Saving up for a new car? Before you reach your target budget, it’s best for you to know this early that buying a car takes more than just handing out cash, shaking hands, and driving out of the dealership with your new vehicle purchase. There are protocols to follow, documents to gather, fees to pay, and paperwork to complete. Here’s a list of the necessary paperwork you need to buy a car from a dealer or private seller:

Documents necessary for a new car purchase

Payment document

This usually comes in the form of a check. Different types of check that can be used as payment for a car purchase include:

  • Bank check
  • Check for a pre-approved loan
  • Cashier’s check
  • Personal check

Different dealerships will accept different kinds of checks, so it can be helpful to call your dealership beforehand which type of check they prefer. Of course, if you’re paying for your vehicle in cash, then a payment document will no longer be necessary.

Driver’s license

You need to be a registered driver to drive the car home, so this is one of the biggest requirements that your dealership will ask of you. Your driver’s license also serves as confirmation of your identity for your check and other documents you submit. Likewise, if you are using the dealership’s in-house financing, a driver’s license will be one of the requirements, along with other proofs if identity and residence such as an electricity bill, water bill, or phone bill.

Proof of insurance

Before you can drive off with the car, you first need to have insurance on that car. You can set up a new insurance policy if you’re decided on which car to buy and have its details on hand, or you can call your insurance from the dealership and give them your new car’s vehicle identification number, engine number, and other key details. If you're not sure what insurance company to go with, here you can find some tips on getting the best car insurance in the Philippines. Your insurance provider may then fax or e-mail your proof of insurance to the dealership. That said, there can be instances when all a dealer will require of regarding insurance is to present an active auto insurance policy.

If you can remember the documents listed above when buying a new car, you speed up the sales process and minimize the length of time you spend at the dealership. But what if you’re buying a used car? The process requires a whole new set of documents altogether, which are enumerated below:

Documents Necessary for a Used Car Purchase

Car title

The car title is a document that proves that the ownership of the vehicle has changed hands, and that’s why it is arguably the most important document when buying a used car. It also serves as a binding contract between buyer and seller. In general, a car title should contain:

  • The date of sale
  • Price
  • Odometer reading
  • Signature of both buyer and seller
  • Notarization

Get in touch with a notary public lawyer for more information about car titles.

Deed of Sale

Even if the seller doesn’t require you to furnish a deed of sale, it will be wise to have one for your own legal security. You can get a free “Vehicle Deed of Sale” form from websites such as this. For a well-detailed deed of sale, be sure to include the following information:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Type of body
  • Motor number
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Plate number
  • Official receipt number
  • Car registration number
  • Purchase price
  • Date of sale
  • Name, address, and signatures of both buyer and seller
  • Notarization

Registration Certificate

The registration certificate is another important used car buying document, as it provides pertinent information about the car, such as its engine and chassis number. You will need to confirm the region in which the car has been registered. If you plan to bring it to another region, you will have to re-register the vehicle at its new location. It’s a time consuming process, but is something that needs to be done if you don’t want to have a headache in case the vehicle is flagged for a violation or figures in an accident.

If the car is very old or went through a serious road mishap, the engine may have been replaced, so confirm that the registration certificate contains the new engine number.

Insurance

If the vehicle has an existing insurance policy, have the policy transferred to your name. If you don’t, you may find it impossible to process a claim should you encounter an accident. As the policy is being transferred to you, confirm that the seller has been diligent with paying the premium. Also confirm if insurance has been claimed before. This will tell you if the vehicle has been involved in an accident in the past.

Maintenance Schedule

Though not necessarily a hard requirement for most used car buyers, asking for a maintenance schedule from the seller is highly recommended, as it informs you if the vehicle is well-maintained. A car that has been serviced regularly at authorized automotive centers will be in better running condition than one that’s not. Likewise, if the vehicle is still under warranty, a maintenance schedule can confirm it, as car manufacturers require owners to strictly adhere to a vehicle’s maintenance schedule for the warranty to remain active.

Purchase Receipt

When buying from a dealer or company, you are guaranteed to receive a printed purchase receipt along with the car. However, if you’re buying your car from a private seller, such a document may not be provided. Don’t hesitate to ask for a purchase receipt, and demand it if need be.

When you’re in the market to buy a car, expect to fill out some paperwork and forms in order to get the vehicle properly documented and ready to drive. This article provides a general overview of the paperwork you’ll need to furnish to seal the deal. Granted the necessary documents will vary with different sellers and dealers, but hopefully, this guide will prepare you enough to make any other document a cinch to furnish.