Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and the road trips that come along with the season. Although this year will be different in light of the current pandemic, car dealerships are still holding their annual Memorial Day sales. In fact, US News & World Report offers a “Best Price Program” to help drivers find deals on vehicles that can be purchased online and delivered directly to their home!

Buying a new car is exciting, but don’t forget that it’s also a complicated process. This checklist will help you keep track of everything you should do before deciding on a new vehicle and what to have with you, so all you have to worry about is finding your perfect car.

Before going to the dealership (in-person or online):

Do your research. There’s such a wide variety of options when it comes to cars. It’s important to have some idea of what you’re looking for before you start. This will help you get a better sense of the options in your price range.


Call your insurance agent. You don’t want any surprises, especially when it comes to insurance. Before you go in to purchase a new vehicle, you need to know how much the vehicle you want to buy will cost to insure. You’ll also need to verify how soon after buying a new car you need to have it officially updated on your policy. This varies from carrier to carrier. Maryland Auto allows up to thirty (30) days to add a newly purchased vehicle to the policy.


Check your credit report for accuracy. Not only is it important to check your credit score before making a big purchase, you also want to make sure there are no mistakes in your credit report. Catching and fixing mistakes can make your entire purchase process go more smoothly.


If you’re trading in your old car, make sure to clean it out. You don’t want to lose anything valuable. Check in all glove compartments and between and underneath the seats. You never know what might be hiding there.

Make sure to bring the following documents:

  • A valid driver’s license. You shouldn’t be driving without this anyway, but dealerships definitely will not let you test drive a car without one.
  • Proof of insurance. You should also already have this with you. In Maryland,  drivers face a $50 fine for driving without valid proof of insurance.
  • Financing information. Make sure to bring all information related to your outside loan if you’re not financing through the dealership.

If you are financing through the dealership, you might want to bring these items as well (especially if you don’t have a strong credit rating):

  • Your two most recent pay stubs
  • Proof of residency (A recent utility bill is good for this)
  • A list of references
  • Notes from your research

If you’re trading in your old car, you’ll also need to bring the following:

  • Certificate of title
  • All of your car keys
  • The owner’s manual

If you have a loan on your current car, you should also bring your account number and a pay stub.

If you’re planning to purchase a vehicle over the Memorial Day weekend, happy hunting.  May you find a car you love at a price you want. And if you’re having difficulties getting insurance for your new or existing vehicle, Maryland Auto can help. You can get a quote or find an authorized Maryland Auto provider near you.