Time has a way of sneaking up on you to the point that something which once seemed a lifetime away can come around without warning. Such is the case with the end of your car’s contract agreement. But what are your options when that agreement comes to an end and what different things will car financiers be checking if your car is being handed back?

Your options

You’ll be given three options – make the final payment to buy the car outright, return the keys, and walk away or swap your current car for a new one.

Buying

If you choose to pay the final balance and drive off with the same care you’ve grown to love over the last few years then the car is all yours. If you don’t currently have enough savings set aside to finish the bill, meanwhile, you can always set up a loan agreement. It’s then yours to do what you wish with. If it’s worth more than the final payment, maybe you want to sell it and put the deposit towards another car? Or maybe you’re perfectly happy with your car? The choice is yours.

Car’s Contract

Returning

If you’re happy to move on to another dealer and you’ve made all your monthly car finance payments then you should be able to hand over the keys and walk away. Of course, there will have been a prior finance agreement regarding how many miles should be left on the clock and what general state the car should be in, but as long as there’s nothing wrong with it, you could potentially walk away from it all.

Trading

Perhaps the most tempting option for those of us who like to have a new car every few years and enjoy the thrill of the shiny and new. It’s also the options manufacturers will be most keen to thrust upon you because for them, it represents repeat business. In this case, any equity left in the car is put towards the deposit of a new car, which could significantly cut down your monthly car payments.

After the fact

If you choose to pay the final amount and take the car home, you’re going to want to take out insurance and protect the car in case of any damages. Part-specific insurance might also be recommended if the car in question is commonly experiencing specific problems. If the damage caused by scraping your alloy wheels against the curb is getting on your nerves, for example, take out specific alloy wheel insurance.

It might seem like something rather specific and obviously, it will vary from car to car and person to person, but it could save you a small fortune in the long run if it’s a problem that keeps cropping up.

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