Is Buying a Car at an Auction Worth It?
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Is It a Good Idea to Buy a Car at an Auction?

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Is It a Good Idea to Buy a Car at an Auction?

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The prospect of buying a car at an auction might fill you with excitement. After all, there’s something about fast-paced bidding and the chance to score a great deal that naturally gets your heart racing. Yet you still want to make sure you’ll go home with a safe and reliable vehicle at the end of the day. The auto insurance experts at Altra Insurance Services suggest following these tips to help you decide if auction bidding is the right route for buying a car you’ll feel safe driving.

Think about Your Reasons for Buying at an Auction

There are several clear benefits to buying at an auction. If you’re lucky enough to win with a low bid, this could be a way to buy the car you want for less than you would at a dealership or from a private owner. Auctions are also all about quick sales, which means you won’t spend all day haggling over the price.

Consider the Need for a Test Drive

One of the downsides of going to an auction is that you typically aren’t allowed to do a test drive. This limits your ability to check out how well the car drives and listen for obvious signs of a problem, such as squeaking brakes. 

Test driving a vehicle is also a helpful way to make sure you like how well you fit into the driver’s seat. If you’re not sure how easily you’ll be able to reach the pedals or see out of the back window in a car you’ve never driven before, you might miss the chance to check important factors that could affect your decision.

Try to Check for Signs of Damage

Despite not being able to take a test drive, you might be fine going to an auction if you trust your ability to recognize signs that a car has been in an accident or has other forms of damage. Depending on how the auction is run, you might have time to check the car’s history or at least make sure the VIN is accurate. You’ll also want to avoid any cars with obvious dents or new paint that doesn’t match the rest of the car’s body. Checking inside the car for signs of water damage could also prevent you from purchasing a vehicle that’s been in a flood.

Factor in the Cost of a Full Inspection

Saving money is the name of the game when it comes to auctions, but you’ll still have some extra expenses to cover that you might not have to worry about with a private dealer. Buyers at auctions are typically cautioned to obtain complete inspections of the vehicles before they drive them on public streets. If your inspection turns up any signs of damage, you’ll need to be prepared to cover the cost of repairs. 

While buying a car at an auction isn’t always a bad idea, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable with the risks and potential additional costs involved with getting your new vehicle up to speed for driving safely on public streets, and you’ll need to protect it with reliable auto insurance. For affordable car insurance, reach out to the experienced professionals at Altra Insurance Services. We offer a variety of insurance products, including motorcycle, renters, and homeowners insurance. San Diego residents should give us a call today at (619) 404-6311 for a free quote.

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