Author Topic: What are the steps to buying a car ?  (Read 1198 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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What are the steps to buying a car ?
« on: November 02, 2019, 03:47:38 PM »
I don't currently own a car and the last time I owned one was 10 years ago. This means I don't have car insurance.  I prefer to buy a used car from a dealer but I have to have insurance to take possession. But I have to have a car to get insurance. Am I missing something? Also one thing I read is that the buyer had to get it inspected, another thing said the seller will have it inspected. Which is it?


  • Stubble
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Re: What are the steps to buying a car ?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2019, 08:32:51 PM »
Insurance can vary - my insurance company has a 5 day grace period after purchasing a car, so I can have insurance, buy a car, and then deal with the VIN and insuring that actual vehicle later... but that's because I've had insurance with them for some time.

In other cases, you agree to buy the car, you get the VIN number, you get a quote for insurance on that VIN number & pay with a credit card, the insurance company can fax the info to the dealer, you can take possession.

Inspection will vary as well.  Some dealers will do it for you, others will force you to do it; states may also vary.  Usually, you end up registering the vehicle with the dealer, getting a 30-day temporary registration (they put on a paper license plate), which gives you time to get permanent license plates, inspection, etc.


  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Location: NJ
Re: What are the steps to buying a car ?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2019, 08:37:00 PM »
You can call an insurance agent (or company) and tell them you don't have insurance, but are car shopping and will need insurance once you pick out a car. They may ask for your information up front and give you an estimate based on the type of car you plan on buying. Once you pick out a car, just call them with the VIN and they'll give the dealer the info they need to complete the paperwork.

Inspection, if you mean state inspection, depends on the state you live in. In NJ, if you buy a car that was inspected in NJ, then the inspection sticker on the car is valid until its expiration date. However, if you went to PA or DE to buy a used car, you will have to take it to be inspected once you register it in NJ. The DMV will give you a temporary pass good for two weeks, during which time you have to take it to the inspection center and get a new sticker.

This might help -


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: What are the steps to buying a car ?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2019, 09:09:24 PM »
Thank you! Hopefully I can buy a car in the state I live in.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: What are the steps to buying a car ?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2019, 11:56:57 PM »
You  call or sign up online for insurance and get the insurance card faxed or emailed to you instantly. You do not need to own the car to get the insurance you just need the vin number. I’d shop around for quotes on the specific type of car your buying first so you get an idea of who has the cheapest prices. Most likely you’d only need liability insurance since the car is used. Might not be worth it to pay for collision or theft insurance if the car is not worth much.

If buying from a dealer you can call up to get the insurance after you make a deal. All legit dealers will be able to issue you temporary tags usually valid for 30 days. Dealers do charge you dealer fees.

If buying out of state, you’ll be paying the taxes once you register the car with your dmv. You will need the car title, bill of sale and insurance card. They should also give you temporary inspection paper where you’ll have a grace period of a week or so to get your inspection done.

If you’re not buying from a dealer and buying from a private buyer you’ll usually get a better price and not have to pay dealer fees but a private buyer won’t be able to issue you temporary tags. You’ll need get the title from them, and have them sign a bill of sale, you can print out a form on the dmv site. then you go to the dmv and register the car then come back with the registration and plates to be able to drive the car home. Or if the seller is willing they could drop the car off at your place or let you borrow their plates and let you return it later after you make the purchase from them.

In all cases do your due diligence, bring someone who knows cars to help you inspect the car, there can be a lot of hidden issues with used cars. You might want to get a car fax report to make sure there wasn’t any major accidents or flood damage and make sure the car isn’t branded as a salvaged car.