What to Bring to the Dealership When Purchasing Your Used Car

When buying a used car, customers get swept up in the excitement of finding the right vehicle and often forget about the technicalities of the process.

There are several steps that need to be taken before completing a purchase, such as being approved for financing and test driving the car. Once a car has been selected, there’s paperwork to be added that is necessary to ensure the customer is fully aware of its costs and so the dealership can properly send in their paperwork to the DMV for registration. It can take the thrill of the search right out of used car shopping, but it doesn’t have to.

The Freedom

At DriveTime, we let customers make up their own order for the car shopping process. If a customer wants to be approved before they begin shopping, that is fine. We allow you to do this first so that there is no concern about finding the dream car and then not getting approved.

However, if someone would rather look around at our selection of used cars, trucks, vans or SUVs, that is also acceptable. We want the car shopper to make their car buying experience all about them.

The Requirements 

Once a car has been selected and a buyer is approved, there is a structure that sets in concerning the day of purchasing. To simplify the process, here is a checklist of items to bring when purchasing a vehicle from us (and most other dealerships):

  • State ID: This is not the day to leave one’s wallet at home. A valid driver’s license (or other accepted identification) must be shown at the dealership to purchase a car.
  • Proof of income: Either a bank statement or the stub of a paycheck will suffice. This verifies your employment and shows the dealership that monthly payments can be met.
  • Proof of residence: A buyer will need to offer a piece of mail from his current address in order to make the purchase. The best choices are a utility bill or your home’s lease or mortgage agreement. This shows that the monthly bills will reach the buyer at the address that was given in the paperwork.
  • Proof of insurance: This entails showing a valid auto insurance card. Insurance companies in some states allow car owners to make the transfer from the old vehicle to the new one in the few weeks after the car is purchased. Others may want to be alerted of the change immediately, and you will need to call the company while still at the dealership before driving off the lot. It is best to check with the insurance company before going to the dealership. If a customer currently has no insurance on a car, this too will require a phone call from the lot to set up insurance before a purchase can be finalized. DriveTime can help you obtain insurance if you don’t already have a provider.
  • Title for trade-in: If a trade-in is taking place, don’t forget to bring the certificate of title for the vehicle. Without it, the process will slow down while the dealership contacts the DMV for proof of ownership on the car.

Preparing for your trip to the dealership shouldn’t take long and can save you hours at the dealership or prevent you from having to make multiple trips. Get organized first, then enjoy the rest of your car buying experience!


  1. Marie   •  

    Does anyone know if a paystubs alone with my address on it is enough for proof of residence and income?

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi Marie – Once you are ready to visit our dealership, we will require that you bring documentation to confirm your identity, as well as documentation that will allow us to verify the accuracy of the information provided during the online approval process (proof of residency, proof of income, proof of insurance, etc.) For a list of the closest DriveTime locations, you may visit our dealership locator page at: https://www.drivetime.com/dealership/find. This page will provide you with the dealership contact information, a list of inventory, and the option to schedule a visit.

  2. Thressa Norfleet   •  

    I only have a state ID will i still be able to get a car.I have check stubs and i was going to get the insurance from drive time

  3. Scott   •  

    This is a great list of things to bring to the dealership in order to make the process faster. I remember I spent hours waiting for the dealership to do all the paperwork when I bought my first car. However, this was only because I had to keep calling my parents to have them fax and email certain information over.

  4. Manny   •  

    Im renting a rm and paying cash i have 2 stubs cause i have 2 jobs with the address on it and might state id is this enough to get a car

    • DriveTime   •  

      When you visit your local dealership, make sure you bring a valid driver’s license, recent proof of income such as pay stubs, proof of residency such as a recent utility or phone bill and proof of insurance.

  5. Dayane lara   •  

    What are other forms of id?

