Owning a car is a necessity for most people who can’t easily access public transportation. Car ownership comes with numerous costs that can add up and become quite pricey. A major expense associated with owning a car is paying for emergency repairs. If you need your car to drive to work every day, what can you do if you don’t have the money to fix it when it breaks down? Rather than stressing out, you should know that there are several options available to you for covering the cost of car repairs. Below are a few things that you should consider.
Does Your Car Insurance Cover Repairs?
Before you panic or immediately look for financing options, check with your car dealership. If your car is still under warranty, the repair might be covered. If you recently purchased it, check with where you bought it. You might also have an extended warranty policy. If you do, see if the repairs are covered. Used cars often have shorter warranties. For damage caused by an accident, the repairs might be covered under your car insurance policy, depending upon whose fault it was.
Be Selective and Shop Around
When choosing an auto service department, you want to make sure that it’s reputable, reasonably-priced, and has a knowledgeable and experienced team of professionals who will take care of your car. The Federal Trade Commission suggests the following methods for finding the best repair shop:
- Make sure that the business is licensed in accordance with local or state law
- Ask your friends and family for recommendations
- Check with the shop you are considering to see if they will honor your vehicle’s warranty
Trust is critical when selecting a shop to repair your car. Many people have heard horror stories about how someone was taken advantage of by a mechanic. Most of the mistrust consumers have is based on the cost of repairs. According to a survey by Repair Trust, 86 percent of customers said that the prices they paid a mechanic were outrageous or too high. This is why it’s important for you to be selective when choosing where to take your car for repairs. Another possible option is taking your car to an auto mechanic school to save money. However, this could be risky because you would be trusting students with your car. They do not have the same experience as certified mechanics but should be under the supervision of one.
There are four primary types of financing for helping you pay for your auto repairs:
- Payment plans
- Credit cards
- Emergency loans
- Financing with no required credit check
It may be possible to work out a payment plan with the dealership where you can get the repairs done and pay off the bill according to an agreed-upon schedule that fits into your budget. Check with the finance department of the dealership to see if they will make a payment plan or if they have other options available.
Putting the cost of your repair on your credit card can buy you some time and quickly get you the money you need. You can either pay your credit card off in full when it is due (usually 30 days later) or pay it off as your budget allows. Just be careful not to put more money on your card than you can realistically pay back.
There are cases where vehicle owners can obtain quick approval for an unsecured contract to cover the costs associated with needed repairs. This is a good option for those who might have a bad credit rating. It avoids the time it takes to fill out paperwork and enables you to get the money you need fast.
Financing Without a Credit Check
Finance programs that do not require a credit check are beneficial for drivers who don’t have a good credit history. Instead of obtaining a copy of your credit report, the decision to grant you the loan will be based on the following:
- Your income
- How much money you are requesting (is it only the money needed to fix your vehicle?)
- If you are willing to use the wholesale value of your car as collateral
At some point, you will car will get damaged and need repairs. The next time you buy a car, try to plan ahead and find a dealership that offers everything you need, including extended warranties and financing programs for auto repairs.