Affordable transportation is often a concern for senior citizens. Some seniors go without basics to make car payments they can’t afford for a car with little or no equity. Others need affordable replacement transportation but don’t have the income to finance a car. What are some options for these seniors?
Financing a car from a dealer might not be the best option or even possible for a senior with lower income. Dealers generally sell used cars “as is.” If it later has mechanical problems, then the dealer is not responsible.
When you finance a car, in addition to high-interest payments, you are required to carry costly insurance coverage. What can you do if you can’t afford a car payment and yet need transportation?
What to Look for on Craigslist
The Craigslist website is the free modern version of want ads where you live. Advertisements include detailed descriptions and photos. You can find reliable transportation through Craigslist often for around $1,000 or less.
Visit the Craigslist subsite for your location and click on the cars and trucks link under the for sale section.
Type “runs good” in the search bar. In the left-hand menu, you will see three links to search by: all, owner, and dealer. Click on the owner link to search for cars advertised by owners only.
For Sale by Owner
Why search for a car sold by an owner and not a dealer? Many used cars are purchased by dealers at auction. They have no idea what the real condition of the car is.
Private owners won’t represent a car as being in good condition unless it actually is in good condition. After all it’s their car.
If you go this route, the car you purchase may not be the newest car, but frankly, car styles change little nowadays from year to year. You bought it from the person who owns that car, who represents that it “runs good.”
Lower Insurance Costs
If you purchase a car for no more than $1,500, your insurance costs will be less. If the car has a major mechanical problem in a year or two, so what, you can junk it. Just think of the payments you’ll have saved. But it will likely last much longer.
What if you already have a car with a payment you can’t afford? If it’s worth more than what is owed, you could sell the car and buy a less expensive car. But what if the car is worth less than what is owed?
The contract allows you to return the car to the lender. When the car you financed is surrendered or repossessed, there is usually a deficiency or extra amount owed on the loan after the car is sold by the lender.
Transportation That Seniors Can Afford
Federal laws protect seniors’ income, including Social Security, retirement, pension, disability and VA benefits. Even if you happen to be sued for the balance of a car loan after it is repossessed, your income can’t be garnished.
Seniors don’t have to go without necessities to maintain a car payment they can’t afford. And if you need a car and can’t afford a payment, check out Craigslist. It just may solve the transportation problem.
This article was provided by our content partners at MoneyTips.com. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/chameleonseye
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