What do You Need to Bring with You When Buying a Car?

Get Car Financing
Even with poor credit.

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


, - December 6, 2018

Regardless of your credit situation, there are some documents you need to bring with you when you buy a car at a dealership. But if you have bad credit, you need to bring in some additional documents for the lender in order to get approved for an auto loan.

Before You Head to the Dealership

Before you go to the dealership, make sure you know where your credit stands by checking your credit reports and score, and try to get pre-approved at your local bank or credit union. If you have a vehicle you want to trade in that isn’t paid off, you need to contact the lender to request a payoff quote.

A payoff quote states the balance due on the loan and usually includes an additional 10 days of accrued interest, plus any additional fees owed to the lender. Once you have the payoff amount, lenders typically allow 10 days to receive the payment.

Paperwork to Bring to the Dealership

Once you’re ready to move forward in the car buying process, you need to gather some information to bring to the dealership. When you have good credit, you only need to bring in these three documents:

  1. Your driver’s license – A valid driver’s license with the same address that’s listed on your loan application and/or buyers order.
  2. Trade-in information – Bring in the title and registration if you plan on trading in the vehicle and putting the same plates on the new car.
  3. Proof of insurance – Make sure your insurance company knows about the new vehicle, and bring in proof of insurance. If you don’t have full coverage insurance on your current car, you need to bring in a binder that shows you have full coverage for the new vehicle.

If you have bad credit, in addition to those items, you need four more:

  1. Proof of income – A copy of your most recent computer-generated pay stub with year-to-date earnings. If you’re an independent contractor or self-employed, bring in copies of recent tax returns and bank statements.
  2. Proof of a working phone – Either a landline or contract cell phone bill works.
  3. Proof of residency – A recent utility bill, rental or mortgage statement can satisfy this requirement.
  4. References – A list of four to six personal references, complete with names, addresses, and phone numbers, none of whom live at your address.

The Bottom Line

Make sure you’re prepared ahead of time. You don’t want to be turned down for auto financing or have to make another trip to the dealership because you’re missing some paperwork. If you gathered all the information you need, and are ready to buy a car, but worry your credit is holding you back, let CarsDirect help.

We can help you by matching you to a dealership that has the bad credit lenders available to help. The nationwide network of dealers we work with know how to handle unique credit situations, and are ready to help. Get started today by filling out our simple and free car loan request form.

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


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