Extending your car payment is a step to consider before defaulting on a car loan. An extension will not hurt your credit report, whereas defaulting on the loan or just not paying it will cause great harm to your credit. It is difficult to determine if an extension will allow you to still make a monthly payment without knowing the cost of the monthly car payment and the amount you can comfortably afford. An extension even temporarily is a good-faith effort to show your lender that you are willing to make every effort to make good on your loan commitment.
Purchasing a vehicle that is practical and cost effective is the first step in ensuring that it’s affordable, especially if you come upon hard times during the course of your car loan payback. Once you have determined with certainty that you can’t pay your car payment, you should take immediate steps to find the best alternative for payback arrangements.
Work out a monthly budget weighing your income and expenses. Determine how much you can realistically afford for your car payment each month and know how much you currently pay.
Review your car loan statement or coupon book for the contact phone number of your lender and your loan account number. Keep a notebook and pen handy to write down important information obtained during the call.
Notify your car loan lending institution and inform them of your difficulty to make payment. Request an extension of your payment due for the period of time you expect the financial difficulty to last.
Ask your lender for short-term suggestions and available options to deal with financial difficulties if you are not approved for a loan extension. Take notes on their suggestions should you need to review at a later time. Research your options for refinancing. Refinancing would allow you to extend your loan for a longer period of time. This would reduce the payments but probably result in you paying more for the car in the long run.
If you are leasing your vehicle, you'll need to talk to the dealer about extending your lease and request an estimate for the extension. Compare the lease estimate to the cost of leasing a different, less expensive car, and decide which if either is affordable for you.
Request that any arrangement made regarding an extension be sent to you in writing.
If a customer service representative at the loan company is not willing to negotiate, ask to speak with a supervisor.
As a general rule, the cost of your car payment should be equal or less than 20 percent of your monthly income.
If extension is not possible to solve financial difficulties, ask your lender if they could negotiate your current interest rate. Interest alone on any loan can significantly increase the payment. Ask if the lender would be willing to lower or defer the interest rate. Deferment may extend your payments, but would allow you to decrease the payment in the short term.
Once you make payment arrangements to extend the loan, be sure to make all subsequent payments in full and on time to protect your credit and relationship with the lender.
Ignoring a problem will not make it go away; it will ultimately make it worse. Be upfront with your lender about your difficulty, as this will show that you are committed to making your payments.
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