Direct Talk

How to Plan for the ‘What Ifs’ When Buying a Car

Imagine this: You find your dream car, apply for a loan and get approval. All that’s left is to go to the dealer, pick it up and drive out. When you finally sit in the driver’s seat, everything feels right. The sky is blue and the weather is warm as you drive, but as you turn the corner and stop at the first robot, a man points a gun at you and shouts ‘Get out!’

 

Sophie Ndaba, Generations super star and events planner, was faced with a similar situation when hijackers took her and her young daughter for a terrifying joyride. Her first ever car still had that new leather smell when hijackers left them with nothing in the middle of nowhere.

Her car was gone, but Sophie managed to recover from this disaster. She and her daughter came away shaken but ultimately unscathed, and she remembered that she’d had the foresight to purchase a comprehensive car insurance plan. She drove away in a new car only a few days later.

Here are some of Sophie’s biggest vehicle ‘What Ifs’, and her advice on how you can prepare for each of them.

  1. What if I can’t afford it? Use online loan calculators to see how much you can afford to borrow, and use that number to choose a car that doesn’t go over your budget. Then you can go about getting a good credit score, and apply for the loan that will hopefully get you the car you want.
  2. What if it’s a bad deal? Always buy your car - whether new or second hand - from a reputable dealer, and always go for a test drive.
  3. What if I change my mind? Dealers will try to pressure you into making a decision, but they need you more than you need them. Take your time to find your dream car.
  4. What if there’s something wrong with the car? Make sure that everything is working as it should be before you buy. If you’re unsure bring someone with some car experience with you. That way if something goes wrong, you’ll know if it was your fault or the dealer’s fault, and take it from there.
  5. What if my car is stolen or I get into an accident? Don’t skip out on insurance, you never think you need it until you do. Most importantly, if something happens to your car, you’ll need insurance to help you cover the cost of fixing the car, paying off outstanding debt or replacing it completely.

Of course, there are other car costs to consider that don’t always fall under the “What Ifs”. You need to keep in mind that once you’ve bought the car, there’s always something to pay for. You’ll need to consider petrol, insurance excess, regular maintenance, and premiums that increase each year!

Buying a car should be an enjoyable, satisfying experience, so make sure nothing gets in the way of that.

Check out Direct Talk for more stories on life, money and everything in between.

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