    • DriveTime   •  

      When you visit your local dealership, make sure you bring a valid driver’s license, recent proof of income such as pay stubs, proof of residency such as a recent utility or phone bill and proof of insurance. For more information on your appointment with the dealership, you can take a look at our video regarding next steps here: https://youtu.be/SvHUySlQJKw

  6. Bre   •  

    Lost both id n license can I take my passport

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi, Bre – When you visit your local dealership, you can bring recent proof of income such as pay stubs, proof of residency such as a recent utility or phone bill and proof of insurance. For more information on your appointment with the dealership, you can take a look at our video regarding next steps.

  7. Cony   •  

    I want to buy cash used car, but I don’t have insurance, and my license is expired. Can I buy a car from dealer shop?

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi, Cony – Great question! In order to purchase a vehicle you will need to have a valid Driver’s License and insurance. Thank you!

  8. Jrod   •  

    When getting approve online it stated I was approve with $500. Then I go to the dealership and they tell me for the car that I want to purchase I have to pay almost $1500.00. Sounds kind condescending do you think

    • DriveTime   •  

      Hi, Jrod – There can be a couple different reasons your down payment amount might have changed. We verify all the information you submitted online when you get to the dealership and if anything changes, that can impact your down payment. Here are a few things we verify:
      ○ Name, address, social, date of birth, and income.
      ○ Specifically, on income, a majority of people miscalculate their income and as a result your down payment can be higher or lower depending on what we calculate when at the dealership
      ○ Down payment can change depending on your income or employment history verification when you’re at the dealership
      ○ Finally, the down payment that we quote online is for a selection of vehicles near you. Depending on the specific vehicle you choose, your down payment might be higher or lower than what we quoted you online. Generally speaking, more expensive vehicles require more money down than less expensive vehicles

    • Customer Relations   •  


      Thank you for giving us your feedback.

      I want to apologize for any miscommunication that may have occurred during your pre-approval. Please know that we try our best to provide our customers with an accurate estimate for their down payment amount during the online pre-approval process. However, it is important to keep in mind that approval options are subject to change based on documents provided to the dealership, as well as the specifications of the selected vehicle.

      That being said, I want to apologize for any frustration this situation has caused. Thanks again for reaching out, and have a great day.


      Jacob – Customer Relations

  9. Annie   •  

    Hi I’m ederly and I need a car I don’t drive or have driving licence can i bring my neighbor with me who will be driving me to the doctor and store she has licence and get a car.

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Annie,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      In this situation, since your neighbor is the only one with a license between the two of you, she would need to be signed onto the contract as a buyer. Due to the fact that you do not have a driver’s license, we would not be able to approve you by yourself.

      If you have any further questions regarding a potential vehicle purchase, it would be best for you to reach out to our sales team at (888) 418-1212.

      Thank you,
      Jacob – Customer Relations

  10. Humberto   •  


    Do I need my tax returns if ever, to purchase a used car?


    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Humberto.

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us! While they may not be needed in your case, I encourage you to check with your local DriveTime dealership. They will be the best to assist you with this question.

      Thank You,

      Kaitlyn – Customer Relations

  11. Veniece Morrow   •  

    Hello do you guys accept customers with a driving permit?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Veniece,

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. For the purchase of a vehicle, we do require a valid driver’s license. If you have any questions regarding our approval process, please let us know at (888)418-1212.

      Thank You,

      Kaitlyn – Customer Relations

  12. Portiah   •  

    Will a voters registration card or medical insurance thaycwas mailed to the residence qualify for proof of address?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Portiah,

      Thank you for reaching out, at this time I would recommend contacting your local DriveTime dealership, typically they would want a utility bill. You can also contact the following number, (800) 965-8042, and they will be able to answer your questions for you.

      Thank You and Have a great day!
      Missy – Customer Relations

  13. Rod   •  

    We are fairly recent transplants to California from Missouri. My wife and I both still have valid Missouri drivers licenses but not California licenses yet since taking off work to get a new license just hasn’t worked out yet. The online approval said we were approved and we have everything else we need to bring in but before we fight the ridiculous California traffic, I need to know if our Missouri drivers licenses will work or if we have to wait until we have California licenses?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Rod,

      Thank you for reaching out! Our California dealerships should be able to accept your Missouri licenses. Neither of those states should have restrictions regarding out of state purchasing or operating of a vehicle. Please let us know if you have other questions.

