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Insurance Article

Make Your First Car Purchase a Memorable Experience

September 05 2017

There are so many firsts that we remember for the rest of our life. Our first day at college, the first time away from home, a first date, the first salary, we could probably go on and on. One of the most exhilarating experiences is buying your first car and feeling the rush of adrenaline as you get in to drive yourself home! No matter how many cars you buy after and however more expensive they may be, your first car will stay with you forever, ranking right up there with your first love!

However, like any other prudent financial decision, don't just lead with your heart. Let us take you through some of the necessary steps that should guide your decision.

Work through your finances

Given the fact that the car markets are permanently flooded with newer and better looking models, it's incredibly hard to settle for anything but the best. But, your finances should be the primary factor during the selection process, as it can save you a lot of heartache later.

  • Calculate your monthly expenditure and factor in critical commitments (like loan repayments). These will remain the same whether you have a new ride or not
  • Based on this, come up with a rough budget that you can afford. Also, calculate how much you can set aside towards repayment of a car loan, if you go in for financing

Narrow down on a list of cars

  • Based on your financials, try to narrow down the car models that would fit into your budget
  • Make sure you list down your "needs" vs. your "wants" with respect to your car. Prioritise honestly and practically so that you do not feel the pinch later
  • Now research each model thoroughly. Speak with friends and family, research and check reviews on the web, or visit a nearby dealership until you run through each car on your list

Test drive

Take a test drive on the cars you have narrowed down to

  • Make sure you test the car in conditions that you will typically encounter every day, so that you can gauge your comfort level
  • Check - the seat comfort, leg space and accessibility of all the gauges and buttons

Financing your purchase

In case you need financing:

  • Do your research. Look online for the best financing options and get an opinion from people who have purchased a car prior to this
  • Make sure you have financing lined up before you go to the dealership. Discussing financing options at the dealership may not be in your best interest, especially if you are looking to take control of the negotiations.

Arriving at the best price for purchase

Many lending institutions will help you work out the best price for the car you are interested in. The ideal help can also be found in friends and family who have done it all before. Understand the pitfalls you may encounter, the red herrings you should look out for. Don't feel awkward while asking someone to tag along with you when you are negotiating.

Finding a dealership

This is an incredibly critical step in the process. Ask and research about the most reputed dealers in your area. Speak with the salespeople and understand their work ethic. The best dealerships ideally provide you with excellent car care and servicing packages that will save you a bundle later on.

Get insured

In India, having car insurance is mandatory. If you're looking to buy a new car, the dealership could offer you insurance as one of the 'perks' of sticking with them. If you're purchasing a second-hand car, you'll have to apply for insurance after you get the car transferred to your name. Remember, insurance is the safety net you need if things go wrong.

Stay enthusiastic

Of course, through it all remember to stay excited and enthusiastic. Enjoy the process of buying your first car and remember, it will ONLY happen once! Don't let anyone intimidate you into making a quick decision. Proceed slowly and surely, putting to use all the resources at your disposal.

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