October 3, 2023

You’re about to sign on the dotted line and make your dream car purchase a reality. You’ve done your research, negotiating the best price, and now it’s time to plunge. The only thing left is to test-drive the car, sign the papers, and drive home in your new ride. But before you do any of that, you should probably prepare. Not only will bringing an arsenal of personal documents and an extra set of clothes for the dealership help you feel more comfortable during the process, but you’ll also have a list of items to help you through the process. Here’s what you should bring to a car dealership.

Proof of Vehicular Insurance

Proof of car insurance can be relatively easy to obtain depending on where you live. If you live in a state that does not require proof of insurance, then you are free to drive off the lot without it. But if you live in a state that requires proof of insurance, bring your evidence with you or have it ready before you arrive at the dealership.

Pay Stubs

Your pay stubs will help you prove the source of your income. Bring both the front and back of your paycheck stubs to show both the pay period and overtime hours you worked. Pay stubs help ensure that in case you buy the vehicle on hire purchase, you will be able to make the payments fully. 


This is one of the most critical items you should bring to a car dealership. Your references can be any of your family members, friends, or previous bosses. They can provide you with insight into how someone who knows you would describe you. It will help the salesperson get to know you and make sure that they are getting an accurate picture of who you are as a person.

Two Most Recent Utility Bills

Most states have laws that require car dealers to verify your identity by looking at your utility bills. It is a great way to ensure that you are who you say you are and will save a lot of trouble in the long run if an issue arises after the purchase.

Method of Payment

Payment for the car is only part of the deal. The payment must be in full, or you may be denied the vehicle. You should bring a check, cash, or money order with you to the dealership and make sure that it is in your name so that they can verify it before they will accept it. If you are paying cash, make sure that you have enough for the down payment and all other fees associated with purchasing the vehicle.

Driver’s License

No matter what state you live in, your driver’s license is proof of who you are, and it is required to purchase any vehicle. It is also a requirement under federal law to have your driver’s license as identification when purchasing a vehicle. 

Signed Bill of Sale or Credit Report

This is a form from your bank or credit union stating that you have paid off your loan on time each month. It gives dealers a clear idea of how much money is available to pay for the car and helps them know what type of payments you will make on your loan.

Proof of Residence

Once you have bought a vehicle, it becomes yours in most states. You need to prove where you live when selling it or leasing it back. You can provide proof of your residence, such as a mortgage statement or bank statement.


Buying and selling a car is a significant financial commitment. It is vital to make sure that you can afford the car before buying it. You should not feel pressured into purchasing the vehicle if it is not within your budget. Take the time to research your options and make sure that you know what you are getting yourself into before deciding.