Does getting in a strange car or letting a stranger ride in yours feel risky at the moment? (And no, we don’t mean hitch-hiking or a Tinder date lift. #safetyfirst) We’re talking about going on a test-drive… If you’re looking to buy new or used wheels, or sell yours, then you might be wondering if it’s a good idea right now. Here we’ll answer that burning question: Can you buy or sell a car during COVID-19?
Why Buy a Car During COVID-19?
Safe, reliable access to public and private transport is a crucial part of how our communities operate. This means car buying and selling is considered to be an essential service.
And sometimes your circumstances change, meaning you might suddenly find yourself in the market – even if you hadn’t planned it.
There are obvious health risks during a pandemic, which we’ll get to in a moment. First, let’s consider some of the benefits of buying a car in this market.
Low interest rates
If you’re comparing car loans, the good news is interest rates are at historic lows, making it more affordable than ever to buy your next car. And if you can afford to, it’s a great time to get ahead on those loan payments by paying extra. Doing so on a lower interest rate makes a bigger difference than doing so at a higher rate!
Increase in business write offs + EOFY
As part of its stimulus package, the government is offering very generous business perks (aka an increase in instant asset write off). And at this time of year – with end of financial year almost upon us – there could be some great business tax reasons to get amongst it. Perhaps now really is the time to buy a car for your biz?
Time to snag a bargain
Many dealerships and car yards are experiencing a decline in sales because of the pandemic, on the tail of a decline in sales over the past two years. And with many people experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-related business changes, there are likely a number of good deals available. Sad but true.
All this puts you in a strong buying and negotiating position. It might be easier to get a bargain than you think.
How to Buy a Car During Coronavirus (and Stay Safe)
Buying and selling your car can be safe for everyone if both parties are mindful of their actions and take extra precautions during the sale. In fact the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has released a list of recommended precautions to safeguard customers and staff during this time.
- Virtual sales and service consultations
- Contact-free drop off and pick up of serviced vehicles
- Contact-free delivery of vehicles for evaluation drives
- Enhanced detailing and disinfecting practices
- Physical distancing in sales and service facilities
Do your homework on ways to keep yourself safe and have a read of our tips on how to avoid COVID-19 when on the road.
So, who is still trading?
The car sales market is like an Eveready battery – it just keeps going and going. If you’re keen to buy you have several pathways to choose from.
- Dealerships: Big dealerships are still trading, offering new and used car sales, and they’re focused on providing a COVID-safe experience.
- Independent car yards: Those that can trade, still are. However, as the impacts of isolation have affected many businesses, smaller yards might not be able to keep their doors open.
- Private sellers: The private sale car market is always available, via websites such as carsales.com.au, carsguide.com.au and gumtree.com.au.
Choosing a Service Provider During Restrictions
When choosing a car dealership, look for businesses that are transparent about their response to COVID-19 and are implementing the FCAI recommendations mentioned above.
Due to this handy thing called the internet we have lots of info at our fingertips. Do your research and narrow down which cars you’re interested in before you visit. There are plenty of sites that offer reviews of different car models.
Questions to ask dealerships, car yards and private sellers
If you’re buying a car right now, you might like to ask your salesperson these questions:
- Can they offer Facetime (or other video) demonstrations of the car/s for sale?
- Will they accept deposits over the phone (credit card, PayPal, Osko, etc)?
- What are their vehicle sanitation precautions? Things like wearing gloves in the car, disinfecting car interior/s and exterior/s, disinfecting after handling keys, etc.
- Will they offer a home test drive and trade-in evaluation?
- Can they sit in the back of the car during your test drive, rather than the front?
By using common sense and maintaining social distancing where possible, these best practices will help keep you safe during this time. We also recommend you always avoid touching your face and carry and use sanitiser frequently.
So, the answer to your ‘Can you buy a car during COVID-19?’ question is YES!
Safe Car Selling During COVID-19
Sometimes you just need to sell your car, COVID or not. Or perhaps it’s because of COVID (if that’s the case, we hope things improve for you ASAP!)
At least with restrictions slowly easing in most places there is a growing number of potential buyers who are happy to enter a private sale conversation.
How to sell your car in the pandemic
Our article on selling your car fast, and for the best price is a comprehensive guide to getting the biggest bang for your buck during these challenging times. We suggest you take five minutes to read it over.
Don’t have that much time? No problem – following are some of our top tips.
Hot tips for selling a car during the coronavirus
There are many tactics you can employ to make your car as enticing as possible and to assure those interested that their health is safe in your hands.
- Reassuring buyers you’ve made every effort to sanitise your car and keep it clean – this will almost certainly make it more enticing. Do so in your online ad and in every conversation, where appropriate.
- Speaking of the ad, be authentic in your description and with the photos. Make sure you write about the positives as well as touching on any negatives such as damage. Any fibs will be found as soon as they see the car in person so resist telling any.
- Clean your car thoroughly from top to bottom before and after someone gets in it. The disinfectant you use should be one where the manufacturer claims ‘antiviral activity’ – this means it can kill the virus.
- Getting your car professionally cleaned and detailed is another option. Some detailers are already offering additional hygienic measures as part of their detailing packages. Ask if yours will too.
- Once your car is COVID-clean then ensure your hands are properly washed before touching any surface.
- You could even go so far as to complete an infection control training course and upload the completion certificate to your sales page. Give your buyers confidence that you have their health interests at heart.
- Make it smell nice with air freshener or similar. Perception is reality, as they say!
Car Insurance Claims
If you’re in the market for a new car, you might like to check out these ways to save on your next premium.
Know that we offer a range of discounts, including one for Australians who are the only driver of their car, and our team is available 9 to 5pm Monday to Friday via online chat, email and phone. And once you have a PD Insurance policy you can access our customer portal 24/7.
Over to You
Were you wondering ‘Can you buy a car during COVID-19? Or sell one?’ and if so, why? Have you felt confident in the measures that sellers are implementing to keep you safe? Have you had some interesting questions from potential car buyers? Let us know in the comments below.