Buying a used car can be an exasperating experience. The good part is that it is usually less expensive than buying a new car. It doesn’t lose value as quickly either. The not so good part, it may have been someone else’s problem and it doesn’t always come with the security of a warranty. To successfully purchase a used car, follow these simple suggestions. 
Where You Buy a Used Car Makes a Difference
Used car sellers include new car dealers, rental car and leasing companies as well as used car dealers and private individuals. In some states, car dealers must perform safety inspections on the used vehicles they sell. If you decide to buy from a dealer, choose one that sells the brand you are interested in. Look for a full service department, well stocked with parts. Used rental cars are often an excellent value. They are typically less than two years old, well equipped and maintained, and often include a good warranty.
Private sellers can be another source when purchasing a used vehicle. You will have the benefit of meeting the seller and inquiring about mechanical issues and even requesting maintenance records. When purchasing from a private seller, there are no warranties. Because there are no lemon laws for used cars in Florida, it is important that you know exactly what you are getting from the start.
Getting the Historical Scoop When Buying a Used Car
It is a good idea to decide on two or three makes or models that you would be happy with when buying a used car. Then spend some time learning about them. Become familiar with their features, this way you will be able to separate truth from fiction when assessing sales information. Cars don’t improve with age, so be sure to research the after-new reputation of the cars on your list. While low mileage cars are generally preferable, the quality and frequency of maintenance is as important as the mileage. “Ridden hard and put up wet,” applies to cars as well as horses.
Spend some time looking at the selection of vehicles available. Look for changes in paint color or movable parts alignment. Do the doors, hood or trunk close smoothly? Ask about the car’s history. Review the “carfax” record for accident history. An auto VIN (vehicle identification number) check is used to obtain this information. A “Carfax” or “Autocheck” report obtains data from police departments and insurance companies. These will give you a reasonable amount of information, but have been shown recently on national television, to not always be completely accurate. Look at the vehicle in the daylight but not on a rainy day. Prepare a checklist for both the interior and exterior of the vehicle, as well as items to test while driving. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a thorough article on Buying or Selling a Carthat includes many items to look for.
Determine A Fair Price
There are price books and websites (Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds) that provide this kind of baseline information. There can be a wide range of prices on specific used cars. One good way to determine a reasonable price when buying a used car, is to contact a car loan officer at a bank or credit union and ask for the “loan value” of the car you are considering. That will give you a starting point.
Remember The Paperwork
Don’t forget to let your auto insurance provider know you are considering buying a used car. First, if you’re serious about buying a new car (or a new-to-you used car!), before you go to a dealer’s lot, let Dave Reed Insurance, Your Trusted Choice® Independent insurance agent know you will be buying a car. If you know what you want, we can give you an idea of the insurance costs. We usually recommend that you do some online searching first and have two or three autos that you think will work and shop with those in mind. You will get a general idea of auto costs on the internet and with our estimated insurance costs you will be able to know which model will fit best into your budget.
Second, you will need to have an endorsement from your insurer before you take possession of the vehicle. Ask us about discounts for certain safety features and anti-theft devices.
When You Purchase
When you do make a purchase, the dealer sends a sales order to our office via fax or email. We need the VIN number for the vehicle and information on all household drivers. With this info we can run a report to get an accurate cost quote. We can take a down payment via credit card. When this is completed, we provide a proof of coverage declaration and a temporary ID for the insured to the dealer. You can then drive the car off the lot! You will need to visit our office to sign all the paperwork. If you are financing a new car, the lending company will very likely require collision coverage. If you already have homeowners or renters insurance, you may be eligible for discounts on premiums by adding an auto policy with the same company.
Drive protected with The Peace of Mind People
In addition, when you buy a new or used car, you’ll need to transfer the title and registration into your name. All title and registration transactions are handled at your local county tax collector’s office.
Dave Reed Insurance, Your Trusted Choice® Independent Agent, can make shopping for and buying a new car fun. You can feel comfortable asking us questions about coverage and costs to help ease the buying process. Keep in mind auto insurance rates are always changing. Right now auto insurance rates are decreasing. Call us when you purchase a new car or when your policy is ready to renew at 850 494-2264 on Creighton Road or 850453-8555 on N. Navy Blvd.