June 3, 2019

When buying a car for your graduate, don’t forget to do your homework

So, you’ve decided to reward your graduate with a car. Congratulations! But how do you figure out which car is the right car? Whether you’re shopping new or used, here are a few tips to consider from Lake Michigan Insurance Agency (LMIA).

Ask a crash dummy. It’s easy to find out which cars did well in crash tests (and which didn’t). Visit these sites for current and past rankings, plus other useful tools.

IIHS.org | The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded Top Safety Picks since the 2006 model year.

Safercar.gov | For the more “classic” automobiles, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site has ratings going back to 1990.

NICB.org | The National Insurance Crime Bureau allows you to enter a car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to find out if it’s been reported stolen or flagged as a salvaged vehicle.

Make sure it can perform now and down the road. Sources such as ConsumerReports.org can give you a good idea of the experience other owners have had with the models you’re considering. Warranty coverage is included with new vehicles, but you can also find used cars that have undergone a certification program. You’ll want to look at mileage estimates and features such as all-wheel drive, too.

Kick the tires (and then some). If you’re buying used, it’s crucial that you get an inspection from a trusted mechanic. Get as much history on the car as you can, from owner records to a Carfax® report. And if you feel like the sellers aren’t being forthcoming, walk away. Don’t let their problems become your problems.

Consider the cost of buying AND owning. Certain cars cost more to repair and maintain than others, and insurance costs can vary widely as well. At LMIA, we’re happy to help you determine the impact different models can have on your wallet.

When you get further along in your search and have a few models in mind, give us a call at (616) 643-0623 and we’ll compare the insurance costs for you.