Five Ways To End Your Car Lease Early

At the time, leasing a car sounded like a great deal: You got to drive home in a brand-new car for far less than you would have paid if you bought it outright. And in two or three years, you get to return it the dealership, buy it, lease a newer model, or just walk away. Great!

Fast-forward a year or so, and your situation has changed. The same, shiny new vehicle you loved at lease signing might not be the right fit anymore. Maybe the small car you leased can’t accommodate your growing family. Maybe your financial situation has changed, and you can no longer afford the monthly payment. Or maybe you have changed jobs, and your new commute threatens to blow your yearly mileage limit.

Whatever the reason, if you need to get out of your lease early, there are options. Unfortunately, none of them are going to let you walk away without penalty. Dealerships and banks make money from leases by predicting what your car will be worth when you turn it in and charging you the difference. Essentially, you are paying for the vehicle’s depreciation in value plus a little extra for as long as you drive it.

If you decide to terminate your lease before the end of the agreed-upon term, your titleholder stands to lose money. They are likely to make an early exit difficult and expensive to discourage lessees from trying to do exactly what you want: get out of the lease early.

That being said, it happens all the time. Here’s how.


This is both the simplest and quite likely the most expensive of your options. Many dealers will allow you to get out of your lease early if you are looking to get into one of their newer or pricier models. But you are likely going to have to pony up all the fees and penalties that were spelled out in your lease contract. According to, those penalties can include:

  • Remaining payments on your lease
  • An early termination fee
  • Costs related to preparing the vehicle for sale
  • Storage and/or transportation of the vehicle
  • Taxes associated with leasing, if any
  • Negative equity between your lease amount and the current value of your car

You may be able to roll penalties into your new monthly lease payment. If not, it’s a hefty premium to pay to switch vehicles.


Lease-swapping involves finding someone else to take possession of your leased vehicle and fulfill the remaining terms of the contract, including monthly payments and any penalties or fees assessed at turn-in. You can find a new lessee on your own or use a lease-swapping website, which may charge you a fee in the $250 to $500 range if you are successful. If you are desperate to get out of your lease, swapping it could cost you a good deal less than termination.

Here’s the catch: Some lessors simply don’t allow it. You will have to take a close look at your original contract to see if it is even an option.

Many lease companies require the original leaseholder to remain on the paperwork in the event of a swap. If that is the case, you essentially become a cosigner for the new lessee. If they default or incur penalties they can’t or won’t pay, the titleholder can still come after you for the funds.


Every lease agreement includes a clause that allows you to purchase the vehicle outright at any point during the term. Look for the “buyout amount” listed on your most recent statement. It’s a close approximation of the total of your remaining payments plus the predetermined residual value of the vehicle.

To decide whether this strategy might work for you, the first thing you will want to do is determine how much your vehicle is actually worth and compare it to the buyout amount. You may be able to resell it and recoup or even exceed the purchase price.

Even if there is a small difference, a buyout may still be worth it — at least you will avoid all those penalties. But if the buyout amount is substantially higher than current market value, then this path will likely cost too much.


If you don’t actually want to get out of your lease entirely, but you do need a break from your monthly obligation, your leasing company might be willing to work with you to find a solution. They may suggest temporarily reducing (or even suspending) your payment amount and making it up on the back end. It’s not ideal, but if it gets you out of a jam and prevents an early termination, it could be the best option for both parties.


Faced with the need to exit a lease, some lessees simply take their vehicles back to the dealership, hand in the keys, and leave. In auto finance lingo, this is known as a “voluntary repossession.” This option should be your last resort. It will have a profound impact on your credit score, just like any other repossession.

You may also be tempted to simply stop making your payments and allow the titleholder to attempt to repossess the vehicle. This is no more advisable than a voluntary repossession. The combination of missed payments and the repo will stain your credit report for at least the next seven years. These derogatory entries will severely hinder your ability to open new credit cards, get approved for a mortgage or, in some cases, land a new job or apartment.

