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 www.annualcreditreport.com 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 Quote@TopLinecu.com 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 Quote@TopLinecu.com 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 Ask@TopLinecu.com 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!

Buying a Recreational Vehicle: What to Know Before You Buy

Although winter’s grip is holding tight, you may be considering a purchase you can enjoy once Spring finally arrives. Recreational vehicles—boats, campers, 4-wheelers, motorcycles, jet skis, and RV’s—help Minnesotans make up for the months of winter with fair-weather fun. But is your purchase a prudent one? Here are some things to consider before making the spring splurge.

  1.     Do Your Research

Before heading to a dealership or a sports show, do a little online research about the various types and price points of the item you want. There are several classes of RV’s, several types of ATV’s, and many variations on your classic jet-ski. Read reviews, research manufacturers, compare features and have some understanding of what you’re really hoping to get in your new purchase.

  1.     Ask Around

If you are looking to buy a new recreational vehicle, chances are you’ve used or have been a guest in someone else’s. (And we know that people love to talk about their vehicles.) So ask around, find out what people like or dislike about their campers, 4-wheelers, boats, or motorcycles, and get the real story from others. You just might get to enjoy a test run in your pursuit of forming your opinion.

  1.     Establish a Budget

Just like any large purchase, it is essential to have a predetermined budget. Consider payment options and talk with one of TopLine’s representatives to receive advice on a recreational vehicle loan. We will advise you through the loan process, and help you determine the right budget for you. Click here to get started, or call us at (763) 391-9494.

  1.     Don’t Rule Out Previously-Owned

All of these items can be purchased used—something to consider when thinking about price versus how often you will use it. When you look at used, ask the owner for service records and specific information on how it runs. Conduct a thorough check of the tires, frame, paint, rust levels, etc, just as you would when buying a used car. You may find used recreational vehicles that have only been used for few seasons, (and sparingly at that) so finding a gem that has very little wear is not impossible.

  1.     See and Compare in Person

To speak with experts, hop in the driver’s seat, and really compare different brands, sizes, and models, head to a local Sport’s Show. Be sure to set a budget before you go and remember that you are there for research, not to buy. (Not just yet, anyway!)

Minneapolis Boat Show: Jan. 19-22
St. Cloud Sportsman’s Show: Feb. 10-12
RV, Vacation & Camping Show: Feb. 9-11
Northwest Sports Show: March 23-26

 

Enjoy this exciting process of choosing your new boat or recreational vehicle, and contact TopLine with any questions on our loan options so you can get the toy you want!

 

The Many Benefits of Home Equity Loans

Are you facing a major lifestyle change, but are unsure of how to finance it? Obtaining a home equity loan might be the right answer for your finances. A home-equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, allows responsible homeowners to borrow money by leveraging the equity in their homes. Home equity loans are fixed-rate loans set at a lower interest rate than other lines of credit.

dollars-31085_640There are many benefits of a home equity loan that can help you secure financial assistance. Lower interest rates are an excellent draw for many homeowners. Home equity loans have lower interest rates compared to credit card annual percentage rates (APRs), and because a home equity loan is secured by the collateral of your home, lenders are more confident in a borrower’s ability to pay back debt. Borrowers benefit from this confidence with lower rates.

Borrowers can also benefit from a cash payment. Home equity loans, unlike other lines of credit, provide a lump sum of cash based on the amount of equity in your home, allowing you to pay off major expenses with one check.

Obtaining a home equity loan is an excellent option for certain and specific situations. If you are considering how to finance home improvement and renovations, a home equity loan can help you reinvest in your home and property value. Make the most of a smart investment by researching home property values in your area and making market-savvy options.

calculator-1276066_640An additional benefit of a home equity loan comes in the form of a potential tax deduction. With the consultation of a tax advisor, 100% of your home equity loan interest payments may be tax deductible. This can be a major advantage when comparing financial loan options, as 100% tax deduction may not be the case with credit card debt.

A home equity loan can simplify your finances and assist with debt consolidation. Home equity loans have fixed, lower interest rates and lower monthly payments. Additionally, a fixed rate will mean that you know exactly what you pay each month with no variation or surprises.

In the situation of a major life event or expense, such as a wedding or an unexpected medical expense, a home equity loan can help more than spreading such an expense over multiple credit cards or taking on private loans. While a home equity loan can be beneficial in certain situations, refrain from seeking a home equity loan on short-term expenses and property resales. In these situations, there will be better financing options at lower interest rates.

Twins Tickets Drawing

TopLine Federal Credit Union is sponsoring a sweepstakes in which you can enter for a chance to win a pair of Twins tickets valued at $191. Score a home equity loan or home equity line of credit and possibly a set of tickets to see the Twins in action! For more information, visit our website to see the Official Rules.

With so many options for financial assistance, let TopLine Federal Credit Union help pick an option that works best for your family to help you meet your financial goals, simplify your debt, and reach your ideal lifestyle. Apply online, or contact a friendly TopLine representative to get started!