How to Buy a Car as a Married Couple

After saying their “I do's," married couples may want to purchase a large item together, such as a home or a car. While buying a car does not require a lifetime commitment, couples should still take the car buying process seriously. When purchasing a car as a married couple, both spouses should consider a number of important factors that affect co-purchases of vehicles.

Start with Research

Just as a single person should do his research when purchasing a car, married couples should also explore the different options available. Couples should ask themselves who will be driving the car the most, how many miles they expect to put on the car in a year and what size car will best fit their needs. If children are a possibility in the near future, the couple may want to consider a large car, SUV or minivan. Even if just one spouse will be doing most of the driving, both spouses should still do their homework because they both will be financially responsible for the car.

Check Your Budget

Couples should look at their budget to see how much they can afford to spend on a car. Even with two incomes, a car payment can take a significant chunk out of the monthly budget. When leasing, couples should not only consider the monthly payments but also remember that once the lease term is over they will still have to either pay off the balance to purchase the leased car or move on and buy another vehicle. Couples should also take into consideration the monthly costs for gas and other vehicle repairs.

Lining Up Financing

Many different ways exist to finance a new car, including leasing, purchasing outright and obtaining financing from a third party. Couples choosing a lease or financing option can opt for a joint loan, which gives both parties ownership of the car but also requires both parties to be financially responsible for the monthly payments. With a joint auto loan, the lender uses both spouses' incomes and credit scores to determine the monthly interest rate. Additionally, the lender holds both spouses financially responsible for the car payments and both spouses' credit histories can be negatively affected for defaulting on the loan.

Obtain Auto Insurance

A couple looking to buy a car also needs to obtain auto insurance. Purchasing a joint policy not only allows both couples to drive the new car legally but also can save the couple money in yearly premiums. According to Esurance, married couples have fewer car accidents, so many car insurance companies offer discounts to them. A poor driving record by either or both spouses tends to cancel out any savings gained by having joint insurance.

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