Buying a car is a big purchase. There’s a lot you have to consider when you decide to get a new vehicle, and it can be a time-consuming process. As evidenced by Atlanta traffic, many people in the city and metro areas need cars to get around. Public transit in Atlanta…well, they tried. Anyways, you want to make sure you’re completely happy with your new ride, after all, because if you’re not…well, that’s unfortunate. You might just be stuck with that car for a while. Anyways, we’ve got a few tips for buying a car in Atlanta.
8 tips for buying a car in Atlanta
1. Know your budget.
Well, first things first, right? You need to know how much you’re willing to spend on your car. It’s a good idea to know what your price range is when you’re going in. That way you might be able to avoid falling in love with a car, only to find that it’s not exactly realistic. That only leads to heartbreak. So, protect your heart – and your bank account – by knowing what’s going to work out for you money-wise.
2. Do your research.
When you’re buying a car, you need to make sure the car is going to suit your needs. Consider what you’re going to be using the car for. Are you going to be commuting a ways for work? Or are you looking for a vehicle to drive the kids around? Think about what kind of car will make the most sense for you.
This can give you a place to start when you’re thinking about what kind of car you want to get. Do you want a sedan? An SUV? A van? A crossover? (Or maybe start simpler – do you want a small car or a big car?) Once you’ve got an idea of the kind of car you want, you can start considering make and model.
Next is thinking about other details. What are the safety and crash ratings of the car you’re thinking about? Is the car a reliable one? (Since you probably want your car to last you a while, safety and reliability are kind of important.) Do some reading up on the types of cars you’re thinking about. You can also ask friends and family about the cars they drive – maybe they happen to drive a car that you like, or maybe they once had the same make and model of car that you’re thinking about.
Okay. If you have a general idea of the make and model of car you want, you also have to decide whether you want to buy a new car or a used car. Would you rather have a brand spanking new vehicle, or are you okay with one that’s gently used with a few miles on it? (This may make a difference in the price you’ll pay for the car – keep that in mind.) There are pros and cons to both a new car and a used car.
Phew. That’s a lot of things to consider…and it doesn’t end there.
Now comes the super fun part – price. Since buying a car is a big thing, you want to make sure you’re getting a fair price. And that means you need to do yet more research to find out what’s a good price for the year, make, and model of the car you’re considering. You’ll have an idea of how much you need to be prepared to pay when you go to actually purchase the vehicle. That way you know if the car salesperson is giving you a price that’s decent or a price that’s ridiculous. Even if you really want the car, you might need to be patient if it means saving some money. (You also might want to compare the price of getting a used car versus getting a new car – will you save a significant amount by getting a car that’s a year or two old?)
Pro tip: If you’re getting a used car, you might want to take it to a trusted mechanic to have a once-over to make sure everything’s okay.
3. Consider how you want to finance the car.
Okay, unless you’re absolutely rolling in money or you’ve been saving up for quite a while, you’re probably thinking that you’re going to need to get a loan for the car.
Check out some different options to get the money to buy the car. Do you want to finance the car through the dealership, or do you want to take out a loan from your bank? What’s going to be the best game plan in the long run? There’s more than one way to finance a car.
4. Do some test drives.
It’s also important to test drive different vehicles. That way you can decide on the make and model that works best for you. Reading about a car online might give you an idea of what it’s like, but that’s not the same as actually being able to see the car itself – or taking the wheel and going for a test drive. You need to see how the car handles. (And more importantly – does it have enough cup holders? Just kidding. But not really.)
And when you’re ready to buy a car, you might want to test drive the specific vehicle that you’re going to purchase. (That way you can see if it has any issues and if it handles the way you thought it would.)
5. Consider going to different dealerships.
If you’re not finding what you’re looking for at the dealership you visit, go to a different one. Find out what dealerships are in your area and maybe plan to go to a few of them before you get your car. You never know – you might be able to get a vehicle with different features or a vehicle for a better price.
6. Be prepared to negotiate.
You’ve got to be prepared to negotiate when you walk into a dealership. It can be a little scary, so don’t let yourself get pushed around and don’t get pressured into buying a car that you’re not 100% sold on. It can be intimidating, so go into it knowing that you can walk away. (Also – don’t be afraid to walk away if it doesn’t seem like you’re going to get a good price.) The negotiation process can be a bit of a rigmarole and a little back and forth. Try not to get too flustered. And remember – they can’t force you to buy a car. It’s your money.
7. Don’t forget car insurance.
There’s another expense you have to remember when you’re buying a car: auto insurance. You can’t avoid it. The state of Georgia requires drivers to carry $25,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 of bodily injury liability per occurrence, and $25,000 of property damage liability. At any rate, it’s important to have a game plan for insuring your new car and to familiarize yourself with the coverages you might need. We’ll give a brief overview of some different coverages.
- Bodily injury liability: Helps cover the other driver’s medical expenses and pain and suffering if you’re at fault in an accident. (Can also help with your legal expenses if you get sued.)
- Property damage liability: Helps cover the repairs or replacement of the other driver’s car if you’re at fault in an accident – and may help replace other property you might damage, i.e. a fence.
- Collision coverage: Helps repair or replace YOUR car if you’re in an accident or if you hit something.
- Comprehensive coverage: Helps repair or replace YOUR car if it’s damaged by something other than an accident. Losses covered typically include fire, theft, vandalism, animal strike, and falling objects, i.e. a tree branch.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist: Helps you out if you’re hit by a driver without insurance (uninsured) or without enough insurance to cover the damages of the accident (underinsured).
- Rental reimbursement: Helps cover the cost of a rental car if your car is damaged in an accident and needs to be in the shop.
- Medical payments: Helps cover your medical bills and those of your passengers if you’re in a car wreck.
Note: You may be required to carry collision and comprehensive coverage if you’ve got a car payment and a lender.
8. Think about gap insurance.
Now. If you’re buying a new car, you might also want to think about gap insurance.
Here’s the thing:
The value of a car depreciates rapidly. It’s just a fact. So, if you’ve taken out a loan to pay for your car, you might end up owing more on the loan than your car is worth. If your car is totaled, you’ll probably only get the Actual Cash Value of the vehicle at the time of the loss – meaning its depreciated value. And, as we said, that amount might be smaller than the amount you owe on your loan – in which case, you’d have a bit of a sticky situation on your hands.
But that’s where gap insurance comes in. It can help you out if you find yourself in the pickle of having a loan balance that’s greater than the value of your car.
For example, let’s say you take out a $28,000 loan to pay for your car. You’re paying it off. You owe $26,000 on the loan and the vehicle is worth $24,000 when you’re in a bad wreck and the car is totaled. That $2,000 is the “gap” we’re talking about here. (Well, it actually stands for guaranteed asset protection, but gap just makes sense.)
Okay. At this point, you might be asking yourself if you’re still set on buying a car. It seems exhausting. But it’s worth it. If you take your time and remember to be patient, you’ll be cruising along in your cool new ride in no time.
And if you need insurance for that new car, we can help. Give us a call, message us on LiveChat, or fill out our online quote form and we’ll be happy to help you get the coverage you need to protect yourself and your new baby.