First of all, what is refinancing? Refinancing your loan means reevaluating the terms of your existing loan, paying it off, and taking out a new loan. You can refinance with your current company, or you can refinance through another lending company.
Refinancing your car will take an application which will likely require information about your income, work history, and credit. As with everything, there are pros and cons to refinancing a loan.
Advantages to Refinancing a Car Loan
- Save money in the long run by finding lower interest rates or shortening the length of your loan. (Your monthly payments may go up, but you will pay a total amount that is far less than your original loan.)
- Lower your monthly payments. This may actually cost you more in the long run because often when you reduce your monthly payments, you either increase your interest rates or the length of your loan. However, this may still be a good option for people trying to save money up front. You could consider lower monthly payments if you need money now for an unexpected crisis, such as losing your job or being diagnosed with a condition that will incur immediate high costs.
When Should I Consider Refinancing My Loan?
- When your credit score changes. If you had bad credit at the start of your loan but your credit has improved with time, you should consider refinancing with your new credit score to see if you’re now eligible for lower rates.
- When interest rates drop. Consider an online loan calculator (often free) to see if the interest rates have dropped low enough to make refinancing a serious money-saving option.
Obstacles to Refinancing
It may not be a good idea to refinance, or it may not be possible if:
- The loan amount is higher than the value of the car
- The car has more than 100.000 miles
- The care is several years old
Shop around. Do some research. Talk to your lender. See if refinancing could save you money!
- Published in Buy/Sell
Men and women were not created equal—at least when it comes to car insurance. Sure, there are many other factors that matter when it comes to car insurance, such as annual mileage and the number of safety features in your car, as well as personal information, such as age, occupation, and marital status. But the simple fact is that one factor almost always means paying less for car insurance—being a woman.
We say no. After all, it’s not personal. It’s statistical.
Why the Cost Difference Between Men and Women?
Weren’t all men created equal? In terms of statistics, no. Female drivers are statistically more likely to make safer driving decisions. Women also statistically:
- Get into fewer accidents than men
- Drive safer cars than men
- Drive fewer miles than men
- Are less risky on the road
- Commit fewer traffic violations
- Are less likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Some of the specific numbers reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety illustrate these differences:
- 71% of accident-related deaths in 2012 were caused by men
- Men die in accident-related crashes 50% more often than women
- 23% of male drivers crash due to speeding. Only 14% of women crash due to speeding.
- 84% of men wear their seatbelts, but 88% of women wear their seatbelts.
These numbers don’t point to discrimination. They point to a natural tendency that’s been researched and continually confirmed. Because insurance companies are in the risk prediction business, they pay attention to these numbers—not really to gender. It just makes financial sense.
The Age Factor
However, the risk factor between men and women (and therefore, the price of car insurance) is not always so disparate. Age lessens the risk factors separating men and women since between ages 16-24, men are much more likely to make riskier decisions than women. After age 24, men tend to make less risky decisions until eventually, with age, men and women tend to make statistically the same driving decisions. The good news is that everyone’s insurance premiums tend to drop after age 25 (Happy Birthday!), but the bad news (for guys, anyway) is that women still tend to pay less for insurance overall.
How Can Men Save on Insurance?
Just like women, there are many things to do to lower car insurance payments, including:
- Taking a defensive driving course
- Taking advantage of discounts
- Driving a safe car
- Driving safely while on the road
We’re sorry, gentlemen, but – at least in terms of car insurance – it pays to be a girl! Still, you can save on car insurance no matter who you are. See one of our many articles on car insurance discounts and saving tips for more information.
When it comes to those defensive driving insurance discounts, we’d just like to say that ApprovedCourse.com is an equal opportunity course provider. Check out one of our easy, affordable online courses today!
- Published in Insurance
Maybe you got surprised from that officer who “came out of nowhere.” Maybe the accumulated points on your driving record have you paying more for car insurance than you’d like. Maybe it’s been a while since drivers ed, and you have found yourself a little rusty. Whatever the reason, you’re in need of a driver safety course and some defensive driving benefits. Fortunately for you, it won’t be as hard as you might think to get it done.
How Will You Collect Your Defensive Driving Benefits?
Driver safety classes are offered in both classroom and online formats. The state requirements will be met either way, and the cost for either version is nearly always the same. The choice comes down to your schedule and preferred learning style.
In the classroom course, the work is completed in one sitting with an instructor using lecture (sometimes mixed with video) to cover the material. This method will require you to sacrifice a substantial chunk of your day. If you are a sit and listen kind of guy who mixes well with strangers, this might be a good choice.
In the online course, the work is completed on your timetable. They can usually be taken on any type of internet-enabled device, and they all offer the ability to start and stop at your leisure. Online defensive driving comes in a variety of formats including full text, text with audio support, full video or somewhere in between.
Completing the Course
Signing up for the course is a good first step, but to receive your defensive driving benefits, you’ll actually have to complete it. Proof of completion usually comes in the form of a test. In most cases, this test will consist of multiple-choice questions you probably know the answers to already. Sometimes the test will be a final exam while with other providers the test will be broken into chapter quizzes. Passing the test (or tests) is required to get your certificate.
