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How to protect yourself when co-signing a car loan Part Of Financing a Car With a Co-Signer In this series Financing a Car With a Co-Signer Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial decisions by offering you interactive financial calculators and tools as well as publishing authoritative and original content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare data at no cost – so that you can make sound financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The deals that are displayed on this site come from companies that pay us. This compensation can affect the way and when products are listed on the site, such as for instance, the order in which they may appear in the listing categories and other categories, unless prohibited by law. This applies to our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity and other home lending products. However, this compensation will have no impact on the information we provide, or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not cover the universe of companies or financial offers that may be accessible to you. Oliver Rossi/Getty Images
2 min read Published October 12, 2022
Authored by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in helping readers with the ways and pitfalls of taking out loans to purchase cars. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances with clear, well-researched information that is broken down into complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate guarantee
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So, this compensation can impact how, where and when products are listed, except where prohibited by law. We also offer mortgage, home equity and other home loan products. Other elements, like our own rules for our website and whether a product is available within your region or within your personal credit score could also affect how and where products appear on this site. Although we try to offer the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. Co-signing as a customer could allow the vehicle to be owned for a friend or family member who might not be eligible for financing without your help. But co-signing carries a the risk that since you are both legally responsible for the loan late payments, or default could impact your financial situation. But if the vehicle owner is accountable, co-signing may increase your credit score. Five ways to safeguard yourself as a co-signer Consider these points to protect your financial security in the event that you decide to act as co-signer for a future . 1. Use co-signers only for close friends and family members The biggest risk when acting as co-signer on a loan co-signer can cause harm to your credit score. Ideally, you should only aid a family member or friend member you trust- someone with a consistent income that is stable financially. It is essential to ensure that the primary borrower is able to repay but they were not eligible due to their lack of the financial background or their age. 2. Check that your name appears on the title of the vehicle. Co-signers do not hold ownership of the vehicle. This means that the way you’re named on the loan agreement is important. If you are not named in the title document, then you might not have a legal claim to the vehicle, however you would be on the hook for future installments. Confirm that the title states you as the owner of the vehicle and not the primary one. So, the car can’t sell without the two parties’ signatures. 3. You should draft a contract. While you both agree on the loan itself, having a separate contract that outlines your expectations of the primary borrower is an added layer of protection and serves as an indicator of the contract’s importance. This contract need not be too complex. It’s just a promissory note that outlines the cost, obligations, and the consequences of default to both sides. After you both have agreed that you will present it to a notary to have it finalized. 4. Make sure you track monthly payments. One method to feel more confident in the primary borrower’s ability of paying is to track the monthly payment schedule. It could be as easy as setting up a reminder on a calendar to keep track of the amount they spend. While it may feel awkward but remember that your credit score is on the line. Simply reach out and open up a conversation to inquire about your friend or family member without having to manage the loan. 5. Ensure you can afford payments In the event that all else fails you need to know that you can cover the payments on the loan. If you’re not able to repay the lender, your credit score will be in trouble — and you may be at risk of default or other legal actions. The principal borrower is responsible for the most responsibility however you’re on the hook for the loan as co-signer. How co-signing an auto loan can affect your credit dangers of co-signing a vehicle loan are not difficult, but they could be serious. If the person who you co-sign for doesn’t pay, your could take a big hit and you’ll be on the responsibility of paying for the loan. There are also advantages to your credit score: Credit mix: Based on the current credit accounts and the addition of the car loan in your credit score can improve what’s referred to as the credit score. Your credit mix is 10% part of your FICO credit score. History of payments: Just as your score can be lowered if the primary borrower doesn’t pay on time, it’s possible to benefit — though on an insignificant scaleby having them make consistent on-time payments. The bottom line Acting as co-signer can be a major financial decision and could result in financial or interpersonal headaches. But for many, it is the difference between owning an automobile or not. So if you decide to co-sign the loan take care to protect yourself and make certain you are able to pay the loan in the event that the principal borrower fails to pay. Find out more
The article was written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers to navigate the details of borrowing money to purchase a car. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances through providing concise, well-researched, and clear facts that break down otherwise complicated topics into digestible pieces.
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