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Buying A Car

There you are, out car shopping on a sunny Saturday morning.  Whether it’s your first car or your fifth, you can’t help feeling the bubbles of excitement as you stroll across the lot, coffee in hand, looking at all the different cars.

Of course you know what you want.  Kind of.  You’ve done your research!  You have an idea what type of vehicle you need, looked into your financing options, made up your mind on whether you’ll buy a new or used car, and read up on gas mileage, crash test and safety ratings. And you know what color you’d like.

And today is the day.  You are ready to make a move.  And drive the new ride home.

But did you call your insurance agent to make sure you and your new car are covered as you drive off the lot?  There are actually quite a few aspects to consider when you purchase a new or used car.  Some of them are to ensure that you have insurance protection, others can save you quite a bit of money.

A quick phone call to us at McClain Insurance Services before you go out to buy can give you the head start you need to stay in control.

  • Car Dealer telling you that you’ve got 30 days to add your new car to your policy?
  • Car Loan Upside Down?  Get the insurance, but not from the dealer
  • Buying a used car?  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Buying a car for your teen? Read this.
  • Thinking about co-signing on a loan?  We don’t recommend it.

Car Dealer Telling You That You’ve Got 30 days to add your new car to your policy?  Beware! It’s not always true!

So you’ve found the car that you like and you are sitting down to do the paperwork.  And just as you pick up the pen, it occurs to you that you forgot to call your agent to get insurance for your new car.  No!

And meanwhile it’s Saturday afternoon, you are exhausted and tired, and would just like to drive it home.  But along comes your car dealer with some fabulous news:  You have 30 days to add it to your insurance plan.

No need to fret!

Unfortunately, that’s not quite true.  There are indeed situations when you have 30 days to add the new car to your policy.  But there are far too many variables to give you an exact rule of thumb. (For example, it might work when you trade a vehicle, but it won’t be applicable when you buy an additional vehicle.)

Your safe bet:  Don’t rely on the 30-day advice.  If you are beginning to think about buying a new car, give your insurance team at McClain Insurance Services a quick right away, and we’ll set you up right.  So that when you finally go to buy the new car, you don’t have to worry.  It’s as easy as that.

Car loan “upside down”?  Get the insurance, but not from the dealer

As purchase you new car, you may be presented with the option to buy auto loan/lease or “gap” coverage.  “Gap” coverage is needed when you are “upside-down” on your car loan.  This can happen if you take on a loan with a zero or low down payment, financing most of the car’s cost.

Cars depreciate incredibly fast, and as a result, the amount that you owe on the car may quickly be far greater than its fair market value.

This can become a problem if your car is totaled after an accident or theft.  If your car is a ‘total loss’, your insurance company is only obligated to pay for its fair market value.  If the amount you owe on the vehicle is more than the market value, you might find that you need to pay additional money (sometimes thousands of dollars) just to pay off the car loan (even though you can’t even drive the car anymore!)

That’s what “gap” coverage is for.  It pays for the difference between the market value of your car and the amount you have left on your loan.  We absolutely believe that you should purchase “gap” or auto loan/lease coverage on every lease!

But:  We recommend that you purchase this coverage through your auto insurance company.  Insurance companies usually charge between $50-70 per year for this protection.

If you purchase “gap” coverage through your car dealer, you will usually be charged a lump sum of $600-800.  Often, this will be rolled into your financing and you will also be charged interest on it… for the life of your loan!  If you purchase “gap” coverage through your auto insurance, you can drop it when you are no longer “upside down” on your loan.

No worries.  Call your team at McClain Insurance Services, and will set it all up for you.  But … call before you sign the contract!

Buying a used car?  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Maybe you did your car-shopping online, and you found a great deal on a used car.  Low mileage, good condition, and after the test-drive, you find it runs like a charm.  And the price is good, too.  Great, actually.  They could get much more for this if they wanted to…  Wait.  Why don’t they?

The caveat with used cars is often that you can never be really sure what happened to them.  So you rely on the honesty of the previous owner … or you get a vehicle history report.  Various providers offer these reports online for a fee.  If you call your trusty insurance agent, you can get it for free!

Be smart.  Call McClain Insurance before you buy your car.

Buying a car for your teen?  Read this:

Your son just turned 16, and of course, passed his driver’s license test on his birthday.  And down memory lane you go…  Remembering how you drove the old beat-up blue pick-up truck to school (Pick-up?  They should have named it Hick-up!) And were dreaming about that sleek convertible…

Now your son’s 16, and you want nothing more than make his dreams come true.  Which parent doesn’t?  Since both of you are into cars, you agree on a sporty model.  It stretches the budget, but it’s affordable.

The surprise comes Monday, when you call your agent to add the new car to your insurance plan.


Young drivers in combination with new, sporty vehicles make for an expensive mix when it comes to your auto insurance.  This is not a personal offense against your teen (who might be a very good driver).

But studies have proven again and again that young drivers are the highest risk on the road.  And insurance companies will rate young drivers as high-risk drivers, because they simply have not yet gained the experience of older drivers.

And sports cars, by nature, encourage speeding, and make for increased insurance rates; brand new models and types like SUVs and Trucks may also trigger higher rates.

If you are looking to buy a car for your teen, opt for a midsize, slightly older and reliable car with safety features such as airbags or anti-lock brakes.  Older cars are generally less expensive to insure because they are less expensive to repair.

You can always give us a call for more advice or sample rate quotes.

Thinking about co-signing on a loan?  We don’t recommend it.

Your grown up daughter, who’s been living on her own for a couple of years, just was laid off from her job due to ever-present budget cuts.  That not enough, now also her trusty old sedan broke down, this time for good.

She just had an interview for a new position, and things are looking pretty good… but if she got the job, she would need a car to get there. Without a car, she can’t take the job.  And even with the new job, adding a car payment to the budget will make things tight.  Very tight.

You consider helping her out by co-signing a car loan.

When purchasing and financing a new or used car for your adult child, think twice:  If you co-sign on a loan for a car that your son or daughter will be driving, you may be held liable if an accident occurs – even if you weren’t driving, and even if the car was not listed on your insurance policy.

Why?  Because liability follows the registered owner(s) of a car.  If you are listed as a registered owner (which you are, if you co-sign), you can be held liable in case of an accident, and your assets are in jeopardy, often for the life of the loan.

So what to do if you’d like to assist your child by helping him or her buy a car?

From an insurance standpoint, rather than risk your assets by co-signing, the best solution would be to give financial support, but to register the car in the child’s name only.

Keep in mind:  This advice only applies for young adults who are no longer your dependents.  If your child is still a dependent, lives in your household, and/or is continuing their education, families will often find the broadest coverage and best insurance rates by keeping registration and insurance in the parents’ names.

One-Stop Insurance Shopping

Buying a new car is very exciting!  Get yourself cruising right, by giving our team at McClain Insurance a call before you head out to the dealer.

We can make sure you get adequate protection at the best rates, plus all the discounts you deserve.  One quick phone call – much less hassle.  Isn’t that the way to do it?

McClain Insurance will help you with your car insurance needs! Because we represent a wide variety of insurance companies, you’ll have many options choose from. You can also get the process started online right here on our website.

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