For more advice on getting out of your lease the right way, talk to the experts at Innovative Funding Services (IFS). We specialize in car lease buyouts, and we may be able to help you buy out your lease early. If you are ready to buy out your car lease, apply now. We offer up to 100% financing for those with credit scores of 525 to 850.

Should You Buy a New or Used Car? Which is Better?

In the car buying world, it seems a lot can go wrong, and it does. That is unless you take certain steps that, if followed, will result in a great experience. Most people begin the process of buying a car with a sense of fear if not outright dread. It’s hard to feel good about something that you do only once every 3-5 years. The sense of fear is very real and appropriate when you take into consideration your choices. You either have to go to a dealer, who is in the business of taking your money (in very slick ways) or buying from a private party, which can lead to some unsavory experiences, to say the least.

Should I Buy New or Used?
When choosing between a new or used car it pays to consider everything that is involved. The most cited reason for buying a new car is that there is very little risk. True, the new car will have a full factory warranty that you will have for a number of years and there is something to be said about the peace of mind that a warranty brings. However, that peace of mind that you are getting in a new car will cost you a lot of money in the form of heavy depreciation in the first years of ownership. In fact, as soon as you drive off the lot your “new” car will become a used car and it will lose 10% from the total you paid for it. And that is just after you drive off the lot!

Each year thereafter it will continue to lose, especially in the first 3 years. Assuming you put on 15,000 miles a year, your car will have depreciated nearly 20% after the first full year of ownership, or 1/5 of its value. Presuming you bought a car for $23,000 and then after taxes and registration you paid $25,000, your now “used” car will be worth a mere $20,000. You just lost $5000 in one year of ownership! Of course, not all cars depreciate at the same rate. The example cited above is for a relatively low budget purchase. The more expensive the purchase, the bigger the loss.

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There are of course other factors such as better financing on new cars versus used, but registration will be more for a new car as well as slightly higher insurance premiums, so the savings gained on better financing for a new car is basically neutralized.

Buying a Used Car with Confidence

In short, buying used is almost always the better value proposition. Cars are built so well these days that a 2-3-year-old car is still looking, driving and behaving as though it is new. But what about the warranty that is set to expire? Isn’t that the problem you ask? Well, that problem is easily overcome with buying a “Certified Pre-Owned” from a dealer. A certified car will often have a high-quality factory warranty attached with it. Whether you are buying from a private party or a dealer you will want to use the video and text tutorials that I call the “10 Easy Steps”. This is where I combine my 37 years of car buying experience in easy to follow steps so you can buy like a pro!

Is Auto Loan Refinancing Right for You?

Refinancing your auto loan means replacing your existing loan with a new one from a different lender. Your current loan gets paid off by the new lender and you start making monthly payments, hopefully, smaller ones, on the new loan.

If you think your credit has improved since you bought your car, you should look into auto loan refinancing. There’s a good chance you can lower your interest rate and end up with a smaller monthly payment. You might also be able to shave some time off the loan, or go the other way and extend the term of the loan if you’re having trouble making your monthly payment.

What’s the catch? There isn’t much of one: It takes some time, and your credit profile might take a slight hit when you apply for the new loan. However, know two important things:

  1. Most auto loans don’t have a prepayment penalty so refinancing won’t cost you anything.
  2. Submitting an application for refinancing has no application fees, and the funds become available quickly, often within a day.

Why you might want to refinance

The prospect of paying less interest or lowering your monthly payments are the main reasons to consider refinancing. Let’s say your current auto loan has a 10% interest rate, and you’ve been making payments for a year or so. Chances are, your credit has improved and you could now qualify for a lower interest rate, which could lower your monthly payments. If you simply went to your current lender and asked it to lower your rate, it would probably say no. After all, you signed a contract at a certain interest rate and the lender wants its money.

Lucky for you, in today’s competitive market, plenty of other lenders are eager to get your business. When you refinance, you simply go to another bank, credit union or online lender and show it how much you still owe, called the balance of the loan. It pays off your existing balance and creates a new loan; and you start sending your monthly payments to the new lender.

If you meet the requirements, refinancing your car loan for a smaller payment could allow you to put more into savings, investing or a home improvement project. Or you may be able to pay off your car sooner. All of these options are better than pouring your money down the drain by paying more interest than you need to on a car loan.

When refinancing your car loan makes sense

Refinancing your auto loan could be the right move for reasons other than your improved credit. Even if you’re satisfied with your current loan, it doesn’t hurt to see if you can save money on interest. It makes sense if:

Interest rates have dropped. Interest rates fall for a variety of reasons: a changing economic climate, increased competition in the banking industry, even regulatory changes. If interest rates are lower now than when you first got your car loan, refinancing is likely to lower your rate and could help you pay the loan off sooner. Or, it could save you money on interest. It only takes a few minutes to apply for refinancing and see if a new lender — a bank, credit union or online lender — will offer you a lower interest rate.

A car dealer marked up your interest rate. When you got your existing loan, the car dealer might have charged you a higher interest rate than you could have qualified for somewhere else. This often happens to shoppers who don’t check their credit score before buying a car. They are persuaded to take the dealership’s loan because they didn’t shop around for the best interest rates. But you can undo the damage by refinancing and getting a new loan at a lower interest rate.

You can’t keep up with payments. Maybe you got overexcited at the dealership and bought a car that’s really too expensive for you. You might be struggling to keep up with payments. Or maybe you’re facing unexpected financial challenges because of a job change or other circumstances. By refinancing your car loan, you can take more time to pay it off, and this will lower your payments. You should think carefully before taking this course of action: If you extend the loan term, you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. That’s not optimal — but it’s better than damaging your credit by missing payments.

What is Full Coverage? Understanding your Car and Auto Insurance Policy


Do you know what the term "full Coverage" actually means when it comes to your Car or Auto Insurance policy? 
The truth is that "full Coverage" is a very loose term that does not have an exact definition. Insurance companies do not offer a full Coverage option for you to pick. The term full coverage is generally associated with comprehensive coverage and collision coverage but can be interpreted many ways.

State Minimum Requirements

Every state in the U.S. has the ability to set its own state minimum requirements for auto insurance. In the State of Florida, The state minimum requirements include 10,000 per person and 20,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and 10,000 in Personal Injury Protection.

Physical damage for all the things that can happen to your vehicle other than a collision is covered by comprehensive coverage. Full coverage cannot be possible without comprehensive coverage.

The collision is the coverage that gives you the broadest coverage and is always included in full coverage auto insurance. Collision coverage ensures your vehicle will be covered regardless of what causes the damage. Collision covers damage for all accidents and since collision cannot be purchased without comprehensive coverage anything other than an accident will still be covered.

Additional Coverage that is not necessarily included with Full Coverage 
Car Rental Coverage
Uninsured Motorist

To be sure you are fully protected from every scenario it is a good idea to talk with your agent and ask him to explain what your policy covers and what optional coverages are available.

Auto Show Features Hot New Cars

Looking at two, very opposite, popular market trends, the next few years’ car models seem to be offering either alternative fuel technology or massive horsepower.

This article, from Auto Reviews Online, looks at the North America International Auto Show this year and offers some fascinating highlights from the models showcased:

Mitsubishi showed production models of the Raider and Eclipse Concept cars of last year. The Raider was an "imported brand’s" variation of the Dodge Dakota pick up truck, on which it is based. The styling is more Asian influenced on the exterior and the interior is more car-like than the rugged truck like interior of the Dakota. Factor in the incredible warranty advantage Mitsubishi has on the Dakota, the Raider is sure to attract attention in the showrooms later this year. The Raider will be offered with V6 and V8 power plants. The Eclipse was shown as a gas/electric hybrid at last years show, however it has been introduced as a gas powered model offered with 2 engine choices, the 162HP 2.4L 4 cylinder and 3.8L 260HP V6 motors. The styling is quite bold and should appeal to younger buyers who identify with its street rod persona.

For heavy car buffs, this is a must read. It will be interesting to see whether the market goes the way of the environmentalist or the heavy-duty horsepower route.

10 Tips to Avoid Car Theft


According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, 1.09 million motor vehicles were reported stolen. While auto theft has decreased, it still means that every 28.8 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States.

These statistics are especially important to keep in mind because of car theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute, peaks in July and August.

One of the biggest misconceptions about auto theft is where they occur. Did you know more than 33% of all vehicle thefts occur near the car owner’s residence and around 20% of thefts occur in parking lots? Do these numbers have you worried?

Well, you should be vigilant in securing your car and luckily there are many preventive measures you can take to keep your car safe.

Here are 10 things you can do to help protect your car from theft:

  1. Don’t leave your car unlocked
  2. Never leave your car running, especially while it is unattended or unlocked
  3. Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle
    Many people keep a spare key under the car, just in case they get locked out and thieves know exactly where to check for an extra key. While getting locked out of your car is a pain, think about the potential hassle of your car getting stolen.
  4. Never leave your windows open
    Even during the summer when it is scorching hot, don’t leave your windows open or slightly cracked when you are not in the vehicle.
  5. Park in well-lit, public areas
    Avoid parking in areas that are poorly lit or places that are not immediately seen by the public. This will not only keep you safe when you exit the car, it will also help keep your car safe because thieves tend to avoid areas that are highly visible.
  6. Install an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device
    Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices because they attract attention when they go off. These devices are well worth the investment.
  7. Install a vehicle immobilizer system
    Thieves can bypass your ignition by “hotwiring” your car. You can prevent this by using a vehicle mobilizer system such as fuel cut-offs and smart keys
  8. Consider installing a GPS tracking system
    When your car is stolen, this tracking system will emit a signal to the police of your vehicle’s location. This may help the police recover your vehicle faster and may minimize the damage to your car. This may be a good investment if you live in an area with high auto theft rates.
  9. Don’t leave valuable personal property in your car
    The best way to attract a thief is to leave your purse or another high-value item in a highly visible area of your car. If you must put something of value in your car, keep it in the trunk or under the seats, where it is not visible to others.
  10. Use Common Sense
    If you are wary of the safety of your car or see someone loitering around the parking lot, it’s best to park somewhere else. It’s better to walk a few extra steps than to have your car stolen because you ignored your instincts.

Auto Warranty Scam Warning

It has been reported that a variety of companies and marketing firms have been making unsolicited calls to offer customers an automotive extended warranty. When a customer is told that the warranty is about to expire, if they are not educated to the warranty business or their vehicles coverage may sometimes believe anything a telemarketing agent says. Unfortunately in almost every case they are creating this information out of thin air with hope that they can scare or pressure a customer into purchasing warranty coverage for their vehicle. This is obviously a dishonest practice but is borderline illegal as well.

It is also been reported that a variety of third-party companies have been sending a postcard a flyer in the mail with the same general information hoping to coax a customer into calling them so they can attempt to sell them warranty coverage. This process is a high-pressure process, usually involving several levels of sales professionals to try and close the deal.

What these companies never tell you is that in many cases, your car may still be covered by an existing warranty as they have no knowledge of the vehicle’s actual existing warranty status.

Also, there are many levels of warranty coverage that are available that are generally not explained in clear detail to a customer. They simply sign you up, collect your money, and then send you documentation later where you find out there are many loopholes that would allow a claim to be denied. This is assuming the company even has a claims department and any legitimacy at all.

In most cases, you may have simply given money for a product that either doesn’t exist or is not an actual insurance company product.

If the company does have any legitimacy, not having an underwriter simply means that in the event that they have any type of claims activity at all, they can easily be wiped out as they very rarely leave much money in a claims fund to protect the consumer.

The bottom line is a customer’s best option is to reach out to a legitimate warranty provider that is directly underwritten by a US-based, “A” rated carrier. The other option of course is to visit a local dealership and find out what they are offering. The downside to this is that dealerships are generally 50-100% more expensive the same level of coverage you can get in the automotive warranty aftermarket.