      Thank You,

      Kaitlyn – Customer Relations

      • Rod   •  

        My wife called the Fresno location and this is from her: I think it’s misleading that your website says that it’s possible to get a second car loan. The pre-approval thing approved me but then when I called the Fresno location to double check what I needed to bring with me, I was told that I couldn’t get a second car until a year from when I bought my first one. The location that I bought my Jetta, the South Lindbergh location in St Louis had told me to come back in after August and we could buy a second vehicle for my husband; that they could get it approved after six months (I bought my Jetta in February of this year). We moved and still need a second vehicle but now we are being told something different. It seems like there should be one clear policy that everyone knows about so as to not be misleading. I’ve never missed a payment or been a problem so it’s surprising that I was treating like this. It’s disappointing.
        Casandra Niccole Richardson

        • Customer Relations   •  

          Hello Rod,

          Thank you for taking the time to provide her feedback. In regards to approvals for secondary loans, it is correct that an approval can be obtained a year after the initial loan. This can be altered by the addition of a cosigner, if applicable. I do greatly apologize that this confusion has taken place. Unfortunately, when it comes to approvals or secondary approvals, there are many factors in play.

          Please let us know if there is anything else that we can do or if you have any further questions.

          Thank You,

          Kaitlyn – Customer Relations

  14. Octavia   •  

    if you don’t have the title to the vehicle but the registration is that acceptable for a trade?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Octavia,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Please know trade in requirements and title holders vary by state. I encourage you to contact your local dealership for more information.

      Thank You,

      Kaitlyn – Customer Relations

  15. Melissa walker   •  

    Do you have to make a certain amount of money or work at your job for a certain period of time to get a car from drivetime?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Melissa,

      Thanks for reaching out! Please know that we try to work with our customers as much as possible when it comes to their level of income!

      For additional information on approval options, please feel free to contact our sales team at (800) 965-8042.

      Thank you,
      Jacob – Customer Relations

  16. Shondrell Calhoun   •  

    It says state id but you’re saying we have to have a driver’s license??? Which is acceptable? And does drive time require a credit check that can approve or deny you

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Shondrell,

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us. We require a valid drivers license for the purchase of a vehicle, the age of the buyer varies by state. DriveTime’s approval process is subject to several different factors including but not limited to: income level, proof of residence, and credit score. Please know we strive to work with all of our customers to find the right vehicle and also financing options that suit their needs. Approval and down payment may vary and are subject to document provided as well as the vehicle specifications.

      If you have any other questions or would like to start the approval process, please visit our website where you can submit for approval or speak with a sales representative. Hope that helps!

      Thank You,

      Kaitlyn – Customer Relations

  17. Ruth Shaffer   •  

    Can you purchase insurance from the car dealer ship I live in Columbus Ohio and I was approved for a vehicle but my insurance has expired due to me not having a car that runs

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Good Morning Ruth,

      Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, insurance is not something that we sell with our vehicle. It would be your responsibility to insure your vehicle through a 3rd Party Insurance agency.

      Thank You,
      Missy – Customer Relations

  18. Cassandra   •  

    Does DriveTime do trade ins if you still owe on the vehicle you are trading in?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Cassandra,

      Thank you for taking interest in DriveTime. We do offer free appraisals, at this point I would suggest you go to your local DriveTime dealership and one of our Sales Associates would be happy to help you. In addition, you can also complete our online pre-approval application and then from there a member of our Sales Team will contact you to schedule an appointment.

