The Importance of Collision Insurance

Before you are in need of an auto body repair shop in Salt Lake City it is important to have collision insurance as part of your auto insurance policy. Collision auto insurance covers damage to your car when it collides with another car or a non moving structure. This is not to be confused with comprehensive insurance which covers damage to your car in situations other than a collision.

1945 Chevy PickupI found out the importance of collision insurance the hard way when I was young and attending school in New Orleans, Louisiana. One morning I was driving down St. Charles Avenue on my way to class. I stopped at a red light behind another car and waited for the light to change. Suddenly another car hit me from behind. I got out of the car to inspect the damage. The center of the trunk had buckled in. The woman who hit me did not have insurance. She handed me some documents from her glove compartment but I did not get the sense she knew what the documents were. I took down her name and address and left the scene. That was my first mistake. I should have waited for the police but that could have taken a long time (if you have ever lived in New Orleans you would know what I mean) and the damage did not look too bad. My second mistake was to open the trunk because once I did it would not shut properly. I had to fasten it with a bungee chord but every time I drove over a bump the trunk would fly open and slam shut.

Later I found out that because I did not have collision insurance as part of my auto policy the accident was not covered even though I was not at fault. I was able to get a collision repair shop to fix the trunk just enough so that it would shut for $500. All told it was a very frustrating experience. But it did teach me to always include collision insurance with every future auto policy I purchased.

What You Will Experience if You Go Into a Dealership Unprepared

If you are in the market for a used car in Salt Lake City I cannot emphasize enough that you must go into the dealership prepared. You must anticipate their tactics and stick to you guns in terms of what you want to spend.

Last year I was in the market for a new car. I was at the stage where I just wanted to feel out the process and get some information. So I stopped at my local dealer (the business shall remain nameless) and approached one of the salesmen waiting out front for a person fitting my description. He asked me some general questions about the kind of car I was looking for and how much  I wanted to spend. I should have been more cautious right off the bat and realized that he was gathering information not for my benefit but for his. This makes sense of course. A car dealership is in the business of selling cars and not necessarily facilitating my fact finding mission.

After a while I began to feel like I had had enough. I generally find carshutterstock_140756257 dealerships to be depressing places. There seems to be an underlying energy to them that suggests I am a sucker to be preyed upon. When I indicated to the salesman that I wanted to leave he suggested we see other cars. When I again indicated I wanted to leave he got me to make an appointment to return. As I drove out of the lot I felt like I had just committed to something more than I wanted to do.

When I showed up for my return appointment the salesman I had spoken to was not there. However there was another salesman conveniently ready to step in his place. I wondered if the “appointment” I made was merely just a way to get through the door a second time.

I eventually decided on a car I was interested in. I told them how much I wanted my monthly payment to be. The salesman kept going into the other room to talk with his manager about what I was willing to pay. He kept returning with hand written offers. Finally the manager himself came out to talk to me. Before I knew it I found myself agreeing to pay more than the amount I had in my head. When I went back to sign the papers with the finance guy there were more fees tacked on.

This whole process took several hours. I was exhausted. When finally the papers were all signed, the manager congratulated me on my purchase and I drove off the lot. I felt agitated, confused and angry. I had just made my way through the dealership’s selling machine. They made their sale and I was left feeling dissatisfied. I wished I had been more prepared.

What To Look For When Buying a Used Car

Used Cars Salt Lake City

If you are planning on buying a used car in the Salt Lake City area there are several steps you must take to insure you walk away from the transaction with some degree of satisfaction.

  1. Before you walk on the lot research the make and model of the car you want to purchase. Read customer reviews with an eye towards possible defects to be aware of. Also, compare prices from various sources including the blue book so you have an idea of an appropriate price before negotiating with the dealer.
  2. When you get on the lot read the window sticker to see whether the car is being sold with a warranty or “as is.” If you are purchasing a car “as is” know that the dealer is making no warranties and if there are hidden defects you as the buyer are liable for them, not the dealer.
  3. Inspect both the interior and the exterior of the car. Look for damage and signs of repairs to damage. Lift up the hood and check for rusted parts. Check under the car for leaking fluids
  4. Take the car for a test drive. Listen for rattles and other noises that might indicate a potential problem. Make sure all the indicators are functioning. Get a feel for how the car accelerates, turns, breaks etc. After you have driven the car check again for leaks underneath.
  5. Have the car inspected by a professional mechanic. This will be an extra up front expense on your part but could potentially save you money on repairs down the road.
  6. Ask the dealer for a vehicle history report. This will give you information on legal title, history of ownership, service history including prior accidents.

A car is a major household expense and car dealerships can be intimidating. It is important to arrive on the lot as prepared as you can possibly be. Equally as important, you as the buyer should know what to look for in a used car. This will save you potential expense and headache in the long run.