The bottom line is you will almost never hear a radio ad or receive a notice by mail from any legitimate warranty company so buyer beware!

If you are looking for warranty coverage a great place to start would be where you can get wholesale pricing for the industry’s highest level of coverage.

The Credit Benefits Of Auto Loan Refinancing

Refinancing Your Auto Loan May Impact Your Credit Score.

Auto loan refinancing can have many benefits for your short and long-term financial outlook. But if you keep a close eye on your credit profile, you might be wondering how refinancing is going to affect your credit score.

The truth is, refinancing any loan will invariably have minor, short-term impacts on your credit. They can vary based on your situation. For someone with a long, well-established credit history, these impacts will be minor; however, for someone with little to no credit history, these factors will make a much bigger impact.

Still, in the long run, auto refinancing will generally help your credit as it simultaneously closes out a loan and adds a loan approval to your credit report.

Let’s take a look at three ways an auto loan refinance can affect your credit profile:


The first way refinancing can impact your score is the hard credit inquiries that will appear on your credit report. When a lender checks your credit report to evaluate how risky it would be to lend you money, that shows up as what is called a “hard” inquiry. Typically, these will impact your score by a small amount, typically by five to 10 points. And while they will stay on your credit report for several years, their impact on your actual score will dissipate after several months.

A number of hard inquiries from various types of lenders could be a red flag for prospective lenders. Groups of hard inquiries suggest you were desperate to open new credit, at some point, for some reason. Having too many hard inquiries in too short a period of time could hurt your ability to get good interest rates, or even get approved for a loan at all.

That being said, those same lenders usually understand that when you’re shopping for financing for a big-ticket item such as a home or auto loan, you are likely to get quotes from several sources to get the best rate. Most credit score models will group all hard inquiries made within a 14-day period together as a single unit. While they will be listed individually on your report, they will only affect your score once. For that reason alone, it is important to ask for quotes only after you have finished your research and you are ready to refinance.


Another way an auto loan refinance impacts your credit is by altering your repayment history. As you make regular payments on time, your score improves. This demonstrates that you are a reliable person who takes credit obligations seriously.

When you refinance, you are wiping that payment history clean and starting from scratch with a new loan. Because some models will take older loan payment histories into account, but others don’t, your best bet is to just anticipate that this will impact your credit score and plan accordingly.


Your credit utilization is the total amount you owe your creditors compared to your total available credit. Generally speaking, if your credit utilization is below 30%, you’re in good shape. Any more than that and your score will take a hit.

When you refinance a loan, depending on the new terms, you are changing your credit utilization. If you take out a loan for more than the original — to get cash out, for example — then you are increasing your utilization rate. If you take out a loan for less, you might be lowering your overall total utilization rate. While this shouldn’t be the primary deciding factor when it comes to refinancing, it can have an impact on your score.

You might see a short-term dip in your credit score after refinancing your auto loan, but the effect is typically negligible, and the potential benefits — including a lower payment amount and a lower interest rate — may far outweigh any negatives.

Charged up on hybrids? Here are answers to five questions you are likely to have

While hybrid electric vehicle sales make up a small percentage of total vehicle sales in Canada, big incentives and increased competition within this segment have increased sales over the past several years. There are a number of financial and environmental reasons to consider making your next vehicle purchase a hybrid one. To assist you in making this decision we’ve compiled some essential questions you might want to be answered before buying a hybrid.

  1. How does a Hybrid Vehicle Work?

A Hybrid electric vehicle (or HEV) combines the benefits of a conventional internal combustion engine with those of an electric motor. Hybrid vehicles have onboard computers that constantly calculate when to make use of the electric motor, the gas motor, or a combination of the two to achieve maximal fuel efficiency. Most HEVs use the electric motor at low speeds and revert to the gasoline engine at speeds above 30 km/h, or when the electric battery runs low. The gasoline engine is also used in combination with the braking action of the vehicle to recharge the hybrid’s batteries as you drive.

