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Guide to buying a used car

Buying a second-hand car can save you a bundle compared to a new model, but it's important to do your research before you buy.

The more knowledge you have about the car, the better your negotiating position will be.

Do your homework

You can find out the fair market value for a car on motor industry websites like Parkers and What Car. It's also a good idea to check the DVLA's vehicle information service to see what details they hold about the car.

And if you're buying a vehicle over three years old, you should use the government's MOT history checker to confirm the current MOT is genuine. As an additional precaution, carry out a HPI check to make sure a vehicle doesn't have any hidden history.

Depreciation and running costs

Some cars depreciate in value far faster than others. Buy one of these money pits brand new, and you could lose up to three quarters of its value within three years. But buy one at three years old, and you could grab yourself a bargain - particularly if you plan on keeping it for a long time.

However, some larger cars depreciate quickly because they're expensive to run, so a car that looks cheap to buy, may cost you a lot more in fuel, servicing and repairs, and Vehicle Excise Duty. For a guide to running costs, check out the car cost calculator on the government's Money Advice Service website.

Explore your finance options

It's important to stay within your budget, so work out what you can afford each month and how long you want to be making monthly repayments. If you're thinking about taking out a loan there are a number of different options available.

If you are buying from a dealership, you may be offered finance direct from them. Alternatively, arranging credit from an independent provider could allow you to shop around for the loan with the most favourable terms, and negotiate the price of your car.

Police Mutual have teamed up with Neyber, our trusted partner, to offer a personal loan to help you purchase your new car. The loan gives you the freedom to buy your car where you want to and is not secured against the car you buy.

The personal loans are available from £2,000 - £25,000 over 1-5 years - representative APR 4.9% (fixed). To find out more about car loans from Police Mutual and to get a free no obligation quote click here.

All loans are subject to status. As a responsible lender, Neyber wants to find the best way to truly help customers. The loan amount, rate and repayment term may differ, depending on your personal circumstances and Neyber's credit assessment procedures.

PMGI Limited, trading as Police Mutual is acting as a credit broker. Neyber Limited is acting as lender for the purposes of entering into a consumer credit agreement.

Insuring your car

Once you've chosen your next car and agreed the price, you'll need to arrange insurance. If you have car insurance with Police Mutual, you can switch cover to a new car without incurring any administration fees.

From 1 April 2017, when it's time to renew your insurance, you'll receive a renewal notice from your provider showing you the previous year's premium along with the cost of new cover. This is the ideal time to review your policy to make sure you have the right level of cover - particularly if you've changed your car.

You should also make sure you're getting value for money. To see if you could save money on your car insurance with Police Mutual, get a quote today. And if you switch mid-term, we'll pay up to £125 in any cancellation fees levied by your existing provider.



All applications are subject to acceptance by Neyber. Terms and conditions apply.
PMGI Limited, trading as Police Mutual, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales No. 1073408. Registered office: Alexandra House, Queen Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6QS.
Neyber Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Interim permission: 663054. Registered address: First floor (East), Tabernacle Court, 16-28 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4DD. Company registered number; 08806631 Data Protection Registration Number: ZA039009.
Police Mutual car insurance is provided by RSA Insurance Group plc.


Article published on 1 March 2017

David Reeves

About the author

David Reeves is one of the Senior Marketing Managers here at Police Mutual. He is based in the General Insurance office in Liverpool and likes running and walking in his spare time.

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