Buyers' Guide: Getting value for money
AA Motoring offers advice to buyers and sellers
Buying and selling cars go hand in hand. There are a few necessary steps in the process, but valuations are often overlooked. A vehicle’s value isn’t always easy to predict: some cars can depreciate faster than others. Sellers want to get the most for their cars; buyers want the best price and are always searching for a bargain.
Do your homework when you’re looking to buy. This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re searching for a classic car. Scanning online auction sites may help, but typically these vehicles can be difficult to value, and it is wise to seek help from an expert, to avoid overspending.
Vehicles three to five years old with low mileage are easier to value, especially with an online valuation. It’s likely the models will be well known and regularly sold in the current market. Though some won’t cost as much as a new vehicle, they’ll still come with a relatively large asking price. An online valuation is a good way to ensure you’re paying the right amount.
When you are ready to upgrade and you want to put up an online ad for your current car, you need to know what to sell it for, or what to settle for as a trade-in offer. Some buyers get lucky when they find a bargain, but when you’re selling, it’s important to be wary of online scammers.
Insuring your car for the correct value means you’re paying the correct amount for your cover. If you choose to agree the value of your car with your insurer, you’re guaranteed to receive that amount of money — minus any excess or outstanding deductions — from your insurance company if your vehicle is written off or stolen. It’s vital to get an accurate agreed value. If you have a classic or particularly rare car, insurers may also ask for a valuation certificate from an expert as evidence. Agree a higher price than the true value of your vehicle and you’re likely to end up paying higher premiums, or worse, your car could end up getting repaired for a higher value than it’s worth.
Agree a price that’s lower though, and you may just find that if your vehicle is written off or stolen, the money your insurer reimburses you with isn’t enough to cover the costs of a replacement vehicle of the same model, age and mileage. Bear in mind you’ll probably need to agree a new value every year when your policy is due for renewal. Taking the maintenance of your vehicle into consideration is also worthwhile as well-maintained cars hold their value for longer.
Getting a vehicle accurately valued is the sort of thing that can be forgotten about, but failing to acknowledge a vehicle’s true value can catch you out.
It’s important to remember that not all cars are created equal and some models hold their value better than others.
Valuations are often low-cost and the benefits of having one done could save you lots of money in the long run.