  1. What about Plug-in Hybrids?

A plug-in hybrid differs from a traditional HEV in that it makes exclusive use of the electric motor in normal driving scenarios and makes use of the gasoline engine only to extend vehicle range by recharging the battery when it runs low. As the name suggests, the electric battery is also recharged by connecting it to an external power supply. Plug-in hybrids can achieve even better fuel economy than traditional hybrids, especially in city driving scenarios where the electric motor is the sole power supply. Statistics show that plug-in hybrid vehicles use between 40 to 60 percent less fuel than a conventional gasoline vehicle of the same type.

  1. Why do Hybrids cost more?

In a word: batteries. The material cost of state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries and engineering costs associated to developing hybrid systems significantly increase the cost of producing a hybrid vehicle. These costs are passed on to the consumer and result in a price up to 20% higher than a comparable gasoline model. The good news, however, is that these extra costs are steadily decreasing, and most experts believe that the price of a hybrid or electric vehicle will match that of a gasoline model within the next 10 years. Some manufacturers even offer cash incentives on their hybrid models.

  1. Will buy a Hybrid car pay for itself in savings?

The financial payoff of owning a hybrid will depend on largely the vehicle, your driving habits, and the price of fuel. The savings achieved by driving a fuel efficient hybrid will increase as the price of gas increases. Additionally, driving a hybrid will yield better efficiency for city drivers, where the electric motor is used most frequently. This benefit is even more apparent with a plug-in hybrid, as a city driver may often use no gas at all. We recommended that you research the environmental policies of your local, provincial and national government, as there are often cash and tax incentives available to hybrid vehicle owners.

The difference between an Automobile Warranty and an Extended Auto Warranty / Extended Service Program

When you buy a vehicle you will be provided various options to buy along-side of it and one such choice is that of extended automobile warranty. Sometimes referred to as a service contract, or extended service program, an extended automobile warranty is designed to offset repair expenses following the purchase of a new or used automobile. In essence, an extended warranty is a safeguard against costly, unforeseen repairs. Not to be confused with manufacturer’s warranties, an extended warranty kicks in subsequent to the expiration of the manufacturer’s bumper to bumper warranty. An extended auto warranty is typically sold as a separate contract, and – unlike a manufacturer’s auto warranty – is not included in the purchase price.

You need to be aware of the benefits of this extended service program which coincide with this option even as you consider whether to obtain this kind of warranty for your car and this will assist you to find out whether an extended auto warranty is the suitable choice for you. There are a couple of benefits of having this kind of warranty. First, it provides the car owner of with peace of mind in recognizing that a number of aspects are covered. Because each warranty type will differ with regards to what’s covered under it, it’s imperative to peruse the extended service program document in order to see the coverage points included. By choosing an extended auto warranty you will understand that certain areas are covered on your vehicle in case something happens, which will result in the vehicle requiring to be fixed.

Extended auto warranties will also ascertain that your financial investment gets protected. Because many people live on a restricted budget, it is usually a good idea to put forth the finances whenever you have them in order that you won’t be caught short in the future should anything go wrong with the automobile and you’ll have to get it fixed. Besides, the cost of an extended automobile warranty is oftentimes much more reasonable as compared to what you would be needed to pay should one necessitate to have their car fixed in the future. As a result, by you spending a smaller sum of money in the beginning you might save quite a couple of dollars eventually should replacement parts or repairs be necessary for your automobile.

In the strictest sense of the word, this is not a warranty at all. Like auto warranties, this plan covers repairs for an agreed upon period of time. True warranties, however, are included in the cost of the car; extended auto warranties are actually service contracts, or extended service program because they cost extra and are sold separately. An extended automobile warranty may be bought at the time you purchase your vehicle; it is also possible to buy one much further along in your car ownership experience. If you are the type who prefers to be prepared for all eventualities, an extended warranty may be just what you are looking for. Considering the ever-increasing cost of car repairs, these service contracts do make a lot of sense. If you are interested in buying an extended automobile warranty, you need to know that the car service contracts industry is slowly moving away from the phrase “warranty” since it is confusing to consumers. Try looking for “Extended Service Programs” instead.