Changing the game of vehicle total loss protection

Let’s say you just bought an awesome new car valued at $25,000. Because you are a super negotiator, you were able to talk down the dealer into a selling price of $22,000. And because you are a superior saver you put $7,000 down on that new car.  And best of all, you acquired a $15,000 loan from allU.S. Credit Union to cover the rest.

Here’s the bad part. Two weeks later you are on your way to the grocery store and some irresponsible driver slams into your new car. Everyone is fine your car is severely damaged.  Now what do you do?

Here is a typical scenario without Depreciation Protection

Obviously you have comprehensive insurance.  Your car insurance company has valued your totaled vehicle at $20,000 (instead of $25,000 because it looses value as soon as you drive it off the car lot).  So, they pay off your $15,000 car loan balance and send you a check for the remaining $5,000.

But here’s the problem. You only have $5,000 for a down payment, instead of $7,000 and you have to negotiate the deal all over again.

Here’s the scenario with Depreciation Protection

Obviously you have comprehensive insurance.  Your car insurance company has valued your totaled vehicle at $20,000 (instead of $25,000 because it loses value as soon as you drive it off the car lot).  So, they pay off your $15,000 car loan balance and send you a check for the remaining $5,000. (This sounds all to familiar, right?  Here’s where everything changes).

In addition to your regular insurance, allU.S. Credit Union provided Depreciation Protection with your loan, which locked in the value of your vehicle at $25,000.  Which means, your car will maintain its value for the lifetime of the loan.  Let’s break this down.  The equity in the car totals the $3,000 you were able to negotiate off the sale price, then there’s the $7,000 down payment.  So that’s $10,000.

With the appropriate Depreciation Protection Policy, you would get $10,000, which means you have $15,000 to put down on a new vehicle.

The Depreciation Protection payout will never be more than the amount you owe on your loan.  So, let’s say you have an accident several years after you purchase the car instead of in the first two weeks.  You’ve made years of payments, so you only owe approximately $8900 on the car.  That’s how much Depreciation Protection would pay you at the time of your accident.

Click the link for additional info. (

To see if this coverage is right for you contact us for additional information and ask us about our upcoming auto loan campaign “Packing On The Perks”.

Why Should I Refinance My Vehicle at allU.S. Credit Union?

Are you drowning in high payments with a high-interest rate car loan that you simply can’t afford?  Were you one of those car shoppers that smelled the new interior, gawked at all the gadgets, took a test drive and just wanted to hit the road in your new car no matter what the cost or the finance rate?  Like many others in your shoes, after the initial excitement wore off you realized the interest rate was higher than you expected, and now it’s squeezing your budget.  

You might want to think about refinancing your vehicle.  Refinancing could save you money if you qualify for a better rate.  And, at allU.S. credit union you may benefit from more flexible repayment terms and certainly more personalized customer service.

How Does Refinancing Work?

The process is similar to refinancing your home – only much simpler.  Just like a home refinance, you’re using a loan from another lender to pay off an existing loan, and doing so at a much more affordable interest rate.  The point of refinancing is to get a better deal.  A lower interest rate could result in hundreds of dollars in savings while a longer term may make paying off the debt easier on your budget.

When Does Refinancing Your Vehicle Make Sense?

  • If you didn’t get the best interest rate available the first time. perhaps you were in a big rush to buy your vehicle and you didn’t shop around first for the best rates with local lenders.  Credit Unions, like allU.S. in particular, are known for offering favorable interest rates on auto loans to their members.
  • An auto refinance can be useful for those people who are saddled with high interest rate loans due to a poor credit score, lack of a credit history, or unemployment.  As long as you haven’t missed any payments, it’s worth seeing if you can grab a more attractive rate this time around.
  • If your financial situation has changed since you initially got your loan it may make sense to refinance your car.  If your credit score has improved, even by just 50 points, that improvement can earn you a lower interest rate.
  • Maybe you have discovered a mistake on your credit report that cost you a better rate.  If that mistake has been corrected it may be a good time to refinance your vehicle.  You can check for credit report errors on AnnualCreditReport.
  • If you have only one or two years left on your car loan, it might not make sense to refinance into a new loan with a longer term.  But if your objective is to reduce your monthly payments, a refinance may be the way to go.

Why Refinance Through A Credit Union?

Because credit unions are not-for-profit they work exclusively for their member’s benefit and often offer unique loan programs that might not be available from a traditional bank.

Lower Interest Rates:  At allU.S. credit union earnings are passed back to their members in the form of lower rates and fees.  According to the National Credit Union Administration the average car loan from a credit union was 2.61% lower than the average bank. 

Flexible repayment terms:  allU.S. credit union offers financing up to 100% of the vehicle’s value and provide numerous repayment options.           

Loan Protection Products:  You can usually buy GAP coverage from the auto dealer.   If you purchase that insurance from allU.S. you can usually save hundreds of dollars for this useful protection.

Skip-A-Pay:  allU.S. allow their members to skip a loan payment now and then if they are facing a financial crisis.  You can forget about asking a car dealer for that type of special treatment.

What’s better than a lower rate and a lower monthly car payment?

Because the auto refinancing application only takes a few minutes to complete and the entire process isn’t burdensome, you have little to lose by trying to get a better deal.  So, if you love your vehicle but not your loan it might make sense to refinance your loan with allU.S. Credit Union! 

Save Money with a Fuel-Efficient Car

Improved fuel economy saves you cash every time you fill your tank!

Fuel efficiency is an enormous financial consideration when buying a car.  In fact, buying a car that is 10 miles per gallon more efficient in terms of fuel consumption than another option you may be interested in can save you as much as $10,000 over the time you own the car.

When shopping for your next car, one of your very first questions should be, “What kind of fuel economy does it get?” Gas prices are so unpredictable that it is essential that you prepare yourself for escalating prices by making fuel economy your number one priority – so you can make driving a not-so-guilty pleasure again!

Selecting a fuel-efficient car
A good place to start is online at where you can review the mileage and emissions ratings of all the vehicles currently for sale.

  • Here’s an example from A vehicle that gets 30 MPG will cost you $610 less to fuel each year than one that gets 20 MPG (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $2.44). Over a period of five years, the 30-MPG vehicle will save you $3,050. Now that’s a good chunk of change!
  • There are also fuel cost and savings calculators that can be used to help you make an informed decision when buying your new fuel-efficient vehicle.  You can try it here file://localhost/(https/

Another good site is, which also carries the EPA mileage figures on the “Specs” page of each auto.

If you’re tired of emptying your wallet every time you fill up below is a list of cars that are rated the most fuel-efficient by Consumer Reports.  These gas sippers listed below are also easy on the wallet.

  • Ford Fiesta SFE
  • Mitsubishi i-MIEV
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Chevrolet Cruze Eco
  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Civic HF
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Hyundai Veloster
  • Mazda 3

Driving a fuel-efficient vehicle not only will save you money on gas, but such a decision has other, broader benefits, too. It reduces oil dependence costs, reduces climate change and increases energy sustainability. Clearly, it’s a decision you can feel good about!

If you are ready to purchase that new fuel-efficient car, your local credit union offers affordable and competitive financing options on both new and used automobiles.  Some credit unions will even give a discount for fuel-efficient cars, for vehicles with a 40-highway mpg rating or higher.  So you will save on interest while you’re saving on gas.

allU.S. Credit Union is committed to stewardship and care of the environment. In the changing technology of our world, hybrid and fuel-efficient cars offer a chance to practice these values. Visit the branch today or apply online for an auto loan that fits your budget.  

Should I Buy or Lease?

If your clunker of a car is gasping its final breath, you are probably in the midst of deciding whether to lease or purchase a car.

To lease or to buy? It’s one of the age-old questions car buyers ask themselves. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The option that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, including your financial situation, lifestyle and your future plans for the vehicle.

Before choosing the option that’s best for you, it is important to understand the difference between leasing and buying. When you lease, you basically “rent” the vehicle for a predetermined period of time. Leasing allows you to drive a brand new vehicle with lower monthly payments. Typically, lease agreements stipulate a mileage maximum for the lease period. Any additional mileage you put on the vehicle is an extra cost. At the end of your lease, you have the option to return the vehicle or purchase it. Leasing might be right for you if you:

  • Like driving a new car every couple years
  • Want a low monthly payment
  • Find new safety features and options very important
  • Always want a car under warranty so you won’t face major repair bills
  • Don’t care about ownership
  • Drive a limited number of miles
  • Have no depreciation concerns
  • Own a business and use the vehicle only for business purposes, you can claim it as a tax deduction.

An auto analyst resource at Edmunds points out that the decision between leasing and buying a car isn’t actually the difference in finances.  It’s a lifestyle choice.  People who like to drive a new car every few years find a lease much more appealing and they are usually able to drive nicer cars than they could afford to purchase.

When you buy a vehicle, you typically make a down payment, pay sales tax and finance the purchase price at an interest rate predetermined by your financial institution or Loan Company. Over the term of your loan you’ll pay the full cost of the vehicle, and once your loan term is up you own the vehicle and you’re free to sell it at any time. Buying a vehicle might be a good idea if you:

  • Can afford higher monthly payments
  • Like the idea of ownership
  • Don’t want to risk lease-end costs
  • Plan on driving the same vehicle for many years
  • Don’t mind covering repairs after the warranty expires
  • Are a high-mileage driver
  • Want to have a trade-in when getting their next car
  • Want to modify and/or accessorize your car

The bottom line on buying is the car you buy is yours, to sell, modify, or drive for 20 years if you like.  Granted, it won’t be worth as much as you paid for it when you finally put it to rest, but overall, buying usually costs less than leasing and provides you with much more flexibility.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to buy or lease will depend upon your specific circumstances, but being informed and weighing your options should help you find the best value for the vehicle you want.

Before making a decision to buy or lease, contact your local credit union! Their auto loan specialists can help you determine how much you can afford to spend and which option is best for you.

allU.S. Credit Union can help you decide if leasing or purchasing your next car makes the most sense for you.  If you feel that purchasing is your best bet, visit us and we can pre-approve you for the car you can afford that fits your lifestyle and budget.  Whichever you decide we can make purchasing your next car a fun and stress-free experience!  allU.S. Credit Union, Positively Different!

First Time Car-Buying Tips

Buying your first car is an exciting step – but it can also be overwhelming and stressful and is never filled with as much uncertainty as it is the first time.  If you take the time to do a little research before visiting the dealerships, your first car-buying experience can be a lot less stressful and a lot more fun!  Being a good first-time buyer won’t be easy, but if it’s worth doing – and it is – it’s worth doing well.  We’ve come up with some tips to help with the process.

Establish a realistic budget.  This figure is generally based on what you can afford per month.  Look at your cost of living – mortgage or rent payments, food, insurance, social activities.  Once those are calculated, the remainder could be spent on a car payment, fuel, car insurance and maintenance.

Visit allU.S. credit union to get pre-approved for financing. Before you fall in love with a car you may not be able to afford, stop by allU.S. Our member representatives can get you pre-approved for financing at a great rate that fits your lifestyle and budget. You’ll also know exactly how much you can spend, which will give you added negotiating power at the dealership.

Do your research. Informed shoppers are smart shoppers, so gather some information before you start shopping. Resources like Consumer Reports (, Edmunds ( and Kelley Blue Book ( offer helpful vehicle reviews and pricing information that can help you determine a fair price for the car you want.

Take a test drive.  Nothing is more important in your decision process than how you feel behind the wheel.  Take at least half an hour on your test drive, while trying stop-and-go, freeway merging and freeway speeds.  If the sales person does not have time then take the time to find another dealership.

Bring a wingman or woman to the dealership.  It’s always best to work with a partner.  They can help you decide what car to buy and what to pay. 

Negotiate your price. Price negotiation is probably the most overwhelming part of the car-buying process, but it is important for you to stick to your strategy. If you’ve done your research, you’ll have a good idea whether the dealer’s offer is fair. Keep in mind that the dealer’s first price is rarely their best price, so don’t be afraid to reject the initial offer. If the dealer can’t meet your target price, walk away. Buying a car is a big step and the transaction has to be right for you.

