With gas, insurance, and maintenance, owning a car is already expensive. But if you need repairs or just got in an accident, it may take hundreds or even thousands of dollars before it’s road-ready again. Hitching a ride to work can’t last, and buying a new car is equally out of the question.
However, you may have more options for affording vehicle repairs than you realized, including personal car repair loans that you pay back in a short period of time. There also may be insurance available or, at very least, free roadside assistance to get your vehicle off the side of the road when you need it most.
Free Roadside Assistance
Free roadside assistance may be the most likely no-cash-needed perk you have access to. If you’re a member of AAA or a similar organization, you can get a battery jump or similar low-effort service for free. Some plans offer discounted locksmithing for when you lock yourself out or free towing when your vehicle is stranded.
Free roadside assistance can come from unlikely places. Many credit cards offer it as an additional perk. Employers have plans that you can use any time your trip was work-related. Check with your credit card company or job to see if they offer such benefits and whether any exclusions or limitations apply.
Unexpected Insurance Coverage
Many people just pay the bare minimum in liability insurance, but some have extra coverage that they aren’t even aware of.
If an accident involved you hitting an object or causing a wreck, then you will need collision insurance in order to cover it. If your vehicle was damaged by a criminal act or a natural disaster, such as a tree branch falling through the windshield, then comprehensive car insurance will pay for the damage.
Any time you are involved in an accident with another driver, make sure to get their insurance information. They may have been at-fault for the accident, allowing you to file for the vehicle repairs under their liability insurance.
You may also have uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage, which can pay for instances when someone hits you but doesn’t have an insurance policy.
There are also many services that provide unexpected partial coverage for vehicle repairs. For instance, rental cars paid for through certain credit card plans have automatic coverage for damage.
Payment Arrangements with Auto Shops
Many auto shops are willing to let you work out a payment agreement with them. This means they’ll let you pay for repairs in installments rather than all at once. If you have a major repair, they may even be willing to let you pay a little up front in exchange for regular payments later on.
Very few franchised auto shops are willing to do this, including most new car dealerships. However, local mechanics may be willing to set up a delayed payment or some sort of arrangement.
You may even be able to arrange an exchange of services as a payment-in-kind, especially if you have a professional skill that may be useful. Skills you can offer include landscaping, tax preparation, or tattooing.
Alternative Lending and Title Pawns
In terms of short-term funding options, title pawn loans are easy to access but incredibly risky. They can contain hidden fees, and you risk losing your vehicle if you default on your loan.
Short-term personal loans are another option available that can give you quick access to cash right when you need it. Unlike title pawns, there’s no forced collateral, but you will need documentation of your income as proof you can repay the loan.
Always be sure to thoroughly research a short-term loan or title pawn before you sign anything. Ask for an exact list of all the fees and interest you will face to get a sense of the total cost of the loan. Don’t agree to weekly or monthly payments you can’t afford them.
At the same time, try to pay back the loan in six to 12 months to avoid having your interest balloon out of control.
Choosing a Lender
Only go with a lender that will perform underwriting. “Underwriting” means that they will look at your income, your available collateral, your credit score, and other factors to weigh your ability to repay the loan.
In other words, you want a lender who does their homework. This will ensure that you aren’t getting roped into a loan you won’t be able to repay.
Get started right away and be back on the road in no time.Take a look at your options for a short term loan today when you enter in some quick information and apply today.