Image: Jason Torchinsky/Jalopnik

As Jalopnik’s resident car buying expert and professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. Sometimes folks get into a tough spot or don’t know what to do, so I’ve decided to pick a few questions and try to help out.

Let’s see what we have on deck for this week:

My wife leases a Nissan Leaf for about $200 a month. Our insurance on it has been as high as $300a month. I’ve asked for an explanation from my insurance agent as to why the insurance is so high and I have not received an answer.

Any ideas on this matter? Is it typical to pay more for insurance on a lease than if you had a purchased with a typical auto loan? We’ve recently switched from Safeco two Travelers and have both auto and home insurance with them.

This is a tough question to answer because your insurance premiums are based on numerous variables in addition to the car you drive, like your location, your driving habits and even your credit score. That being said having a yearly premium of about $3,600 seems excessive for a relatively modest car.

If your recent premium jump correlates to your lease of the Leaf an all other variables have stayed the same, it’s possible that Travelers just doesn’t have a competitive policy for EVs due to their high replacement costs and steep depreciation.

I would suggest you shop that auto policy around to see if you can save some money. Really, that’s not a bad thing for everyone to do from time to time, regardless of situation.

Advertisement

Next:

I just read your piece and in one of the segments the guy asked about buying an RV in cash because the dealership told him he was going to be charged more if he did not take financing.

I had an unusual thing come up a couple of years ago. I went to two different Mercedes dealerships to buy a particular vehicle in cash.

Not only did they want to check my credit and verify my bank account, they refused to sell me the car and everybody stop talking to me when I told him I wanted to pay in cash.

Now I’m not sure if this could be construed as illegal, but it seems to me that they have to take my money. And if I’m paying in cash, why would I have to prove how much money I have in the bank?

Advertisement

So I don’t know which Mercedes model you are talking about but if it was one of their larger SUVs, I can tell that due to the exporter problem, dealerships get really suspicious really fast when it comes to cash buyers. They’re afraid you will buy one of their cars and send it overseas. If this car gets flagged the VIN can be traced back to the dealership. The automaker can then take punitive action against the dealer including fining the store and withholding future allocations. There’s nothing illegal about this—the automakers just don’t want it happening because it screws over their local sales chains in other markets. Therefore, cash buyers for large cars usually raise flags.

As to your point of “...they have to take my money”, no, they really don’t. A dealership is under no obligation to sell you a car no more than you are under an obligation to buy one. If no contract is signed they can back out of a deal, just as you can too.

Advertisement

In regards to the verification of funds, this isn’t uncommon with large purchases due to the pervasiveness of fraudulent checks and identity theft. No dealership wants to be caught holding the bag if someone writes a bad check for a $70,000 car and disappears.

Next:

Are the car dealerships reimbursed the rebate by the manufacturer?

So a rebate is basically extra discount money given from the automaker to the dealership to pass on as additional savings to you. For example, if Chevy is offering $1,000 customer cash on a new Malibu, that money is going from the manufacturer to the dealer and discounting the car accordingly. Now, the key thing to remember is that rebates are different than dealer discounts. The dealer should be discounting the car before those rebates are applied.

Advertisement

This is why you should always request an itemized out the door price that breaks out the dealer discounts, manufacturer rebates, taxes, fees and a total.

Finally:

My father recently had a stroke and cannot drive his Carrera 4S anymore and I’ve got no room for it. Was trying to think of the quickest most hassle free way to off load it to a good home?

Advertisement

Sorry to hear about your dad. Now it shouldn’t be too difficult selling a used Porsche in today’s market. However, if you don’t want the hassle of dealing with constant phone calls, there are two good options.

First, you can just take it to a Porsche dealer, or even a place like CarMax, and say “How much would you give me for it?” You probably won’t get top dollar, but you can have them cut you a check and be on your way. The other option is to find a Porsche store that would be willing to sell that car on consignment.

You are still the seller, but the dealership has the car on the lot, can field the buyers and facilitate the transaction. They will get a cut of the sale, but you may get more for it that way.

Advertisement

Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at tom.mcparland@jalopnik.com!