How Often Can You Defer a Car Payment?

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


, - June 3, 2019

Just how often you can defer your car payment depends on your lender and their deferment policy. Your lender may allow just one deferment or multiple, and base the number yearly or over the term of the loan. Make sure you discuss this with your lender before you complete the financing process, and contact them ahead of time if you feel you’re going to miss a payment.

When Deferring a Car Loan Makes Sense

Ideally, if you can avoid deferring your auto loan, you should. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be the only option if you can’t make your monthly car payment. A deferment is a temporary fix where a lender lets you skip a payment or two and adds them to the end of the loan.

You still have to pay the skipped payments at the end, but if you experienced something unexpected, like medical expenses or job loss, deferring your vehicle payment can help.

Pros and Cons of a Car Loan Deferment

If you’re considering asking your lender to defer your car payment, you should consider the pros and cons associated with a deferment.

The pros include:

  • Avoiding late fees associated with late payments.
  • Possible avoidance of repossession.
  • Giving you time to sell the vehicle if you have equity.
  • Giving you time to refinance the car, if possible.

The cons of deferring a vehicle payment include:

  • Deferring payments is a temporary fix – they don't go away, and you still have to make them eventually.
  • Your lender may still make you pay the monthly interest payment.
  • Interest still grows, meaning you end up paying more in interest charges over the term of the loan.

The Bottom Line

Don’t leave your lender in the dark about your financial situation, especially if you think you’re going to miss a payment. Talk to them before things get out of hand to avoid late fees and the possibility of a repossession. Like you, your lender doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of missed payments and repossession, and may be willing to help you find ways to continue with your loan.

Sometimes, when you can’t make a payment, your lender can’t help. This could mean a delinquency is listed on your credit reports along with a drop in your credit score. If this sounds like your situation, and you rely on a car to get around, all hope isn’t lost.

At CarsDirect, we work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that can help people dealing with bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy get bad credit auto loans. Get connected with a local dealership that has the lending resources you need today. Simply fill out our fast and easy car loan request form to start the process.

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


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