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Buying Your First Car? Here’s What You’ll Need To Keep In Mind

Buying your first car is a major financial milestone. Much like enduring lengthy driving lessons with a parent or instructor, or finally sitting the stress-inducing test to get your Ps, it can be a journey filled with emotion — and for good reason. Cars are not just vehicles that get you from A to B. They're the havens that house one-person karaoke sessions, dining tables on busy days, and reunion spots for old friends — the list goes on.
Choosing one that really serves all your needs does require a little homework, and there are a lot of questions to weigh up when looking to purchase a car for the first time. Will you buy new or secondhand? How will you use the car once you've bought it? What safety features does it have? Will it cater to your various adventures, whatever they might be?
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To make the process a little easier, here's a rundown of what you'll need to keep in mind when diving into buying your first car. If you're still looking for more information, there are tonnes of handy guides available online (such as this one on the Bingle website) that will get you on the road in no time.

Figure Out How Much You're Willing To Pay 

You'll want to kick things off with the most essential part of the process: setting a budget. This will give you an understanding of what you can afford to spend on a car, and therefore, narrow down which model will be a realistic purchase. If you have Porsche dreams on a Hyundai budget, it may be time to reassess.
Like any significant investment, having an idea of what your everyday spending looks like will help you wrap your head around how much you need to save before purchasing. When setting your savings goal, have the maximum amount you're willing to pay for a car in mind too.
Cars require a lot of ongoing financial TLC, so factoring in ongoing and additional costs such as insurance, petrol, maintenance and parking is an important step in drawing up a savings plan and maximum price. Things like stamp duty, registration and dealer delivery can also add heft to what you'll initially have to pay upfront too. The Australian government offers a Moneysmart Cars app to help you work out the actual cost of buying and running a car in the long run.
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Once you've got your budget sorted and your savings plan down, deciding whether or not a car loan is right for you should be next. While personal factors (including your income and other living costs) will impact this decision, experts recommend not paying any more than 10-20% of your pay towards car repayments. Take enough time to find one that suits your needs best.

Decide Whether You'll Buy New Or Used 

Once you've figured out your finances, you'll probably have a better idea of whether you can buy new or used.
Of the 46% of Australians who intended on purchasing a new car in 2020/2021, 14% were actively looking to buy a used car — which does have its benefits. Used cars are usually significantly cheaper, can be purchased through private owners who are looking to sell quickly (and more likely to negotiate on price), and can have lower insurance premiums.
However, it's essential to look into the car's service history, how many kilometres it's clocked up and whether it's had any significant issues in the past. Ignoring any glaring problems could end up costing you more in the long run. A good way to get around this is by checking the Personal Properties Security Register. This will inform you whether the secondhand car you're looking to purchase has a security interest recorded against it —— if it does, the car could have money owing on it (potentially due to previous accidents, having been written off in the past or other issues) and could be repossessed even after you've paid for it.
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On the other hand, if you're buying a new car from a dealership, it's best to go in with some negotiations prepared. Read the fine print on things such as extended warranties, and any other contractual obligations like forcing you to get the car serviced by the dealer. These could all influence your decision to ultimately buy new or used.

Keep Safety Front Of Mind

Much like your parents likely remind you of the first-ever time you headed out on a late-night drive-thru run with pals after you conquered the red Ps test — safety comes first.
While physical safety features are of utmost importance, ensuring that you're covered during an accident or extraordinary circumstances is imperative when buying your first car. There are many car insurance options out there, so figure out what you want covered and what works within your budget. For example, Bingle's comprehensive car insurance will cover accidental damage, hail and storm damage, theft and more.
Lastly, the best way to see if a car is for you and you feel safe in it is arguably the most fun part of buying a car — going for a test drive.
On a test run, you'll be able to assess the car's steering, acceleration, braking, quietness and visibility, which are all critical factors of safe driving. If you're test-driving a secondhand car, keep an eye or ear out for any strange noises, whether it starts immediately and whether the breaks feel secure. Prior to test driving, checking out a car model's ANCAP Safety Rating could give you an in-depth understanding of a car's safety capabilities as well. A cheaper price tag may look tempting, but issues like this could lead to problems in the future.
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Bingle car insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807, trading as Bingle Insurance. As with any car insurance, you should always consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before buying. You can read Bingle's PDS here for more specific information on its comprehensive car insurance policy. The Target Market Determination is also available. Bingle Insurance does not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon the information in this article – please make your own enquiries.
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