How to find a first car

Liability coverage is insurance that pays for injuries or damage you might cause other people and their property. If you live in Illinois, for example, you have to have coverage of at least:. If the accident costs more than your coverage, you have to pay the difference.

If you have no assets for a court to use to pay your debt, the injured person can go after your future earnings for an indefinite length of time until that debt is paid. Simply put, stock up on as much liability coverage as you can afford. This covers repairs to your car if:. Even if you pay cash for your first car, you might still want collision and comprehensive coverage, unless you have enough cash in savings to get your baby back on the road after a major mishap. If you go with a big brand company that spends millions on advertising every year, you'll probably overpay for car insurance.

An independent agent, on the other hand, can compare lots of different policies and prices from all kinds of companies to find the one that offers you the most coverage for the best price. It's easy to see why independent is better. Now you have 8 tips that will make buying your first car easier than otherwise possible. Most importantly, you know that a Trusted Choice independent agent can make at least a few steps in the process easier.

In fact, they'll do the work for you. So set that budget, do those test drives and call an independent agent. Your first car awaits you. Here's a simple way to budget for all of the costs of owning a car: Calculate your basic cost of living: This will include rent or your mortgage, food, health insurance and other spending allowances, like for going out. Calculate what's left: What remains after your basic cost of living is covered is what you can spend on your car payment, insurance, gas and maintenance costs.

Finding the right car

Whatever remains is what you can afford to spend on the car payment itself. Here are other options to make your car purchase more affordable: Reduce your monthly car payments by putting more down up front. Find a car from a personal seller or classified ad - you might be able to pay cash and eliminate a monthly payment. Buy a car that needs some work if you or someone you know looks at it and knows how to fix it. Remember, a co-signer is responsible for the loan amount if you fail to pay.

They also usually need a credit score of or higher to qualify. Deciding on a budget is only part of the process of buying a car. Once you know how much you can afford, you need to decide on the type of vehicle that you want and then seek out models within your price range. This process includes looking up the fair market value of the vehicle you are interested in, taking it for a test drive, and having it checked by an expert mechanic. Step 1: Research the vehicle you want. First, you need to research the vehicle you want and decide which vehicle make and model are right for you.

When searching, keep in mind how many passengers you expect to transport, if any, on a regular basis. Step 2: Find the fair market value.


Next, after deciding on the vehicle make and model that you want, look up the fair market value. Some sites where you can find the fair market value of a vehicle include Kelley Blue Book , Edmunds. If the car you are interested in is outside your price range, search for another make and model of vehicle. Another option is to look for an older model-year version of the vehicle you want, if one is available. Step 3: Search for cars.

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After you find out how much a car is worth and if you can afford it, start searching dealerships in your area for the vehicle. You can do this online through the dealer site or in your local paper among the used car want ads. Step 4: Run a vehicle history.

2. Buy Used

The next step involves performing a vehicle history search on the cars you have an interest in. If for some reason you have to perform the car history search yourself, visit sites such as Carfax or AutoCheck. While there is a fee, you are better off making sure that you know everything about a vehicle before buying it.

Your car-buying budget

Once you have found a few vehicles that you have an interest in buying, it's time to visit the dealerships to take a look at the vehicles, take them for a test drive, and have them checked out by a mechanic. Just be prepared for the usual sales tactics that dealership salespeople use, and keep in mind you do not have to buy and can always look elsewhere.

Step 1: Inspect the vehicle. Take a long look at the vehicle, inspecting it for any damage or obvious issues that you need to deal with if you buy it, such as putting on new tires.

8 Tips for Buying Your First Car

Check the exterior looking for dents or other signs of damage from an accident. Make sure all of the windows are in good shape. Also, look for any rust spots. Check out the interior of the vehicle. Look at the condition of the carpeting and seats, making sure there is no signs of water damage. Turn on the engine and listen to how it sounds. You are trying to see if the engine starts and runs smoothly. Step 2: Take it for a test drive. While the car is running, take it for a test drive. Step 3: Finalize the paperwork.

Now that you have test driven the vehicle and are satisfied with it, it's time to agree on a price, get the financing set up, and sign the necessary paperwork. If you got pre-approved for financing, you still need the lender's approval before you can purchase the vehicle. Some lenders have restrictions on the mileage or age of any vehicle they finance. If you are buying the vehicle outright, make sure the dealer has your home address to have the title mailed to you.

Otherwise, the title goes to the lender until the vehicle is paid off. Last, but not least, you need to read through and sign the bill of sale.

Then, once the dealer has made you some temporary tags and given you the keys, the vehicle is all yours. Buying that first car is a special occasion. That's why it is important to get the right car for your needs, whether you plan on hauling a car full of people or drive mainly by yourself.

You can find the right car for the right price if you know what to look for. Before buying any vehicle, though, ask one of our expert mechanics to perform a pre-purchase car inspection. Other services such as credit repair may cost you up to thousands and only help remove inaccuracies from your credit report.

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