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If each of us hit the lottery, picking a car would be easy: We'd pick on a whim, call the dealer, order it delivered and peel off an inch or two of $100 bills from the rolled-up wads in our pockets. Until then, figuring out how to pay for and insure the car of our dreams is a matter close to our heartstrings and purse strings. In this section we'll explain the all-important concept of residual value or depreciation and how it affects so many aspects of car buying and leasing; examine various ways to find great financing, insurance and perhaps how to get Uncle Sam to underwrite part of your purchase.

 
Finance / Insurance
FINANCING

Financing an auto purchase online -- Working the Web could get you the best deal on a loan.

15 must-know auto-financing terms -- Beat the dealer at the game by speaking the same language.

Most and least expensive -- A look at some of the most and least expensive cars for injuries, thefts and repairs.

INSURANCE

Are you paying too much for car insurance? -- Cut costs by understanding your needs and shopping around.

Gap insurance: friend or foe? -- Most dealers push gap insurance to cover you while you're upside-down in a loan, but is it something you really need?

Most-stolen car? It's debatable -- The lists of most-stolen vehicles in the U.S. often differ. Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords are at the top of some lists, the bottom of others. It's because some lists measure number of units stolen; others measure the percentage.

TAXES

Tax rewards for gas savers -- If you bought an environmentally friendly car, Uncle Sam has some tax breaks for you.

Real SUV bargain comes courtesy of Uncle Sam -- If your business auto is a sport utility vehicle, you may be able to write off most of its cost.

Which SUVs qualify? -- Find out if your vehicle is eligible for the added tax break.

-- Posted: Dec. 9, 2003

2004 Car Guide
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