what will happen to your car insurance rates. Before you head to the dealership, take a few simple steps to make the car-buying process as easy as possible.
Do Your Research
You might have a few vehicles in mind before you start shopping, so read about them to find out what each one has to offer. Publications like Edmunds® and Consumer Reports® offer authoritative reviews that touch on everything from reliability and safety to overall performance. Being open to a variety of makes and models, rather than focusing on a particular brand, will make it easier to choose your next vehicle based on the features you want and need.
Check the Costs
Your monthly payment is only part of the total cost of vehicle ownership. You also need to buy insurance to protect yourself while you’re on the road. Collect car insurance quotes for the vehicles you’re considering and find out whether they have special maintenance needs that could drive up the price of your policy. If the estimated rates don’t fit into your budget, an insurance agent may be able to help you find a similar vehicle that’s less expensive to cover.
Don’t buy anything at the first dealership you visit, even if you think you’ve found a great deal. Check at least two or three lots in your area and compare prices online. Sometimes, having a vehicle shipped from another town can be cheaper than buying one locally.
Focus on the Total Price
It’s easy to get seduced by a low monthly payment, only to find that the total price is much more than the value of the car. If you accept a long-term loan with lower payments, you could wind up paying twice as much for the vehicle due to fees and interest. When negotiating, stay focused on the sale price to avoid wasting money on excessive finance charges.
Once you’ve found the perfect vehicle, it’s important to make sure you have enough car insurance coverage to protect your investment. In addition to shopping around for a new policy, ask the agent about bundling your home and auto insurance for even greater savings.