Such extended finance terms lower monthly payments but leave you financing most of the vehicle's value. As the car gets older and it depreciates, you run the risk of becoming "upside down" on the loan, or owing more money on it than it's worth, Brassard says.
This may not seem like a problem if the vehicle is in good condition and you're making timely payments. But if you get into an accident and the car is totaled, the insurance company will probably only pay out its market value. When that amount is less than what is owed, you could be stuck with an unpaid loan and no working car.
One solution to this problem is to shop for gap insurance, which covers the gap between the insurance company payout and what is owed on the loan, Brassard says.
Many leasing companies -- as well as some banks and insurance companies -- offer gap coverage, he says. Brassard adds that some auto insurance companies may also offer a replacement cost endorsement to their policies. This endorsement would pay for the replacement cost of the covered vehicle.
4. You buy a home, or obtain a company car.Ask for a multipolicy discount if you purchase homeowner's insurance through the same company that insures your car.
"If someone is shopping for insurance, they might as well look at the whole ball of wax with a good agent, because there are package policies that can save them money or provide better coverage," Brassard says.
Another time to shop around is after receiving a company car for your job, Brassard says.
"Even if you only own one car, but you also have a company car, some insurance companies may still give you multiple-car discount," he says.
5. Your children reach driving age.Once your child gets his or her license, it's time to call up insurance companies to see which ones offer the best prices, Brassard says.
"The same insurance carrier that's been providing you with great rates for years may not be as competitive once a younger driver is added to the policy," he says.
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