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What you need when buying your first car

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So you want to buy your first car. You’ve picked out a model you want, out of hundreds of options from different brands. You’ve earned the money, or perhaps you’ve figured out the payment plan that works for you. Now you’re thinking all that is left is the process of walking down to your local dealership, shaking your dealer’s hands, and driving towards the sunset with the car of your dreams.

It’s not as simple. At least, not unless you’re fully prepared for the various protocols you first need to follow when making your purchase, all the documents you need to gather along with all the fees and paperwork you need to pay and accomplish. Here are a few ways you can prepare to ensure your first car purchase is smooth and hassle-free.

For starters, have a sound financing plan. Those who cannot pay in cash, and those are most people, should opt for a financing plan that is well within their means, whether that plan is made through a bank or the dealership. It might be worth the extra hassle of going through your bank if in the end you can land a lower interest rate or a more convenient payment plan. Terms of payment usually range from a year (12 months) to five years (60 months). Naturally, the longer payment period incurs higher interest.

Prepare your payment document. Your payment document usually comes in the form of a check, whether manager’s/cashier’s or personal, and it would pay to call your dealership beforehand to check which type they prefer. Once the details have been finalized with the dealership or the bank, your car can be prepped for release.

Choose carefully. The dealership will conduct its pre-delivery inspection upon the accomplishment of negotiations, so be completely sure that you are picking the car that you want to drive home with. Inspect the exterior for any defects and sit inside to ensure the interior cabin is sufficient. Find out all there is to know about the car, its warranty, or its maintenance. Ask questions, no matter how petty or insignificant. Ask for a test drive, if possible. It would save a lot of headaches down the road.

Prepare your driver’s license. This might seem a no-brainer, but your driver’s license is one of the most important requirements your dealership will ask of you. Obviously, you need to be a registered driver to drive the car home, but your license also serves as confirmation for your identity. If you are using the dealership’s in-house financing, your license will also be required along with other documents such as an electricity bill, water bill, or phone bill.

Get it insured. This final step requires the most research, but it is absolutely necessary for first-time drivers. Even if you have passed your driving tests with flying colors, or even if you swear to be the most cautious and attentive driver around, you will still need insurance. You simply cannot avoid bad drivers forever, and in the likely, hopefully far-off, event that you do meet one, you will be thankful to have some protection.

Once you have the details of your new car on hand, such as the vehicle identification number, engine number, and other details, you can set up a new insurance policy with any provider in the Philippines. Your dealer can help you provide the necessary information to complete the process, but it falls to you to make the decision of choosing your insurance provider. Do your research, check all the company Web sites, ask friends or other reputable sources, compare and contrast different products from different companies, and assess your typical risks and needs. Insurance products are rarely the same, and there is as much to be considered about which product is right for you as there is in choosing your car.

Once your new policy has been set up, your provider may then send you the proof of insurance to present to the dealership. The entire process may not take you very long, or it may take you a few days depending on the dealership. But if you walk in the dealership fully prepared for what your dealer may ask of you, you can look forward to riding your new car home worry-free. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran