Finding a good cosigner for a car loan means someone with a good enough credit score, but it’s not the only qualification they need to meet.
What to Look for in a Cosigner for a Car Loan
The most important thing your potential cosigner needs to have is a good credit score. There isn’t a hard-and-fast rule on what that credit score needs to be, since lenders vary in their specific requirements. If you ask someone to cosign your car loan, and their credit is the same as or worse than yours, it’s probably not going to increase your chances of getting approved.
A cosigner helps you get an auto loan by "lending" you their good credit score, and promising to pay for the loan if you’re unable to. Essentially, with two people on the loan, it lowers your risk of default.
Another requirement a cosigner needs to meet is the lender’s income requirements. Since the cosigner agrees to pay for the vehicle if you can’t, they need to prove they have enough available income to actually cover those car payments.
Cosigners don’t help you make the payments each month – that’s your responsibility. However, they still need to prove to the lender that they could in case something happens with your income or situation that makes you unable to keep up on the payments.
As far as who can be your cosigner, it could be really anyone that isn’t a spouse or life partner. Most borrowers tend to ask a parent or family member to cosign for them, and it’s common for brand-new borrowers to need a cosigner to get into their first auto loan. However, it can be a close friend or even a coworker, and they don’t even have to live in your home state.
Difference Between Cosigner and Co-Borrower
The sole reason your cosigner can’t be a spouse is that when spouses sign onto a loan together, they become co-borrowers instead. Co-borrowers can combine incomes to meet the lender's requirements together. While credit scores are considered, the lower credit score is often used to meet credit score requirements when co-borrowers apply together.
If you’re short in the income department when you apply for a car loan, this is where co-borrowers can help. If your credit score is what’s stopping you from an auto loan approval, then a cosigner is the one for the job.
What Your Cosigner Should Know
Finding the right person to be your cosigner for your next car loan isn’t just challenging because of the requirements, but also because it’s a big thing to ask of someone.
A cosigner takes on the responsibility of an auto loan without getting any rights to the vehicle. This means if you stop paying on the car loan, the lender can go after them for payments. If the auto loan falls into default, you both risk damage on your credit reports – the same goes for a vehicle repossession.
Your cosigner is putting their good credit score in your hands when they sign onto a car loan with you, and it can make some people hesitant to sign that dotted line. However, if you can find a cosigner willing to increase your odds of getting approved for an auto loan, then reassure them that you can handle the loan.
This means choosing a vehicle that’s within your budget, and making all your payments on time. If you’re struggling to keep up with the car payments, let your cosigner know so you both can work together and manage the auto loan to protect everyone’s financial and credit health.
Can’t Think of Any Good Cosigner Candidates?
Odds are, if you’ve been asked to have a cosigner, your poor credit is the culprit. However, not everyone has the ability or connections to have a cosigner. If you can’t find a good cosigner, then a subprime car loan could be your next route.
Subprime auto loans are for borrowers with less than perfect credit. These lenders are signed up with special finance dealers, but finding one of these locations can be just as big of a hassle as finding the right cosigner. We know where the special finance dealerships are, and we want to help you find one.
Here at Auto Credit Express, we’ve worked to create a nationwide network of dealers that are signed up with subprime lenders. To get matched to a dealership in your area with the bad credit lending options you need, fill out our free car loan request form.