Buying a new car, insurance and all




Buying a new car is a daunting experience even for those who've done it before but for the novice, it can be hellish. Tales of demonic salesmen ready to strip you of your last penny and sell you something that should have been condemned last decade swim around in your head, made worse by the fact that once on the forecourt, they watch you with the intensity of a spider eyeing up its next fly.

But buying a new car needn't be quite so scary as people make out. If you go in forewarned and forearmed, you could not only come away with the car of your dreams, but at a possibly lower price than the salesmen wanted to sell it for.

The first thing to do is decide on a budget, and stick to it. Next, think about what car you'd like, and what you'll be using it for. You may fancy the latest sporty little number, but if you're going to be needing to taxi your offspring and their friends around, a nippy 2 seater wouldn't be very practical. So make a list of everything you want in a car, and try to decide on a model which would be suitable for all.

Next, find out what car insurance group your potential car falls into. While this won't give you exact price, it will give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay. Find out the group of your current car too, so you'll be able to predict whether the new car will cost more or less (remember, 1 is the lowest group and 20 is the highest).

Do your research. Get on the internet and find a preliminary car insurance quote for your chosen car. If you find the premium too high, you may need to think about going for a different, possibly smaller, model which will give you cheap car insurance without compromising on your needs.

Once you've figured out how much you can reasonably afford, head down to the dealership. Tell them exactly what model you want, and if they try to steer you towards something else, walk away. The trick is to be firm. Salesmen are used to getting the upper hand, but remember, they need your business. You don't need theirs.

Inspect the car thoroughly and ask lots of questions, but try not to appear too enthusiastic. Casually ask about a test drive, but remain calm and cool. If they think you're not overly bothered, they're more likely to offer discounts just to get your business. But let them know that you are a serious buyer otherwise they may not bother with you.

If there are several dealerships with the model you'd like, donít be afraid to play them off against each other. Get a quote from each, then give them all a chance to beat the lowest quote. The chances are they'll be wanting your business so much they'll miraculously be able to knock a couple of hundred off the asking price.

Once you've settled on a price, you're ready to sort out the financing option. Donít sign anything without fully reading it first. The salesmen hate this, but don't be put off by sighing, tapping of feet and pointedly looking at watches. If necessary, ask to sit in private or even take the contract home for thorough perusal before signing. Don't be afraid to query anything you're unsure of. It's been known for an unscrupulous salesman to add something extra onto the contract just before signing, which could end up costing you quite a bit extra, so sign it and date it as soon as you're happy with it.

One more thing: Once you've decided on a model, take out your new car insurance policy to start on the day of purchase, then you'll be covered from the moment you leave the forecourt. Some new cars come with free insurance for a set period, so find out if this is included in your package, and make sure the dealership hasn't bumped the price up to reflect it.

About the Author: J Tillotson is a financial author based in the UK JayTillotson