So the time has come for you to buy a car: maybe you’re fed up of travelling and are finally in a good financial place where you can afford to take this step, or maybe your current vehicle is just begging for an upgrade. Whatever the reason, buying a car is a major investment – and a huge decision!
While choosing which car you want to drive feels like a massive decision solely for the fact that you’ll be using this car for the better part of 5+ years, the type of car you choose affects more than just your image. In fact, there’s a lot more to consider than how nice a car looks or the features it offers because quite a few factors play into how much your car will cost you over the years. Unless of course, you’re paying in full at the time of purchase, buying a car is a decision that’ll require you to pay month after month for years to come, on top of annual insurance fees. So before you drive off with that brand new car from the showroom, you might want to consider some of the following things.
Chances are, you’re not going to be paying for the entire cost of your brand new car the day you buy it unless of course you’ve recently won the lottery and spending a couple hundred thousand in one drop isn’t an issue – in which case, congratulations! But for the rest of us not-so-lucky folk, buying a car means we’ll have to consider our options when it comes to financing.
Most banks and financial institutions, including Maritime’s own Fidelity Finance, offer financing options to fit your needs and can create a loan package that works to fit your lifestyle and budget. This means that depending on the down payment you provide at the time of purchase, as well as the length you choose for financing your car, your monthly fee can be lowered considerably. In simpler terms, if you’re not financially able to spend a substantial sum of money month-to-month on your car payment, then Fidelity loan officers may recommend paying as much of a down payment as you can, and then choosing to spread your loan over a longer period (Fidelity offers up to 7 years) to minimize your monthly fee.
Let’s make it simpler: hypothetically, if your car is worth $200,000, and you’re able to put a down payment of $30,000 upon purchase, then the remaining $170,000 is financed over the period of time, of course accumulating interest month to month. Financing the car for four years (meaning your car is fully paid off and entirely yours in four years from purchase date) will obviously result in a higher monthly payment than financing it across seven years.
The more expensive the car, the more money you’ll have to pay off – which means you’re either going to have to pay a higher deposit, extend your loan over a longer period, or face a higher monthly payment, so this is definitely something you’ll want to consider when choosing your vehicle. At the end of the day, the less money you have to finance, the less you’ll end up paying
month-to-month, so if you’re upgrading your car, you might want to use the money from the sale of your previous ride as a down payment towards your new one.
Okay, so you’ve decided on a car, you’ve spoken to your loan officer, signed all the papers and are ready to drive off, right? Not so fast! Before you can drive any car in Trinidad and Tobago, you need proof of motor insurance, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all package. In fact, the make, model and year of your car all play a huge part in what your annual insurance package costs.
How car insurance works is that you pay a yearly insurance fee dependent on the amount of money you’re insuring for. Insuring a car worth $200,000 certainly costs more than one that’s valued at $120,000, but in a worst case scenario where your car is stolen or totalled, you’ll want as close to the actual value of your car back so you’re able to get a new one and return to life as normal. Again, the more expensive your car is, the higher it’ll cost to insure.
When it comes to pricing your annual insurance premium, insurance companies like Maritime take many things into consideration: how old your car is, the cost of your car, how long you’ve been driving, how long you’ve been driving without a claim (this is called a No Claims Discount, which basically rewards you for driving without getting into an accident), how many people will be driving your car, among other factors. From all of this information, they’re able to quote an annual figure, which can be paid once a year, or through monthly installments. And of course, it’s important to choose an insurance company and package that’s right for you.
Insurance is not only mandatory, but much-needed at times, and Maritime’s Auto Max insurance package offers assistance beyond just a check after a bad accident. Auto Max provides services like 24-hour accident response (and a shuttle service from the site of the accident to your destination), 24-hour towing service, battery boosting, emergency gas supply (should you stall due to no gas), flat tyre change and repair and even locksmith services to retrieve keys locked in your car.
Choosing to bundle both your loan package and your motor insurance can benefit you financially, offering considerable discounts for handling both. Maritime offers package deals, including the Auto Financing Plus, an all-inclusive package that contains insurance coverage, vehicle financing and loan protection, so you’re always in good hands. A bundled route can be beneficial for customers, especially as it can open up even more discounts, including new customer discounts, returning member discounts, discounts for your car having safety features or even for being a seasoned driver.
As you can see, buying a car is no small feat: it’s an expensive one, and one with many options to consider. But with the right guidance, this investment doesn’t have to be as daunting as it may seem. Talk to a loans officer and see how you can make the right decisions that’ll help you financially, both month to month, and in the long run.