A car is a major purchase, and with any major purchase, it is important to complete your due diligence. That is the best way to protect your investment. Here are a few shopping and insurance tips for buying a used car in Massachusetts.
1. Know Your Budget
If you will need a loan to purchase a used car, obtain a pre-approval before you start shopping. This will give you a sense of what loan amount and interest rate you qualify for. Also consider how much you can afford or prefer to pay each month as it may be less than the maximum for which you qualify. Certain restrictions (such as the age of the car) may also apply. Knowing where you stand financially will help you identify vehicles to purchase.
2. Perform a Test Drive
Never purchase a car without a test drive! Be sure to test it on both local roads and the highway. Driving a car can tell you a lot about its condition. If anything feels or sounds unusual, it is best to have it looked at by a qualified professional before you purchase it. Although Massachusetts does have a Lemon Law, you may experience problems that do not allow you to use that law. To protect yourself, it is best to know what problems may exist with a car before you purchase it.
3. Request a CarFax
A CarFax report provides the documented history for a particular vehicle (based on the VIN number). The report will typically include information on any previous accidents, title transfers, service and repair information, and more. Keep in mind that it is not guaranteed to be completely accurate. Some accidents may go unreported and therefore not appear in a CarFax. If you are purchasing a used car from a dealership, the dealership may provide you with the CarFax report. It is a good idea to request one directly on the CarFax website as the report from the dealership may be dated or incomplete. It is always smart to get the information directly from the source.
4. Obtain an Insurance Quote
Although your insurance rates will be affected by your personal driving history, the make and model of a vehicle is also important. As you evaluate a particular vehicle to purchase, request a Massachusetts car insurance quote before making a final decision. It is important to understand your total cost, a significant portion of which may be the insurance.
5. Get the Title In-Hand
You cannot register your used car until you have the title in-hand. If you are purchasing a car from someone who financed it, their lender may actually hold the title. Make sure the owner can get that title immediately upon paying off the loan (using the money from the sale). That may mean visiting the regional office of that lender or making some other type of arrangement ahead of time.
Buying a used car can be a stressful process. By understanding what you can afford, you can focus your attention on the right types of cars. Performing a test drive and reviewing the CarFax report will help you make better decisions before purchasing a car. Lastly, having the title in-hand will allow you to register your vehicle and start enjoying your new ride. The tips for buying a used car in Massachusetts provided above are intended only as a general guideline. This information should not be considered all inclusive or be interpreted as legal advice.