Men in a car on a road trip journey

Should You Buy a New or Slightly Used Car?

By the Mercury Team

So you’re in the market for a car. There are many things to consider, like the brand, style, and color. But there’s an important question you might be asking yourself: Is it better to buy a new or used car? We’re here to help you decide what’s best for you by reviewing the pros and cons of each decision.

Buying New vs. Used Car

When deciding between buying a new or used car, there are several factors to consider, including auto insurance, purchase price, and depreciation. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying a new vs. used car.

Value and Depreciation

New Car

  • A new car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot.
  • + However, according to AARP, newer cars can depreciate less than 14% in their first year.

Used Car

  • + Used cars can increase in value if you put work and care into them.
  • If a used car needs serious repairs, it may have no resale value at all.


New Car

  • New cars tend to have a higher actual cash value (ACV) than used cars. Therefore, the insurance rates are generally higher, too.

Used Car

  • + Used cars typically have a lower actual cash value than new cars, which generally means a lower premium.

Down Payment

New Car

  • + You might be able to get a new car with no money down — if you have an excellent credit score.
  • If you have a poor credit score, expect to have to pay a larger down payment.

Used Car

  • Some sellers might not offer a down payment and ask you to buy the car outright.
  • + If you can purchase a used car with cash outright your credit score doesn’t matter.

Monthly Payments

New Car

  • + Some dealers might offer free maintenance for the first few years after purchase.
  • If you’re leasing your vehicle, monthly payments tend to be higher.

Used Car

  • You may need to pay for repairs soon after your purchase, unless it’s a certified pre-owned vehicle.
  • + Used cars typically have smaller monthly payments.

How to Choose the Right Vehicle

Ultimately, choosing the right vehicle comes down to personal preference. Are you someone who wants the latest and greatest model available, or do you want something reliable that just gets you from point A to point B? Are you looking to keep your monthly payments as low as possible, or are you willing to pay more in monthly installments to have a newer vehicle?

Research your desired vehicle and what to expect regarding insurance costs. Generally, used cars are cheaper to insure than new cars — but not always. Many new vehicles boast the latest technology and safety features like a surround-view camera, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning. These safety features can help lower your premium via discounts. Still, used cars come with a cheaper price tag and smaller auto loans.

Insurance companies don’t just look at whether your car is new or used when determining your insurance premium. They consider several factors, including your driving record, age, and location, among other factors. Mercury Insurance will work with you to ensure you get the lowest rate possible. Contact us today for a fast, free quote!

Mercury Team

The Mercury Marketing Team is made up of professionals in the fields of Content Creation, Public Relations and Social Media. The team works together to deliver professionally written and researched content to provide information for consumers.

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