A vehicle purchase and insurance guide 

Key takeaways:

  • Important questions to ask before buying a car
  • Costs and variables when buying and insuring a car
  • How to lower your insurance premium 

Buying a new car requires careful consideration. You do your research, but with so many choices, the task can still feel overwhelming. Then you have to find the right car insurance. 

In order to find the best car and coverage for you, you need to know the right questions to ask. Here are eight essentials.

1. What type of vehicle do you want?

This is something you might want to know before you approach a dealership. Research should help narrow down your choices to a certain type, make, and model of vehicle. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Who will be the primary driver?
  • Do you need a car for your work commute? What’s the commute like?
  • Do you need something large for your family?
  • Do you need something designed to haul or tow?
  • Do you want to tow a boat or RV?
  • Do you enjoy drives that include off-roading and more challenging terrain?
  • What kind of weather and road conditions do you experience where you live?
  • Is the car for your teenager?
  • Do you have a need for speed?

Answering these questions will go a long way to ensuring you target the right vehicle, whether it’s a car, SUV, or truck. 

2. What’s your budget?

Knowing how much you can spend will also help narrow your options. First, determine how much you have for a down payment. Then think about what kind of monthly payments you can afford. Be sure to factor in other costs, such as insurance, gas, repairs/maintenance, and other expenses. 

Most financial experts recommend that your car expenses be below 15% – 20% of your total monthly income. Around 10% should be earmarked for car payments, with another 5% devoted to “other” expenses.

Many websites have free car payment calculators to help you get a better idea of what your monthly car expenses will be. 

3. What is the reputation of the dealership?

Choosing a dealership is almost as important as the type of car you pick. You want to identify a dealership with a reputation for honest dealing. Ask family and friends for recommendations. You can also research review sites to see what customers have to say about a dealership. 

4. Is there a quality guarantee?

New cars should come with one or more factory automotive warranties. These cover many common maintenance and repair issues for a designated amount of time or mileage. For instance, a typical warranty might be 3 years/30,000 miles. Once the warranty ends, you must pay for all future maintenance and repairs. Each automotive brand offers different warranty periods so this is something you want to consider when looking for a new car.

If you’re considering a pre-owned car, be sure to do extra homework. Researching dealerships is even more important as this will go a long way to ensuring you buy a quality used car. Read all of the fine print about quality guarantees. 

Many dealerships also sell Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles. These vehicles must meet stringent criteria in terms of age, mileage, ownership history, and quality standards. They undergo thorough inspections and come with a free Vehicle History Report so you know exactly what you’re getting. Most also offer warranties.

5. How much will insurance cost?

Auto insurance is a large expense, but you can take steps to lower the cost. Insurance rates vary widely depending on where you live, the type of car, price, model year, repair costs, and who will be driving it. New cars usually come with a higher premium than used. Certain models are also targeted more frequently by thieves so they are more expensive to insure.

6. What kind of safety technology do you want?

Newer cars often come equipped with advanced driver-assist technology systems (ADAS). These high-tech systems can help you maintain a safe distance from other cars and avoid potential hazards. Some will also help you navigate parking lots and driveways.

Features can include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Collision warnings (front, rear, and side)
  • Blindspot warning
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Backup cameras
  • Automatic parking 

Make sure you determine what systems are offered on a particular vehicle trim. For instance, some systems are only offered on higher trims.

7. What are your “must-have” infotainment features?

Infotainment features refer to technology that keeps you connected to smart devices, music, news, and navigational tools. There are a lot of options and some might be more important to you than others. 

For instance, you can get touchscreen or voice command control. You can also find features like Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM, Wi-Fi connection, and advanced Navigation. You can buy a car with wireless device charging, integration with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices, premium audio systems, and rear-seat entertainment centers to keep the kids occupied. 

8. How can you lower your car insurance rates?

There are various steps you can take to lower your monthly premiums. As mentioned above, the model and year of the car affect insurance rates. 

Certain safety features can equal lower insurance premiums, too. Things like anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts, and alarm systems are features to consider. It’s also possible to get insurance discounts. Teens can lower their rates by taking an approved driver education course. Certain associations, business groups, and alumni associations also offer discounts to members. 

Your credit rating can affect insurance rates; so can your history of accidents and insurance claims. Finally, you can often save money by bundling auto insurance with other policies like homeowner’s insurance. 

Insurance rates can vary depending on several factors.  Avante Insurance can help you find the right car insurance for your needs and budget. 

If you have questions about your insurance coverage or you’re interested in a quote, contact us today.

This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.