How to Get the Best Deal When Buying a Car

Buying a car is one of the largest purchases people make – just behind buying a house.

It’s no wonder most people dread buying a new or used car. It is a stressful and expensive experience that most new buyers feel underqualified to take on.

That’s why we’re here to help. Here are some of the top do’s and don’ts for getting the best deal on your vehicle purchase:

DO: Make a Budget in Advance

It can be easy to be persuaded into a car that is beyond your means when you begin looking at vehicles. Knowing your budget in advance will ensure that you won’t later regret purchasing a car above what you should be spending.

DON’T: Make Your Decision Based on the Monthly Payments

When you are looking at identical monthly payments on two car options, it’s not difficult to be talked into a nicer car. However, if one car loan life is 5 years and the other is 10 years, the total cost of the car can look very different. When budgeting, plan for the total cost of the car and not just the monthly loan payments. This will give you a more realistic picture of what you are willing to spend over the car’s lifespan.

DO: Car Research Ahead of Time

New or used? Car or SUV? Ford or Chevy? 4WD or AWD? These are just a few examples of questions you should consider before you visit the dealership. Knowing what you are looking for before receiving help from salespeople will make you more confident in your choices and avoid being persuaded into cars that don’t fit your needs.

DON’T: Forget about Insurance Costs

When you’re considering your monthly price, it is easy to forget that you will also have to make monthly insurance payments in addition to any maintenance costs, repairs, and purchasing fuel. Make sure that you are comfortable with the monthly price once you factor in these costs, which can add up quickly.

DO: Take Your Time on the Test Drive

Don’t feel pressured into making an immediate decision: this is a huge purchase. Take whatever time you need during the test drive to ensure that this vehicle meets all your needs. Test how the controls operate. Do you feel comfortable when you’re driving? How does it feel in the passenger seats? Do you have enough space for hauling in the back? Take a look through everything you can so that you are confident when you make your purchase.

DON’T: Visit One Dealership

You wouldn’t visit one house and immediately buy; the same principle applies to cars. One dealership may be overcharging based on the model and conditions of the car compared to another dealer. Even if you fall in love with the first vehicle you see, take a quick look at another dealer to make sure you are not overpaying.

DO: Think About the Longevity of the Car

You will likely be paying off the loan on this car for over five years. Is this a car that you will still like in five years? Does it suit the needs you will have five years from now? You can always sell the car back before then, but make sure you consider how long you anticipate having this car when you are factoring your spending means and the type of car you want.


The process of buying a car is never easy, so let us help make it better. TopLine Federal Credit Union offers car loans with flexible terms, competitive rates, and a variety of repayment options. We also offer auto insurance to protect your vehicle and the costs associated with it. We are happy to work with you to finance the vehicle that will get you where you need to go.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help.


Why It’s Important to Review Your Home And Auto Insurance Annually

We have all seen the big insurance companies’ televisions ads that say you could save hundreds if you switch insurance. It can be easy to disregard but reviewing your insurance policies annually to ensure you are getting the best price and coverage really can save you hundreds.

It is not just about the annual premium, having the correct coverage can protect you from big bills after an accident or weather event. Here are two great reasons to shop around each year before your policy renews.


Complete Coverage

There are a lot of options when it comes to coverage options, especially for auto insurance on your car. Read this great infographic for a breakdown of car insurance. You might be driving an old car and decide to upgrade, suddenly going from a liability only policy to one that includes comprehensive and collision. You could be living in an area where hurricanes do not exist and then move to Florida, adding flood insurance to your homeowner’s policy. As life develops, your coverage needs to adjust. It is easy to overlook coverage changes and developing needs, and checking into your policies annually can help you fill any gaps.


Comparing Costs

One way to lower your annual premium is by adjusting your deductible. Most home insurance quotes assume a standard $1000 deductible. However, if you are a good saver and always have a healthy savings, you can increase your deductible to $2500 or $5000 to get a better premium. Consider bundling your auto and home insurance, paying your premium all at once, or switching companies to save money. TopLine Federal Credit Union can help you compare insurance companies with ease. We compare up to 20 different insurance companies and give you the lowest quote for the coverage you need.


If you are not sure what month your insurance policy renews, that is a sign you need to review the terms. Now is a great time to look into it as September is National Insurance Awareness Month. Are you aware of the coverage and costs you have?

Interested in seeing if you can save money on your insurance? Call 763-391-0007, email or stop by any of our branch locations for your personalized, free, no obligation coverage comparison today!

Auto Buying: Auto Loan and Car Insurance Tips

One of the most exciting purchases can also bring loads of uncertainty. Buying a car, whether new or used, is a big step that can either be a financial burden or a manageable expense. TopLine Federal Credit Union is here to help you with tips on the finer points of auto loans and auto insurance so you can get on the road in your new vehicle.

