Things to Consider When Comparing Personal Loans

Personal loans are handy in different situations. You can use this type of loan for financing anything from an emergency home repair to your next venture. Thanks to the growing credit market, you also have more options when it comes to the personal loans you can take out.

While there are some fantastic deals on the market right now, comparing financing options and settling for the one that suits you best are still necessary. There are a number of things you need to consider when comparing personal loans.

Start with Your Requirements

Before you look into different financing options and metrics like their APRs, you need to understand your financing need first. The more you know about how you will use the money and the kind of loan you are comfortable with the most, the better you will be when comparing the available options and spotting the best one to use.

For example, you may not need a long-term loan if you only want to fill the gap in your monthly budget until your next pay check. Rather than taking out a loan that extends for a couple of years, you can actually benefit more from using a short-term loan for a couple of weeks.

The same can be said for the amount of loan you need to take out. I know how tempting it is to take out the maximum amount. After all, you can use the extra money for other expenses, can’t you? Well, it is never that simple. Increasing your loan principal amount means increasing your monthly repayment amount as well as the cost of the loan itself, both of which you want to avoid.

Review the Total Payable

The first thing you want to review when you are comparing financing options is the total cost of using the loan. I said “total cost” because you need to know how much you have to pay, in total, for using the loan. The total cost of the loan should include interest rate and other fees you have to absorb while using the loan.

This is usually displayed as the total payable on loan comparison tools. You see the loan principal amount plus the total amount you have to pay for using the loan. Thanks to changes happening on the market, the total payable needs to be transparent to give consumers – that’s us – a clearer view of what to expect from the loan.

Reviewing the total payable allows you to measure the cost of using different financing options without taking the terms of the loan into account. Two loans can cost £200 to use, even when one is a personal loan with a minimum term of 12 months while the other is a 2-week financing.

Check the Representative APR

Now that you have a better view of the total cost of the loans, it is time to look into the Annual Percentage Rate or APR. This is the percentage of interest and charges you have to pay if you decide to use the financing option for a full year.

An APR of 10% means you will spend £1,100 in loan repayments when you take out a £1,000 loan for a full year. Lower APR reflects lower interest rate and charges in general. Once again, you have the competitive market to thank for the extra low APRs we now see from top lenders.

With a fixed term, APR can be extremely big for short-term loans. This is because you only use the loan for one or two weeks rather than a full year. Still, the APR is handy for comparing multiple short-term loans based on their representative APR.

Read the Agreement

The last thing to take into account when comparing loans is the loan agreement itself. You now know the cost of using the loan, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know everything about it. Taking the time to go through the terms and conditions of the loan is absolutely necessary.

If you have questions about the terms, contact the lender directly and get clarifications. The goal here is to make sure that you are safe from less-than-ideal practices, including:

  • Hidden fees
  • Additional charges for repaying the loan early
  • An interest rate bump when you decide to renew the loan
  • The minimum payment amount only covering your interest rate rather than the principal
  • And many more.

The better you understand the terms and conditions included in the loan agreement, the more responsible you can be with the loans you take out. At this point, you can safely apply for the loan and get the financing you need in no time at all.

Comparing loans is easy thanks to web tools available today. Now that you know how to compare the available financing options effectively, you can find the one that suits your financing needs best in no time.

Continue Reading

7 Tips to Help You Save on Your Auto Insurance

Car insurance is one of the largest cost factors of driving your own car. You need sufficient car insurance coverage to be able to drive on the road. Fortunately, the covers you get in return of the insurance premium are valuable. They help protect you from the (financial) risks of driving for the annual premium you pay.

Even better, you can take steps to further reduce your annual car insurance premium. These next several tips and tricks will guide you through the steps you can take to lower your car insurance premium while still maintaining the coverage you need. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Shop Around and Compare

The easiest thing you can do to lower your auto insurance premium is, well, comparing insurance deals. There are more insurance companies offering their policies and deals, which means finding one that suits you perfectly is easier than ever.

You can use aggregation tools and insurance comparison websites to get quotes from multiple insurance companies in one click. Once the quotes are in, you can easily see the best insurance deals to look into further.

Don’t just compare insurance policies based on their premiums. You also need to take into account the coverage types and amount you get, along with added services included in the policies. Some car insurance companies even offer advanced roadside assistance as part of the deal.

Ask for a Detailed Quote

Getting quotes only lets you compare insurance deals quickly, but you don’t have to settle for the deals you get once you narrow down your options. It is actually a good idea to take the time and contact insurance companies directly for better quotes.

While you are at it, mention that you are comparing car insurance and make sure you ask for an additional discount. If you made changes to your car – which we will get to in a bit – you can also explain them to lower your insurance premium further.

Secure Your Car Better

There are things you can do to secure your car better. Most modern cars come with a security system already built into the in-car electrical system, so you don’t need to buy a separate alarm for your car. That said, you can still take steps to secure your car.

Having a secure garage to park your car is a huge plus. This will help lower your insurance premium by a substantial margin. The same can be said for parking in areas with CCTV and proper security systems, especially if you drive your car to work.

Manage Your Mileage

Speaking of driving the car to work, you can also lower your insurance premium by limiting the use of the car itself. Rather than using the car for everything, you can set a lower annual mileage limit to further save on your car insurance premium.

You don’t have to resort to the minimum mileage amount at all; in fact, you shouldn’t. The goal here is to find that sweet spot between convenience – and having the ability to drive your car whenever you need to – and an affordable insurance premium.

Check Your Credit

Reviewing your credit history before buying new insurance policies is something worth doing for two reasons. First of all, your credit score affects your insurance premium in more ways than you realize. Insurance companies use credit history as one of the ways to measure your risk factor.

The reduction applies to all of your insurance policies too, so you know that taking the necessary steps to improve your score is worth it. Not only will you save on the car insurance premium, you can start saving on other insurance policies you use as well.

You even have more options when it comes to improving your credit score in a short amount of time. Consolidating multiple unsecured debts, making payment arrangements to settle the smaller loans and remove them from your history, and sticking with payment deadlines are some of the things you can do right away.

Improve Your Driving

Of course, you cannot lower your car insurance premium effectively without improving your driving. Taking Pass Plus courses or qualifying for a safety driving certificate helps lower your insurance premium by up to 10%.

The same can be said for keeping a clean driving record. Don’t just get the safety driving certificate for the sake of lowering your car insurance premium. Practice safe driving at all times and you can continue to lower your auto insurance premium over time.

That brings us to our last tip, which is….

Use the No-Claim Bonus

The longer you go without filing for an insurance claim, the bigger your no-claim bonus will be. This bonus alone can cut your insurance premium by several hundred pounds; you know it is the bonus worth pursuing in any case.

To complete our list of tips, here is one more thing to keep in mind: always understand the policy thoroughly. Combined with the other tips we discussed in this article, you can easily get the car insurance coverage you need without breaking the bank.

Continue Reading