Here’s what I know

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By Toni Surtida

Early in my career in the auto industry, I had an experience so profound that it affected how I conduct my business.

I was working at West Edmonton Chrysler as a sales consultant when I met this gentleman, whom I’ll call Daniel. He was a recent immigrant to Canada and just bought (and financed) a little four-door from one of our sales personnel. He was happy to be getting his first major purchase. I was happy for him as well, congratulated him and offered my services to him, even though he didn’t buy the vehicle from me. A few days later I even called him just to make sure everything was OK. He said everything was fine. I never heard back from him, but about two months later his wife came to see me and told me that Daniel had died suddenly from a heart attack. She was still grieving and had to find out what to do with the car her husband bought. I didn’t know what transpired when Daniel purchased the vehicle, but the business office did, so I turned her over to the business manager. To make a long story short, she had to give the vehicle back and had to struggle for a couple of years until she was able to purchase a vehicle on her own.

Fast forward to September 2008, I had just returned to the auto industry after a four-year absence. I had just taken over the lease maturity office when this lady came to see me. She was in her early sixties and. her son was with her. I could just feel all the emotions building up inside of her when she informed me that her husband – Armand passed away barely a month ago. He had a massive stroke and was instantly taken away from her. They were together for 40 years. She explained that Armand had leased a vehicle from the dealership about a year ago, and now that he’s gone, she wanted to know what would happen to the vehicle. She prayed that she wouldn’t have to give it up because this was the only vehicle they had, and she needed it to get to and from work. I pulled the original lease documents and both she and I sat down with the business manager, who took care of the documents a year ago,) and reviewed the file. To her complete amazement she was informed that she could keep the car to the end of the contract and all her car payments would be taken care of until the end of the lease.

Here’s what I know…. the above stories while similar had different endings. Armand secured his car loan with a Life & Disability Insurance, while Daniel did not. Armand made sure his family was protected so that if something were to ever happen to him, they wouldn’t have to struggle with the car payments. His wife and family were glad he did.

Life and disability insurance is typically offered the car buyer right before signing the bank documents. Quite often this option is declined by the buyer. Unfortunately, catastrophic events do happen in life. If we’re not prepared, then we suffer the consequences.

Next time you buy a vehicle, ask your sales consultant about life and disability insurance.

Question of the week

Question: I leased a 2016 minivan three years ago. My payments are $650 per month. My wife and I are working a lot fewer hours now and we’re having a hard time with the car payments. What can we do to lower the payment?

Answer: There are a couple of things that comes to mind.

Find out what your payoff amount is, then take out a loan to payout that lease. You can apply for the loan at your bank, or have the car dealership do it for you. Find out how much your payments will be for different terms (48 months, 60 months or 72 months), and then decide which payment suits you best.

Trade the vehicle in and enjoy another new vehicle. This is very possible. During these tough economic times rebates, discounts and all kinds of incentives abound. I bet your car dealer can take you out of your old vehicle and into a new (or newer) and keep your payments the same or better. Ask your sales consultant. They’ll be well equipped to answer all your questions.

Questions may be directed to tony.surtida@gmail.com