What to know before you shop for a car

shopping for a car

​What "options" are you legally required to buy?

Confused about what is and isn't required when buying or leasing a vehicle?  Ohio law

 requires drivers to meet financial responsibility requirements, which can be done by purchasing liability insurance.  In addition, when leasing or financing a vehicle, those contracts require you to have physical damage insurance coverage.

Beyond that, here are answers to common questions asked about dealer options.*

Is my "new" car automatically covered by my current auto insurance policy?

Usually yes, but the length of time coverage is provided on a newly acquired auto (typically 4 to 14 days**) varies based on the types of coverage and whether the vehicle is a replacement or additional vehicle.  To be safe, call us about your policy.

A newly acquired auto will receive the broadest coverage provided for vehicles already on the policy.  However, if your current policy does not have Collision or Other Than Collision coverage, the automatic extension of these coverages to the new auto is usually limited to 4 days.** Though not legally required, you may want to take your insurance policy or ID card with you.

What about loan/lease GAP insurance?

In an accident, your auto policy pays you the current market value of the car, but you could still owe much more to the finance company.  That gap, or amount you still owe, is covered by loan lease Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) insurance.  Though not legally required, some new car leases have GAP coverage built into the contract.  Ask the dealer if you have the option of deleting the coverage from the lease and purchasing it as an endorsement to your existing auto insurance.  Doing so could save you a few dollars to a couple hundred dollars.  We can get you estimates now.

Is an extended warranty mandatory?

No, and you don't' have to buy an extended warranty before you leave the dealer.  A warranty may not be necessary for you, so call us.  But if you are intent on getting a warranty, know that purchasing from the dealer is not your only option.

What about credit life and disability?

Credit life and disability policies sold by auto dealers are not required.  They protect the lender if you cannot make monthly payments due to death or disability.  You are insuring the unpaid balance of the loan.  If that's all you need, the dealer's policy will suffice.  However, it may be wiser to use that money to increase coverage on your own life or disability policy instead of tying it to the lease or purchase of a vehicle.

Our Advice

Before you car shop, call us.  We'll help you get prepared and informed so you don't end up paying extra for something you neither want nor need.

* Many of these same principles apply for purchasing a boat, RV, travel trailer or motorcycle.

** Information from Insurance Services Office, Personal Auto Policy, 2005 edition

This information brought to you by a proud member of Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio, Inc.