Buying your first car can be a really exciting time, but with so much to do, it’s also pretty daunting for most first-time drivers. Before you can safely and legally get behind the wheel of your new car and take yourself to wherever it is that you want to go, you’ll need to make sure that you have gone through an entire checklist of things that will ensure that you’re legally allowed to be on the road.
Getting everything right can be confusing if you’ve never bought a car before, so we’ve put together a handy checklist to ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
#1. Send Off for Your Pink Licence:
The good news is that you don’t need to have received your pink driving licence in the post before you can buy your first car. However, it may be a good idea to take your practical driving test pass certificate along with you to any car dealerships that you are visiting as many will ask to see proof that you are qualified to drive before they allow you to take a vehicle out for a test drive. Because of this, unless your examiner has already sent off for your full licence for you, it’s a good idea to get all the paperwork done and in the post as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to send your provisional licence back, if you still have it!
#2. Get Insurance:
The first thing that you will need to do after buying a new car is make sure that you are insured to drive it. Fortunately, most good car dealers are able to provide you with a few days of ‘drive away insurance’ so that you are able to get the car home and drive it for the first couple of days whilst you sort everything else out. However, bear in mind that this is not offered by all dealerships and most definitely won’t be available if you’re buying privately, so don’t assume that you’re insured unless this has been specifically confirmed.
If you can’t get insurance straight away, it may be worth asking a parent, relative or friend if they can add the car to their own insurance policy temporarily, so that they’re able to legally drive it away for you.
To get yourself insured (and find the best possible quotes) you will want to use a comparison site where you’ll find cheap UK car insurance quotes. It’s a wise idea to do this before committing to buying a car so that you have an idea of the price. It’s not uncommon for new drivers to have expensive insurance policies, so consider adding a more experienced driver onto your insurance or getting a black box to save money.
#3. Tax the Car:
More often than not, you will need to pay car tax, unless you are getting a very low emission car or an electric or hybrid vehicle. To tax the car, you will need to go to the Gov.uk website and follow their instructions. Tax costs are calculated using a range of factors including the age and environmental impact of the vehicle, and the cost cannot be negotiated. You will have the option to pay for the year in full, or you can pay by direct debit on a monthly, quarterly or six-monthly basis.
#4. Check the MOT History:
When you veer towards buying used vehicles, a very important step is to make sure you check the MOT and/or accident history. This is another step worth doing before you commit to buying a car, but if you’ve already parted with your money, then it’s a good idea to check the MOT history as soon as possible. The dealership or previous owner that you bought the car from should have provided you with an MOT certificate certifying that the car has passed its last MOT and any advisories that were given. Speak to the previous owner about whether or not the advisories have been attended to; if not then it’s worth taking the car to a reputable garage to have these issues rectified. Your MOT certificate will also inform you of when the next test is due; it is now your responsibility as the new owner to make sure that this is done on time. Going in for the test early is a good idea – you usually have a few weeks – as this will give you time to deal with any potential repairs needed.
#5. Register the Car to You:
When you buy a car, you will need to put your name down on the registration documents and send these to the DVSA to inform them that you are now the new legal owner and registered keeper of the car. You should do this at the time of purchasing the car; the previous owner should give you a green slip from their logbook to fill in and send back to the DVSA. You can find the postage address on the logbook or online at the Gov.uk website.
Make sure that you’ve done all these things when buying a new car, so that you’re legally able to enjoy getting out on the road.