Car buying 101

When it's time to buy a new car, everyone wants to get a fair deal. Here are some tips as you narrow your choices and hone in on your next vehicle. As you shop, don't hesitate to contact an Allied Insurance Agent for advice. We can help answer questions about the cost of insuring the car and provide a fast, free Allied Auto Insurance quote.

Buying a car: New or used?

As soon as you drive a new car off the lot, it loses up to 20 percent of its value simply because it's not new anymore. That's a big drawback. But there are valid reasons to choose a new car, besides the nice smell. Car manufacturers are constantly adding substantial new safety features, so you may have to buy a new model if want a luxury car with a pre-collision detector that warns you if you are about to hit something, or a minivan with built-in GPS and rear-view camera.

Used cars can be a great value if you buy from a reputable dealer and know what problems to look for. If you have a mechanic you trust, it's a good idea to test drive the used car and take it to your mechanic for a review. Make sure the car or truck has the usual safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes.

How to check safety ratings when buying a car

Safety ratings are an important consideration – and also factor into the cost of your insurance.

As you look at cars, ask about crash test ratings on different makes and models of cars. To check out a vehicle's safety features and ratings before you shop, search the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or current consumer car magazines.

Save money

For those who enjoy bargaining, buying a car can be a thrill. For most people, it's nerve-wracking. The best strategy is to have your choices narrowed down to a few models (or just one) before you step onto a car lot. Arrive with notes about fair values for the cars you are interested in. It's easier than ever to find out, thanks to the Kelley Blue Book  and Edmunds websites. Other considerations:

  • Don't forget to factor in your indirect costs. Many luxury cars and imports are costly to service—and because the parts cost more, they're more expensive to insure, too. Some cars require premium gasoline to run smoothly, and those extra fuel costs can add up quickly.
  • If you plan to finance your vehicle, make sure you talk to your bank or credit union before automatically signing up for a loan from the car dealer. You may be able to get a better rate from your own banker.
  • If you get your car or truck home from the car lot and find that it's defective, check your local lemon laws. Most states have laws protecting consumers from unscrupulous car dealers.


Product, coverage, discounts, insurance terms, definitions, and other descriptions are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in your individual insurance contracts, policies, and/or declaration pages from Allied-affiliated underwriting companies, which are controlling. Such products, coverage, terms, and discounts may vary by state and exclusions may apply.