Used Car Glossary
A Glossary of Common Used Car Terms
Asking PriceThe original price requested by a seller before any discounts have been accounted for.
Auto Insurance BrokerA middle man that does not work exclusively with one insurance provider but rather one that works across multiple auto insurance carriers to construct policies and coverage for policyholders.
Bill of SaleA document that highlights the details of a car sale, usually prepared by the dealer from which a vehicle is purchased.
Blue BookThe term synonymous with a car's market value, trademarked and published by Kelley Blue Book, a price guide publisher headquartered in Irvine, California.
Body StyleThe exterior shape of a car, usually defined as coupe, sedan, truck, etc.
Bumper to Bumper WarrantyA guarantee that covers repair costs for an entire vehicle during a specified period of time.
Captive Insurance AgentA representative that works exclusively with one auto insurance provider to construct policies and coverage for policyholders.
Car LeaseA contract between a lessor and a lessee over a specific period of time in which monthly payments are made to the lessor by the lessee for the use of a vehicle and in which the title remains in the lessor's possession as owner of the car.
Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) CarsUsed cars backed by comprehensive inspections and manufacturer warranties.
Collision InsuranceInsurance that covers damage to a vehicle if it collides with another vehicle or object.
Complaint RatiosA measurement used by various state insurance departments to track consumer complaints against insurance companies.
Comprehensive InsuranceInsurance that covers damages to a vehicle beyond the owner's control, such as flood, hail, fire or theft.
Credit ReportA record of an individual's borrowing and payment history, including information about late payments and bankruptcy.
Credit ScoreA numerical score provided on a credit report that establishes the credit worthiness of a person based on the individual's borrowing and payment history.
Dealer Installed OptionsOptional equipment installed by a dealer, such as rust proofing or fabric protection.
Dealer Preparation FeesThe costs associated with prepping a car for sale, such as interior and exterior detailing.
DeductibleThe out-of-pocket portion of an insurance claim that is not covered under the insurance policy.
DepreciationThe diminished value of a car over time due to factors such as age, mileage and condition.
DetailingA thorough exterior and interior cleaning of a car.
Direct Insurance CarrierAn organization that sells insurance direct to consumers, typically online.
Disposition FeeThe fee a leasing company may charge for retrieving a car at the end of a lease.
DMVA state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
Down PaymentThe portion of the purchase price of a car paid from the buyer's own funds as opposed to the portion that is financed.
Excessive Mileage ChargesThe fees assessed by a leasing company if a lessee drives a car more than the miles stipulated in a leasing contract.
Extended WarrantySimilar to an insurance policy, an extended warranty protects against vehicle repair costs once a car's original warranty expires.
F & IThe acronym for finance and insurance, or the paperwork labor involved with the sale of a car.
Fair Market ValueThe price at which a car passes from a willing buyer to a willing seller.
FICO ScoreA credit score or number representing the credit worthiness of a person based on the individual's borrowing and payment history.
Finance ChargeThe cost of credit, or the cost of borrowing, that includes interest and other charges such as financial transaction fees.
Fuel EconomyA unit of measurement of the amount of fuel needed to power a vehicle over a certain distance.
Green CarsCars that are friendlier to the environment than conventional gasoline-powered cars. Green cars usually consume less petroleum than conventional cars, or use renewable energy sources for power versus non-renewable energy sources.
Hybrid CarsCars that are powered by both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.
Interest RateThe price paid for the use of borrowed money; the amount a lender charges for the use of its funds.
Lemon LawState law that protects consumers against the purchase of a defective vehicle.
Liability InsuranceInsurance that protects the policyholder against bodily injury or property damage caused to another person.
LienA third party's legal right to property, to ensure the repayment of a loan or outstanding debt.
Loan TermThe length of time a borrower has to repay a loan.
Market ValueThe price at which a car would currently sell.
Medical Payments InsuranceInsurance that covers a policyholder's medical or funeral costs beyond that covered by Personal Injury Protection insurance, in the event of bodily injury or death caused by an accident.
Miles per Gallon (MPG)A unit of measurement of the distance a vehicle can travel on one gallon of gas.
Monthly PaymentThe amount of principal, interest and taxes paid monthly on an auto loan.
Odometer RollbackThe illegal practice of tampering with or rolling back miles on a car, to give the false perception that it has been driven less miles than it actually has.
Optional EquipmentEquipment or features of a car that are not part of the standard package. Optional equipment can be ordered for additional expense, either individually or as a package.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)Car insurance that covers costs such as medical expenses, loss of income and funeral expenses for the policyholder, regardless of who is at-fault in an accident.
PolicyholderThe individual that holds the insurance policy of a car; the person(s) covered under an auto insurance policy.
PrincipalThe initial amount of a loan upon which interest is calculated.
Private Party Sale/Private Party PurchaseA used car sales transaction involving the purchase or sale of a pre-owned vehicle between private buyers and sellers.
Private Party ValueThe price you can expect to pay when buying a used car from a private seller, or the price you can expect to receive when selling a used car to a private buyer.
Resale ValueHow much a car is worth in the future, taking into consideration factors such as supply and demand, the type of car, the condition of the car, the mileage of the car and extraneous market conditions at the time of resale.
Residual ValueThe depreciated value of a car at the end of its lease term.
Retail ValueThe price you can expect to pay when buying a used car from a dealer. Retail value could also be considered the starting point from which to negotiate a lower price.
Salvaged TitleA title issued to a vehicle that has been damaged beyond a certain percentage of its pre-accident market value, and additionally in some states, a title issued to cars that have been stolen.
TitleA legal document establishing a person or a business as the legal owner of an automobile.
Total Cost of OwnershipThe purchase price of a car plus the total costs associated with operating that car over its lifetime.
Trade-In ValueThe price you can expect to receive from a dealer when you trade-in your car towards the purchase of a new one.
Uninsured/underinsured coverageInsurance that covers the costs associated with an accident in which the policyholder is not at fault and in which the other driver isn't insured — or doesn't have enough insurance — to cover the damages or injuries the policyholder sustained.
Vehicle History ReportA report that outlines background information about a used car, including title information, ownership history, accident history and service history.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)A unique number assigned to a car, commonly found on the left hand side of the dashboard, that identifies characteristics about the car, including the manufacturer, year, model, body style, engine specifications and serial number.
WarrantyAn oral or written guarantee that a vehicle will meet certain specifications or will function or perform as specified.
Wholesale ValueThe price a dealer can expect to pay for a car.
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