Auto Loans: What to Know and How to Prepare

  1. Determine Your Budget

You should only take on new debt when your monthly spending is less than your monthly income. A new loan shouldn’t take away from your plans to save or from your existing commitments. If your monthly cushion allows for a certain amount to go to your car payment each month, work backward from that to determine your target budget for your vehicle.

Not sure what your monthly finances will allow? Use one of these monthly budget calculators from TopLine to find your numbers fast.

When calculating your overall budget, keep in mind that your monthly payment will be determined by a) vehicle price, including any added warranties, b) down payment, c) term of the loan, and d) APR (annual percentage rate). The larger the down payment, the smaller the loan, which will give you more flexibility and a more comfortable monthly payment.

  1. Check your Credit Report

The terms of your loan will be influenced by your credit score, so it may be a good idea to check your credit report for any discrepancies you might need to dispute. You can get a free copy of your credit report at or visit TopLine’s “Get Your Credit Report” website page for more details on both credit reports and scores.

  1. Direct Lending vs. Dealership Financing

You have several choices when it comes to your auto loan. Dealership financing makes use of the dealership’s relationships with financial institutions. Direct lending involves getting your loan directly from your bank or credit union. Before you step foot on the lot, it’s a good idea to gather the information on the loans available to you from reputable places like TopLine Federal Credit Union; being armed with that knowledge will help you decide the best course for you.

  1. Shop Around

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, TopLine is committed to helping you get the best deal in town. As a member-owner, you have exclusive access to our free car buying services with our partner, Minnesota Dealer Direct, a Minneapolis-St. Paul-based firm to ensure you get the savings you deserve without all the hassles. This is free service for TopLine members.  For more information on Minnesota Dealer Direct please call 612-227-9190 or 612-226-8921.

Auto Insurance: What to Know Before You Sign

  1. Shop Around Again

Auto insurance is one of the top-advertised industries out there, so the competition is fierce. At TopLine, we work to save our members money every day, in every way we can with auto insurance. Through TopLine Insurance Agency, we offer auto loan policies from a number of well-known insurance carriers like Encompass, Met Life, Progressive, Safeco, Travelers – up to 20 different insurance carriers in all to assure you get the right policy to fit your individual needs and at the best price. Contact TopLine Insurance Agency at 763-391-0007, email or stop by any of our branch locations to your personalized free, no obligation, coverage comparison today!

  1. Ask questions and Find the Right Coverage

Your insurance costs will be determined by factors like the car you’re driving, your age, credit rating, home address, and driving record. Long commutes and living or working in an area with a high rate of break-ins or vehicle thefts can increase your rate.

There are several types of car insurance coverage options; contact TopLine Insurance Agency at 763-391-0007, email or stop by any of our branch locations to your personalized free, no obligation, coverage comparison today!  It’s a good idea to have a grasp of the options that you want to be included in your coverage and to speak frankly with an agent about your needs.

  1. Read the Fine Print

We’d hate to see you come this far only to have your contract let you down. Read all parts of the contract, and don’t just skim it. If you have questions about wording, ask! Make sure all of the coverage you’re opting into is listed out. Conversely, if you see something you didn’t agree to, ask about it. The car buying process is both thrilling and complicated. Our job at TopLine is to make it less

daunting and to lead you to the right solutions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for questions or assistance with auto loans, car buying services, or auto insurance. Give us a call 763-391-9494, email or stop by any of our 5 Twin Cities metro locations. It’s always good to have all your questions answered before you buy your shiny new wheels!

Celebrate National Insurance Month with TopLine!

Many of you probably didn’t know that September is National Insurance Month!

Celebrate National Insurance Month by making sure you have the best coverage to suit all your needs and to protect your loved ones. Ensure the health and success of your finances by examining your coverage plans.

As providers of our families, we can set out the most-detailed financial plans, spend and budget safely, and plan out all major expenses, but without insurance, we may still be unprepared in the event of unexpected expenses, medical emergencies and any of life’s many surprises. This is why having an excellent insurance plan can help us breathe a little more easily in the face of life’s uncertainties.

untitled-design-24The best insurance plans will be able to protect you against financial risks and potentially great losses with quality auto and homeowners insurance policies. The best insurance plans will also support the well-being of your family and limit the out-of-pocket costs incurred from healthcare expenses and medical emergencies. Without an appropriate life insurance plan or adequate health care plan, your family may suffer in the event of medical emergencies, illness or death.

At TopLine Insurance Agency we work to save our members money every day, in every way we can. It’s our commitment to provide you with quality products to protect you, your family and your belongings. We offer personal as well as business policies from a variety of well-known and well-regarded property and casualty insurance carriers such as Encompass, Progressive, Safeco, Travelers and more.

Our insurance policies include Auto, Motorcycle & ATV, RV & Boat, Home/Renters, Life, Business and more.

We are here to help you get the right policy at the best price to fit your individual needs. For a free, personalized, no obligation coverage comparison, contact us to schedule an appointment today! Call 763-391-0007, email us at or stop by your local branch.