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Vehicle Loans – Motorcycles, Boats, & RVs For When Cars Just Don’t Cut It

Are you kind of “meh” about cars?

Do you love that scene in Top Gun where Tom Cruise rides a motorcycle while cheering on a jet that’s taking off?

If you’re ready to up your vehicle game with something a little more exciting or different, then we should talk financing. You might assume that motorcycles, ATVs and motorhomes—or anything that isn’t a car—falls outside the normal limits of a vehicle loan. Lucky for you, you’d be wrong.

The truth is that certain loans can make your vehicle dreams a reality.

What Exactly Is A Vehicle Loan?

Everyone is familiar with car loans. Even your great aunt Myrtle who doesn’t drive anymore remembers them (although technically she had to walk 100 miles through the snow to get to school every day, and couldn’t afford a car).

The good news is that vehicle loans are like car loans but, you know, for vehicles. That said, here are a few important things you should know…

A vehicle loan is a type of secured loan. This means the value of the loan–and the debt you owe–is backed by the value of the vehicle. If you fail to make payments on the loan, the lender can force repossession and sale of the vehicle to repay the debt. In other words, the vehicle is collateral.

Still with us? Next point…

Any type of vehicle with significant worth will usually qualify for a loan. Important note: the value of the vehicle is determined through an appraisal or an agreed-upon amount by the lender. For example, when you visit a car dealership to purchase a new SUV, the lender must agree that the value of the SUV is enough to secure a loan for the amount you need to purchase it.

Pretty straightforward.

For other types of vehicles, lenders may require an inspection or appraisal before approving your loan. So if you’re eyeing that vintage ice cream truck with the missing engine, your lender probably will want it appraised.

Can I Buy a Spaceship With a Vehicle Loan?

Spaceships, submarines and the War Rig from Max Max: Fury Road—not available for vehicle loans (that we know of). However, there are several other types of vehicles you can purchase such as:

  • A car, truck, or SUV
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Motorcycles, motorbikes, and most types of engine-powered bikes
  • Off-roading vehicles including ATVs
  • Boats of all types
  • Recreational vehicles including motorhomes, pop-up trailers, and pull-behind vehicles

These are just a few examples. If you have your heart set on something not included on this list, you may be in luck. Talk to your lender to find out.

Remember, in order to get approved, the lender will need to determine the value of the vehicle versus the amount you wish to borrow.

No Thank You, Non-Traditional Lenders

Let’s say you visit your favorite RV trade show and find your RV soul mate. You name him Renaldo. You and Renaldo have big plans to hit the road, but first thing’s first: you have to deal with the seller. He offers you a fantastic discount on the vehicle but only if you buy it right now. All you have to do is use in-house financing.

This could be a costly mistake.

It may seem like the fastest and easiest option, but in-house financing from non-traditional lenders often carries the highest interest rate. It’s the same as when you visit a car dealership. They’ll offer you financing, but it may very well be higher than what you can get from a financial institution.

The financial person working with the seller, on the other hand, has two goals. First, he wants to ensure you get financing. Second—commission! The higher the price of the loan, the more commission he makes. He has zero incentive to help you find a low-interest loan, and as a result, you end up paying too much for your purchase.

There is a better option for you and Renaldo…

Maybe Just Go to a Credit Union for Your Vehicle Loan

Sure, we may be biased, but credit unions are great places to go for vehicle loans, if we do say so ourselves. But don’t just take our word for it; check it out for yourself.

Do some research and compare loans among different financial institutions. And remember, if an interest rate is even one percentage point higher than another, it could translate into thousands of dollars more for you.

Why choose a credit union for your loan? There are a few key reasons.

Terms With a Little Leg Room
Credit unions are like yoga for vehicle loans; they help keep the terms flexible. If you have a vehicle that may be harder to obtain a loan on, they can likely work with you to make the purchase.

Competitive Rates
With a credit union, there’s a good chance that any qualifying vehicle will receive a lower rate than what you’ll find at other financial institutions. Fun fact: as co-ops, we share our profits with our members in the form of greater savings.

Neighborly Service
Unlike big banks, relationships go a long way. We’re like your very well-funded neighbors!

So if a credit union knows you, your financial history, and your responsibility level, this can help you secure a loan.

The Journey To Your Next Vehicle Starts Now (cue sweeping cinematic music!)

Need financing on a vehicle? There’s probably a loan for that.

Step one: get pre-approved from your credit union. Step two: find the vehicle of your dreams! Whether it’s a motorcycle, boat or classic truck, you can secure the loan you need as long as you meet the lender’s requirements.

After that, it’s time for you and your personal Renaldo to start your life together.

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