Helpful tips when buying a car

Buying a car isn’t always a straightforward and easy process. It’s a big decision, a big purchase and there are things that need to happen along the way. Let’s say you’ve done your research about choosing your next car, figured out your financing options and picked out exactly what you want, there’s still lots to do. From getting car insurance, to license plates and ownership, there are different things along the way that must be done.

When you buy a new car at a dealership, the salesperson should support you along the way to ensure you have all the different loose ends taken care of. And with a few things prearranged (for example your insurance), you should have no problem getting your new car off the lot the day you buy it. Let’s take a closer look to see what some of those things are to make sure you show up prepared before you get to drive away happily into the sunset in your new car.

What type/level of license is required to buy a new car?

Although it may not be necessary to have a valid driver’s licence to purchase, insure or register a car, you will need one in order to legally drive your new vehicle off the lot. In Canada, many provinces have different stages of graduated licencing so be sure to check the department of transportation to ensure you have a valid licence before you drive away.

Do I need insurance right away?

Yes, you absolutely need car insurance in Canada; it’s the law. You will need to get the minimum mandatory coverage that is required in your province. Driving without insurance is a serious offense with harsh penalties such as pricey fines or getting your licence suspended.1 Getting car insurance provides you as a driver with the protection you need on the road if something were to happen. Whether you’re transferring insurance from an old car to your new one or starting the process from scratch, you won’t be able to leave the dealership without insurance on your new car.

How do I get car insurance?

You’ll need to call your insurance company with all the details of your new car like the make, model and VIN. (The VIN is the vehicle identification number that is unique to your specific vehicle and is set by the vehicle manufacturer. It’s usually found on the dashboard or on the inside of the driver’s door and will be printed on your vehicle permit.)2 You’ll also need to have your lease or financing details, plus your banking information on hand. Whether you purchase your insurance online or over the phone, you will be talked through all the necessary questions and can arrange for your coverage to start in time to pick up your car. Once you set up insurance for your vehicle, you can then register it (see below for more details). In fact, your vehicle must be registered for your insurance to be valid.

Before you leave the dealership, you will have to show them confirmation of coverage. This confirms the vehicle is insured for physical damage coverage, which is generally a requirement when financing or leasing.

If you’ve never bought insurance before here’s an introduction on how to get car insurance. Already have your car insurance with us? You can now add your new vehicle to your existing policy by logging into MyInsurance - it’s quick, easy, secure and available 24/7. If you prefer to speak to someone over the phone, here is some information about how to contact us.

What do I use as proof of insurance?

Your insurance company will provide you with proof of insurance to carry with you. Because it’s printed on a small piece of pink paper, it’s sometimes referred to as a pink slip. You can keep a copy of your pink slip somewhere safe like in your wallet or glove compartment, and now it’s also legal to carry an electronic copy as proof. Your electronic copy can be sent to you instantly and you can feel confident it’s always the most up to date copy (not to mention there’s less chance of losing it). Read more out about pink slips going paperless.

With TD Insurance, it’s a quick and convenient process and provided you have everything in order, you can get insurance and receive all your required documents in a matter of minutes.

How do I register a new car?

The provincial government requires you to register your new car before you hit the road. One of the advantages of buying a new car from a dealership is that they do a lot of the administrative steps for you. A dealership will most likely collect your necessary documentation and register your vehicle with the appropriate provincial department of transportation.

However, if you need to do this yourself, just check what you have to do in your province to confirm the process. For example, in Ontario you must register your vehicle at a government run service centre where you’ll receive a permit, a licence plate and sticker for your car that must be renewed annually.3

Do I need to get my own licence plates?

In order to legally drive your car, your vehicle needs a licence plate. As mentioned in the above section your dealership will most likely help you arrange new plates or you can refer to your provincial department of transportation to find out more. If you have plates, you can also transfer your old ones to your new car.

What if I am buying a used car?

If you decide to buy a used car, you will need most of the same documentation, but the difference is that you’ll have do most of the administration work yourself. It’s best to research what’s required in your province to register a car, get a safety certificate and of course make sure you have the proper insurance coverage before you’re able to drive the car legally.

Buying a car is a fun and exciting milestone. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. Just remember to plan ahead and make sure you’ve thought of all the different elements to take care of like a valid licence for where you live, ownership and insurance.

Once you’re all done – you’re officially ready to start your engine and drive away.