What to Do with That Certificate
Once you have received your certificate, get about the business of letting people know that you have. If you are taking the course at the largess of your local traffic court, get them a copy right away. You’ll also want to shoot a copy to your insurance agent and possibly qualify for a premium discount. If you drive for a living, take it to your boss. Saving him some money on his insurance is an easy way to garner an “attaboy.”
Driver safety courses carry a fairly high bang to buck ratio. With very little time, money and effort, you can enjoy big defensive driving benefits. Do yourself a favor and check one out today.
- Published in Driver
We all know that the journey is more important than the destination. But that doesn’t mean that you should invest so much in the journey that you have no money when you finally arrive at Disney World, the Grand Canyon, or your grandma’s. Stick to a road trip budget so that you can keep your wallet full for souvenirs when you finally get to the X on your map.
Lives are the most precious cargo you have on board. In fact, your life and the lives of your traveling companions are priceless. Therefore, you can save the most by keeping yourself and your family safe on the road. Only gas up at well-maintained, well-lit gas stations at which you see other vehicles stopped. Make pit stops for food and restroom use the same: only stop at well-populated, well-lighted stores, and only stop during the day if you can help it. Keep your valuables out of sight when you leave your car, keep your children by your side at all times, and keep your windows rolled up and the engine off. When you must sleep on the road, research reputable hotels, motels, and b&b’s before you go so that you have a clearly defined destination and an estimate of the time it will take to get there. This will eliminate the temptation to continue pushing for those few extra miles when you’re already exhausted from hours of driving and becoming a danger to yourself and others.
Remember to drive safely, obey traffic signs, use your turn signals, stay alert, and stop when you’re tired. Staying safe now can save you thousands later by avoiding an accident or breakdown.
Pre-Determine a Road Trip Budget
The best way to ensure that you don’t spend more than you can afford while road-tripping is to know the maximum amount you can afford and determine a budget for staying well under that number. You already know what you must purchase on the go: food, accommodations, gas. However, we recommend a traveling “entertainment” budget so that those impulse buys at souvenir gas stations are already accounted for and won’t surprise you by adding up to more than you wanted to spend on the whole trip. Also, don’t forget to expect the unexpected and budget money for breakdowns, medical emergencies, and other crises.
Get Your Vehicle in Ship Shape
The best way to avoid paying more than you budgeted on a road trip is to take all the precautions you can against large bills like car repairs, tow trucks, and unexpected hotel stays. This can be accomplished by making sure your car is in top shape before you set out on your long journey. To avoid breakdowns, get your car tuned up—new oil, tire and brake checks, fluid and lights checks, full gas tank, etc. It’s not a bad idea to let someone peek under the hood, either.
The best way to spend money (and quickly gain a few pounds) is to let the healthy food in your fridge go to waste while you make expensive stops at restaurants and gas stations. Even fast food places get expensive, especially if you spring for the combo meals. Instead, why not take along the food you already have? That way you not only save money; you also avoid coming home from a long trip to a fridge full of over-ripe, expired food and unpleasant smells. Also, take advantage of free food on the road. Some rest areas and hotels offer light snacks or continental breakfasts. Load up here and save. Also, don’t forget that grocery stores have even more snack options than convenience stores and gas stations… and at far lower prices.
Go Where the Buffalo, Not the Cell Phone Service, Roam
Let’s face it… on long, open stretches of highways in Kansas and other scenic plains states, you’ll hit a dead spot. You won’t receive cell service. Or, you will… and it will cost an arm and a leg in roaming charges. If you already know you’ll be calling grandma and sending her selfies or you and the kids at Mount Rushmore, why not pick up a pre-paid calling card? This makes sure you stay within your phone bill budget and avoids roaming costs, not to mention the cost of calling from hotels.
Save at the Pump
News flash—gas is expensive. However, there are ways to save. The first is driving responsibly. We hate to remind you, but driving at or slightly below the speed limit is not only safe and legal, but it’s also the best way to avoid chugging gas. Also, you may love that breeze in your hair, but be prepared—driving with the windows down will put a dent in your budget. It causes drag on the car which does over time waste gas. Unfortunately, so does blasting the A/C when you’re idling. Be smart about how you use gas. Coast down hills when you can, don’t speed up only to apply your brakes and don’t race other cars to see if you can beat them to the tourist traps. Also, if you take your car in for a tune-up and to air up your tires, this will inevitably save your gas.
Hotels: You Get What You Pay for… But You Must Also Pay for What You Get
Perhaps the Waldorf Astoria is your destination. In that case, no doubt you’ve already budgeted for it, and you can sit back and indulge. However, if the point of your trip is to get to a scenic campground, why spend your money along the way at places you only ever intended to use for six hours of sleep before moving on? Unless you plan to really stretch, relax, and use ALL of a hotel or motel’s amenities, we suggest you pre-search for accommodations so that you don’t end up tired in a town that only offers rooms at $1000 a night.
- Published in Travel