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5 Essential Checks for Buying a Second-Hand Car
Nov 18, 2023

Insider’s Guide: 5 Essential Checks for Buying a Second-Hand Car

Due to rising fuel prices and additional taxes being levied, buying a new car can be out of reach for many people. An alternative is a used car. While buying a used car is economically safe, there are precautions which need to be taken when it comes to purchasing one. One such precaution is carrying out checks of the car.

Things To Lookout For When Buying A Used Car

If you are looking to purchase a used car, carry out these checks to get an understanding of whether the car is worth purchasing:

- Condition Of The Car

A used car does not necessarily mean a car is in perfect condition. Even if the previous owner of the vehicle may be an experienced driver, the car could have suffered damages caused by any other vehicle. It is important to carry out a thorough check of the vehicle before you purchase it. Check the exterior of the vehicle for dents and cracks. Check the front-end and back-end of the car, along with the bottom and the sides. Check the condition of the engine and the tyres, along with the brakes as well.

- The Car’s Registration Certificate

One way to verify the actual ownership of the car you are looking to purchase is by checking the RC of the car. This helps you in identifying the actual owner of the car and the number of times it has been sold and purchased. This also makes it easier for you to get the RC transferred to your name. While checking the RC of the car, verify whether the road tax for the same has been paid or not.

- Validity Of The Insurance Policy

A car insurance policy safeguards your car from the damages that can be caused to it while on the road. At the time of purchase, check whether the used car is insured or not. If the car does have a policy, you are required to transfer the ownership of the policy to your name. Generally, it is the seller’s responsibility to transfer the ownership to the buyer. But in some cases, the buyer can also initiate this process to save time. Also, do note to check if the policy is a third-party one or a comprehensive one.*

- Service Record Of The Vehicle

When a vehicle has been properly serviced and maintained, it functions without any hiccups. At the time of purchasing a second-hand car, it important to look at the vehicle’s service record. It is important to note that not all sellers might store documents related to the service history of their vehicles. It is important to approach such sellers with caution.

- Modifications Made To The Vehicle

Car owners make modifications to their vehicle. These modifications can be made to the interior and exterior body of the car for beautification purposes, whereas some owners may make changes to enhance the performance of the vehicle as well. The changes may pertain to the engine or the exhaust. It is important to check if the modifications carried out are legal. If the modifications are illegal, it can create complications for you.

Additional Tips To Remember As A Buyer

Apart from the checks mentioned above, keep the following tips in mind when looking for used cars:

- Transfer The Ownership

As mentioned earlier, it is vital to transfer the RC and motor insurance of the vehicle. The transfer of RC is legally required to prove you are the new owner of the vehicle. If the previous owner has an ongoing policy, it is beneficial to transfer the existing policy in your name instead of having to purchase a new policy altogether.*

- Transfer The NCB

The NCB offered in car insurance is given to the policyholder and not to the insured vehicle. If you had an NCB in your previously owned policy, you can ask for a transfer certificate from your insurance company. The letter, which is valid for 3 years, can be used to purchase a new policy within that period. Some insurers offer a reduced premium in the event of transfer of NCB. This is subject to the terms and conditions of the insurer, and entirely up to their discretion.

- Remove The Hypothecation

The process of purchasing a vehicle on loan, with the vehicle being offered as a collateral is known as hypothecation. When a vehicle is purchased on loan, it is mentioned on the RC of the vehicle. If the loan has been repaid, it is important to remove the hypothecation from the RC. This can be done either by the seller or by the buyer by visiting the RTO and initiating the process.


With these checks, you can make an informed decision at the time of purchasing a used car. Do remember to see if it matches your checklist. If the transferred policy is nearing expiry and you wish to change policy type or the insurer, you can do so when you renew car insurance online.   *Standard T&C apply Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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