According to an analysis by Autotrader, an estimated 580,000 cars will need to be replaced from Hurricane Harvey, as well as an additional 200,000 from Hurricane Irma. One of the first things many consumers do after a hurricane is buy a car, but it’s important that you don’t rush into this.
Check Your Insurance
Before you head to the dealer, check your insurance. Double check that you have comprehensive coverage (this covers flood damage and reimburses you if the car is totaled), and understand where that settlement money will go – which also depends on whether you have an auto loan or lease. With an auto loan, the insurer will first payoff the loan balance. Then you’ll get a check for the remaining amount of the car’s value. With a lease, the insurer will just pay the balance of the leasing contract.
Once you file a claim for your car – depending on your policy – you could get a rental car while you go through the process of replacing your vehicle.
Even if you haven’t figured out what you’ll receive from your insurance settlement, you can still budget for a replacement vehicle by looking up market values. You can use sites such as Kelley Blue Book to check new and used car values and prices of specific vehicles. Once you know how much your insurance company will pay, you can narrow down your search to find vehicles within your price range.
If you plan to apply for an auto loan, the best thing to do is shop around for the best rate and get pre-approved for financing.
Waiting It Out
The best option, if possible, is to rent a car and wait. Because of the number of damaged vehicles involved, in many areas, market prices can be inflated. Waiting until the market returns to normal may help you and your finances.
If you don’t have the luxury of waiting and worry that your credit might stand in the way, Auto Credit Express is here to help. We're teamed up with a nationwide network of car dealers that are equipped to handle challenging credit situations. Our free service can connect you with one of them in your area. To get the process started, all you need to do is fill out our secure car loan request form.