Low Dealer Rates Promo image

Buyer beware. Before signing the final contract, ask the dealer to explain each item. Dealers have been known to include extra charges for items like “fabric protection,” “paint sealant” or “rust proofing” that may not be necessary. If there are charges you’re not comfortable with, don’t be afraid to point them out.

First-time buyers should also be wary of financing deals that sound too good to be true. Offers like “0% dealer financing” may sound good, but as a first-time buyer you may not qualify for these attractive specials.

Most importantly, enjoy the process.  We know the tips referenced above can make buying a car seem daunting, but with low financing rates, and hundred of cars and trucks to choose from, your options are amazing (especially in the first-time buyer category).  So take your time as you move through the process and you’ll be astounded with the outcome.

With a little advanced planning, a solid negotiating strategy and appropriate financing, buying your first car can be a fun and a stress-free experience!

Do you need some help finding the right car?  Check out these links for The Coolest Cars under $18,000Best Back-to-School Cars and the Best SUVs under $25,000.

allU.S. Credit Union can make the car buying experience easier.  Visit us and we can pre-approve you for the car you can afford that fits your lifestyle and budget.  With our help buying your first car can be a fun and stress-free experience!  allU.S. Credit Union, Positively Different!

Is 0% Financing Too Good to Be True?

Because many auto dealers are offering 0% financing, you may be confused and wondering if this rate Is too good to be true? Unfortunately, in many cases the answer is yes.

Before we get into whether 0 percent interest is too good to be true, it’s important to understand what 0 percent financing actually is.  When you get a car loan, as everyone knows you are borrowing money to pay for a car.  The bank or credit union doesn’t give you that money for free.  Instead, you have to pay interest, or a fee that you give the financial institution for lending you the money. 

The phrase, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true,” is definitely something you should keep in mind as you search for a car loan.  Many times the 0% is a “teaser rate” meant to get you in the door and may not apply to you or may not be the best deal for you.

The problem with 0% financing is that not every potential car buyer qualifies for this super-low financing. The too-good-to-be-true rate applies to people with very high credit scores, excellent credit records and little or no debt. That means only about 5% of the population qualifies for the 0% rate.  And, if you do qualify you will most likely have larger payments over a shorter period of time, which may be difficult to fit into your monthly financial plan.  Unless you fall into this category, you may get stuck paying a much higher rate.

You may be surprised to learn that even if you do qualify for 0% financing, it could cost you more in the long run. If the dealer offers you the choice of 0% or a cash rebate, taking the rebate and financing through allU.S. Credit Union could save you money – even if the rate is a little higher. Let’s do the math:

                                                   Dealer Financing                        Credit Union Auto Loan

Vehicle purchase price                    $20,000                                            $20,000

Cash rebate                                           $0                                                 $3,000

Amount financed                               $20,000                                           $17,000

Interest rate                                        0% APR                                      2.49% APR

Term of loan                                      48 months                                    48 months

Monthly payment                               $416.67                                          $372.46

Total Saving/Life of Loan                                                                        $2,122.08

  • allU.S. has the funds and healthy relationships with car dealers to make the loans.
  • You have a better chance of having your loan approved if you have credit problems
  • allU.S. is a non-profit organization and work to provide members with high-quality customer service
  • You start off with a lower loan amount if you take the rebate, saving you money in finance costs.
  • You could get lower monthly payments with allU.S., because low auto loan rates are available for loans with longer terms as well as shorter ones.
  • Our members have a more personable experience at allU.S. so you can openly discuss your concerns about your loan, discuss flexible repayment options and review your financial situation.
  • You may save money on the total cost of the loan, because allU.S. doesn’t charge application fees or prepayment penalties. 

As we pointed out above, you’ll actually save more by taking the dealer’s rebate and financing your vehicle purchase at allU.S. Credit Union. An informed buyer is definitely the best buyer!!! To learn more about vehicle financing or to apply for your low-rate auto loan, visit us online at speak to Robin or Stephanie at the branch.