If you need a car but do not have the money on you to buy it now, you do not have to drop or postpone the idea. You can still buy your dream car and enjoy your ride, on loan. Yes, there are several auto lending companies out there that will help you in this matter. Even the car manufacturers now have come up with easy financing schemes to help the consumers in such ‘distress.’
Distress as it is, you will need to be very careful and knowledgeable when you take out a car loan. According to studies, most people fall behind their car payments and end up in debt, a black hole, that will literally suck you deep inside it, if you are not proficient with your debt management.
Therefore, it is better that you know a few facts about auto lending and exactly how it works to your benefit and how it can put you in further ‘distress.’
Staring with the basics
If you need a car loan, rest assured that you are not alone, most people do not have enough cash on hand to buy even a good quality used car, leave alone buying a new one. Therefore, you can go ahead and get a car loan, as most people do.
However, the world of auto lending can be really overwhelming, especially if you are just starting out with it. that is why experts say that you start it with a good understanding of its basics. This includes:
- Understanding how a car loan works
- The places you should shop around to get a good deal on one and
- How you should stay away from falling behind your car payments.
In plain and simple words, a car loan can be defined pretty much in the way you think it is. It is just another specific type of personal loan! In here, the money that you get s=is supposed to be spent only on purchasing an automobile, and nothing else.
If you want to know about it more specifically, this is the process where:
- A lender loans you, the borrower, a specific amount of cash that you need to purchase your desired car
- In return, the lender asks for a specific amount to be paid back as interest along with that amount loaned out
- You agree to pay the creditor the agreed amount back in monthly payments usually till the entire amount owed is paid off fully.
So far, so good and sounds pretty simple. However, there is more to it and oftentimes these are mentioned between the lines of the fine print, which most of the borrowers either ignore or oversee.
Like it is said earlier, auto loans are a special type of personal loan and therefore is unsecured loan. Yes, you may argue that the car is hypothecated to the creditor till the time the loan amount is not paid off in full along with the interest. That means
- The borrower cannot claim the car belongs to him or her and
- They cannot resell it to another person.
However, the fact that the loan is made initially on the basis of the trustworthiness of the borrower and not secured by some kind of collateral makes car loans an unsecured loan. This is where most people get confused.
The only difference between a plain and simple personal loan and a car loan that almost always looks like a secured loan is that here the collateral is the vehicle itself. This means that in case the borrower fails to make the payments, the creditor has the right to repossess the vehicle and sell it off to another party to pay off the loan debt. This is however not possible in a traditional personal loan.
Building blocks of a car loan
So, do you think that you know enough about car loans? Well, tarry a little before you start surfing sites or others for applying for a car loan. Most of the borrowers falter here as they get a loan without knowing anything about the building blocks of such a loan.
They are the people who take things lightly or laid down and eventually fall into the debt trap. You being a responsible person, should abstain from that approach and make the most informed and educated decision.
Here are the four basics that make up a car loan. Consider assessing these before you sign on the loan contract which is a legal agreement between you and the creditor, breaching which may lead to serious legal consequences.
- The loan cost: The cost of your car loan is the amount that you pay in excess of the amount that you actually borrow from the lender, called the principal amount. This will typically have two basic parts in it. The principal and the interest. The principal refers to the negotiated value of the vehicle itself. On the other hand, the interest refers to the total amount of this cost that is accrued over the tenure of the loan depending on the principal amount as well as the specified rate of interest.
- The interest rate: This is the basic rate that the lender will charge to you for the amount of money loaned. This interest rate is usually expressed as a percentage for a one-year period. This is known as the Annual Percentage Rate, often called the APR by the lenders.
- The down payment: This is the amount you have to pay upfront in cash at the time of purchasing the vehicle. This is expressed as a percentage of the total price of the vehicle. Though it is not a legal requirement to take out a car loan but more often than not a lender will ask for it.
Lastly, before you move on to get a loan, know about the terms and conditions of it. It includes the tenure of the loan in a number of months or years, insurance, registration requirements, resale terms, loan payoff, maintenance, and conditions for theft, accident, loan default, and repossession.