      Thank You,
      Missy – Customer Relations

  19. Kayla   •  

    Can my fiancé use his pay stub with address on it and drivers license as proof of residence? All the bills are on my name (cable & electric). So he doesn’t have much proof of residence

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Kayla,
      Thank you for taking interest in DriveTime. The proper documentation required at time of purchase would include a driver’s license, most recent paycheck stubs, along with proof of residency. If your fiance’s name is not on the lease or rental agreement, a written and signed letter indicating that you share the same residence can be provided. For further assistance, please reach out to our Sales Department at (800)965-8042. A team member would be happy to answer further questions.
      Thank You,
      Jodi-Customer Relations

  20. Raj Sharma   •  

    I didn’t know that so many documents are required for buying a used car.I just thought that a driving license is enough .Thanks for the article and information you provided.

    • Customer Relations   •  

      We’re happy to know that our article was able to provide you with some useful information regarding the documents needed for approval!

      If you have any further questions on this subject, please feel free to contact one of our local DriveTime dealerships!


      Jacob – Customer Relations

  21. Andres D. Reed   •  

    Thank you very much for the additional information. Indeed, there are a lot of deceptive ways at dealers and you need to be more careful. However, the online verification of the VIN decoder at https://www.faxvin.com/vin-decoder will reject the 50% probability of cheating. The potential buyer will be able to see how “suspicious” the vehicle is and analyze its operational history.

  22. Amy Winters   •  

    My brother recently just had his car stop working, and he has been looking into going to a used car sales place in our area. As I was reading your article, you state that if a trade is about to take place, not to forget the car title of the car you are trading in. I can see my brother forgetting to do something like that.

  23. Jose   •  

    Would I be able to get a car the thing is I have no insurance at the moment would u guys provide me with one for period of time till I get my own & for my pay stubs I have them on my work app can I show u guys that or do I need the actual paper? Thank you ! other than that I have my license and my down payment ready to go

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Jose,

      Thanks for reaching out! We’re thrilled to hear that you are interested in purchasing a vehicle from us!

      To answer your first question, please be aware that DriveTime does not offer in-house policy options. For this reason, each customer is required to obtain and provide their own proof of insurance prior to leaving the lot.

      In reference to your questions pertaining to acceptable income documents, I would strongly recommend contacting your local DriveTime dealer for clarification as to what forms of documentation can be accepted. Please feel free to utilize the link below if you would like to locate the DriveTime dealership nearest to you:


      Thanks again for taking interest in our company! We look forward to working with you!

      Jacob – DriveTime Customer Relations

  24. Gabrielle Eleanna Perez   •  

    Can I use my bank statements as proof of income if I cannot get my paper paystubs from my job?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Gabrielle,

      Thank you for your interest and question. We do our best to offer a personalized and comfortable car buying experience. We can accept various forms for your proof of income, and it appears we are currently speaking with you through other social media platforms. We encourage you to continue working with our Sales team at (800) 965-8042 for additional pre-sale or approval questions you may have.

      Thank you,

      Rebekah – Customer Relations

  25. Gabrielle Eleanna Perez   •  

    I’ll be going to the location closest to me if I see a car I really like from a different location am I able to get that transferred to the location by me?

  26. Corey   •  

    If I have a temporary license while I’m waiting for a new one to come in the mail, will y’all accept that?

    • Customer Relations   •  

      Hello Corey,

      Thank you for reaching out. I would recommend you speak with your local dealership regarding your question. Our sales team members will be able to provide you with more information about what documents are acceptable. You can visit our website at http://www.DriveTime.com to search for a nearby dealership and view their hours as well.

      Best wishes,

      DriveTime Customer Relations

  27. T   •  

    Can a offer letter from my job help me get a car? Since I just start and only have a week of paystub ?

    • Customer Relations   •  


      Thank you for reaching out! DriveTime offers financing options based on each individuals’ needs and budget.

      We are going to look at four factors when it comes to your payments and overall financing options: we look at your income, which you would be required to provide your most recent check stubs. Your credit score will also be taken into consideration, and the vehicle you select, which can affect that fourth factor, the down payment. We accept outside financing as well.

      Thank you again for reach out. If you would like to view the available inventory or submit an application, please visit our website at http://www.DriveTime.com. You may also contact our Corporate Sales team at 800-965-8042, and a representative will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

      Best regards,

      DriveTime Customer Relations

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