Signing up for AAA Auto Insurance is easy. Just fill out our Insurance Quote Request Form, and one of our AAA Insurance Representatives will contact you.
While laws vary from state to state, there is only limited protection for used car purchases. All in all, it's easier to prevent a problem prior to purchase than it is to solve one afterwards. If you do have trouble after the sale and you can't resolve it yourself, contact your state's consumer protection agency for help. Here are some useful tips to consider:
Inspect before you buy: Always have a vehicle inspected by a mechanic of your choice prior to purchase. Never buy a used car unless you have the vehicle checked out by a certified mechanic first. If you don't and you have a problem after the sale, a judge may look at your transaction and say, "Why didn't you check the car out before you bought it?" (For help in finding a reputable mechanic, you can look into our AAA-Approved Auto Repair, or check out our Vehicle Inspsection & Smog Services.)
Safety issues take priority: If you bought a car from a used car dealer and have legitimate safety problems with the vehicle, the state may be able to help. It is illegal for an auto dealer to sell—or offer to sell—a vehicle with unsafe tires, damaged glass, non-working lights, or brakes that will not stop the car in 25 feet from a speed of 20 miles per hour. The vehicle must also pass a smog test at the time of sale.
If any of these problems are present at the time of sale, you may be able to force the dealer to make repairs. Be advised, if the dealer has any responsibility, it's usually to repair the problem, not to replace the car. Some dealerships may be willing to trade the vehicle for a different one from their stock. However, this is strictly voluntary on their part.
Good condition is not a requirement for sale: Basically, a car is not required to be in good condition at the time of its sale. In other words, if the engine blows up or the transmission fails two days after the sale, you may have no recourse. However, there is often an implied warranty of merchantability, which means that if you buy a car, it should "act like a car." Your car should be fit for normal use at the time that it's sold.
Get it in writing: If fraudulent or deceitful acts (such as a misleading oral statement) occurred during the sales process, you have the right to take legal action. However, without a witness, such acts can be difficult to prove. It's best to get any statements regarding the car's condition in writing prior to completing the purchase.
Be an informed consumer. Research the cars you're interested in: check out their features, safety, performance and gas mileage averages. Visit your local library and browse articles in current and archive issues of major magazines such as Consumer Reports, Car & Driver, Road & Track. Consult our Buying a Car resources with everything from research tools, dealer search tools and used car listings from Hertz and Enterprise Used Cars.
If you'd like to avoid the hassle of haggling altogether, consider AAA's AAA Auto Buying Service, which guarantees AAA Members a pre-arranged, competitive price for a vehicle at participating dealerships.
AAA's Auto Buying Service makes auto buying easy and saves you money, with pre-arranged, competitive prices at AAA Authorized dealerships and an entire staff of Personal Auto Buying assistants dedicated to helping you every step of the way.
AAA Authorized Dealer Specialists are personally trained to ensure you receive superior customer service and a great value. Additionally, they are the only people at the dealership who have the exclusive AAA Value Sheet to give you the AAA prearranged price.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re buying a new, used or Certified Pre-Owned car: figuring out which car is right one for you, finding a good dealer, and getting a good price. It's no wonder most of us welcome a little help along the way. That's why AAA’s Auto Buying Service is designed to provide our members a great car buying experience, with careful dealer selection, great pricing and personalized service at every step of the way.
Our work starts long before you even step into a participating dealership. We begin by hand-selecting dealers based on their commitment to competitive pricing and excellent service. Once they’re part of the program, we regularly monitor their performance.
To ensure value to our members, the AAA Auto Buying service features ‘pre-arranged’ vehicle pricing at these AAA Authorized dealers based on the results of extensive price comparisons in your market. At each of our dealerships, Authorized Dealer Specialists are trained to offer knowledgeable and professional service to ensure a hassle-free experience.
Unlike any level of customer service in the industry, we have an entire staff of Personal Auto Buying Assistants dedicated to helping you every step of the way – before you buy, during the process or after the purchase - to ensure complete member satisfaction.
If the vehicle you want is not available from the AAA Authorized Dealer’s inventory, the dealer may offer to trade from another dealer or factory-order a vehicle for you. Trading with another dealer may incur an additional charge, which will depend on the individual circumstances. The dealer will advise you of the charge before you commit to the trade.
To ensure you receive the prearranged price and superior customer service that members expect from AAA, call our call center at 1-800-808-7196 to find a AAA Authorized Dealership.
How it works:
1. Find the dealership nearest you offering AAA preferred pricing for the vehicle you selected. Your AAA Authorized Dealer Specialist will call you within 24 hours to set up an appointment.
2. At the appointment, ask for the Authorized Dealer Specialist by name and show your AAA membership card.
3. Test drive your vehicle and ask to see the exclusive AAA Value Sheet to see the money you are saving.
Once you sign an automobile sales contract, you're legally bound by all its terms and conditions. The contract can only be canceled if the dealership permits it, or if there is legal ground for it, such as fraud.
In fact, California state law requires the following statement to be printed on each retail sales contract and lease, and to be posted in each sales cubicle:
Before you buy a car, make sure that the contract you're signing reflects exactly what you're expecting, and that the car you're purchasing is exactly what you want—at the price you believe is fair. Do your homework before you go into the dealership, because you won't be able to change your mind later when you find out they charged you twice what the car is worth!
For more information, please browse our "Tips on Buying a Car."
Unfortunately, it's impossible to say "This car is the safest one around." A car that does well in the government's frontal impact crash test may not perform as well in an offset or side-impact test. It's best to look at different types of safety data and evaluate the car based on your own concerns. Here are some resources for your comparison:
The Highway Loss Data Institute publishes insurance claim data that rates most cars for injury, collision and theft, based on models from the previous three years. While perhaps not as scientific as a lab test, this kind of data may be a better indicator of real-world performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has frontal-impact and frontal-offset crash test data on some new cars. The two tests complement each other; full-width frontal impact tests are especially demanding of restraints but less demanding of structure, while the reverse is true in offsets.
For more information, visit www.safercar.gov, which is a site produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the US Department of Transportation.