Don’t panic — there are several options if you’re having trouble making ends meet.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends talking to your auto lender as soon as possible if you’re having trouble paying your auto loan or you think you may have trouble. Here is a list of popular auto lenders and their contact information. Keep in mind there could be significant wait times — messaging online or through an app may be faster and more convenient.
Even if your lender is offering COVID-19 relief— or agrees to your request for help — you may need to supply proof that you’ve been affected, such as unemployment insurance documentation or possibly medical bills.
Defer a car payment
Also called a car payment extension, a car payment deferral is when a lender allows you to push payments back until a later date. Note that you’re not actually skipping payments when you defer — you will still have to make those payments, just at a later date, and interest will continue to accrue. Deferring a car payment will not affect your credit score although it will be noted in your credit history, according to Experian.
Change your car payment due date
If you haven’t missed payments yet and you don’t think that things are so bad you need to defer a car payment for a couple of months, you could ask to change your car payment due date. Doing so could give you more time to comfortably come up with the money to make the car payment.
Request a penalty fee waiver
Ask your lender to waive late fees and other penalties for late or missed payments in this time. Some lenders are waiving late fees automatically.
Make a payment plan
A payment plan is typically for when you’ve already missed your scheduled payments. It’s a new payment calendar that aims to help you catch up and repay your missed payments in manageable portions while you make the current payments that are due on time.