02 Dec Veteran Auto Loan Assistance: Can Veterans Get Help?
Veterans Affairs provides financial assistance for home loans to veterans, but not for auto loans. However, there may be instances in which the VA can assist with a vehicle purchase. You might be eligible for an auto benefit if you were disabled while on active duty that affected your ability to drive.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Were You Disabled in the Line of Duty?
The VA provides grants for veterans and service members with disabilities who wish to buy new or used vehicles. These grants are commonly known as the automobile allowance & adaptive equipment allowance. For a disability to qualify, it has to be caused by an injury or disease acquired during active military service or aggravated due to such service. The maximum amount awarded to veterans with qualifying injuries is up to $21,488 in a one-time payment.
You can use the money to purchase a vehicle that is adapted to your needs if you qualify. If you must drive a car with power steering or specialized brakes due to your active-duty injury, you may consider applying for the benefit.
For veterans or service members to qualify for the automobile grant, they must also have one of the following disabilities:
- One or both feet are permanently impaired or lose their use as a result of injury
- Permanently unable to use one or both hands
- To some extent, both eyes have permanent vision impairment
- An injury involving severe burns
- Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
What Loans Are Available to Veterans?
Currently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a variety of programs that can help veterans. However, it, unfortunately, does not have a program that guarantees auto loans for veterans.
Don’t worry, though. Veterans still have other options. The VA and many private companies can assist with vehicle purchases.
Auto Loans for Military Personnel
A military car loan is a loan specifically for active military personnel. These have low rates and perks like no prepayment penalties and 100% financing compared to other car loans. You can get a car loan through military loan programs if you meet the requirements because they offer many benefits as a way of saying thank you for your service.
If you are in the military, you will need proof of your active service status so that you can receive a military car loan. As long as you are currently active, you do not have to have served for a specific period of time. If you are an inactive veteran, you may be eligible for a veteran military loan, which carries even more benefits than a regular military loan.
Car Loans for Military Personnel With Bad Credit
Even if you have bad credit, the military typically offers a stable monthly income. For this reason, a military member’s application is usually approved more quickly than a civilian’s. You can apply for a loan after supplying proof of service, a social security number, and a permanent address to the lender.
Several loan options may be available to assist you in finding a loan for either a new or used vehicle. Finance terms are usually better, and consider the fact that you may be stationed overseas and haven’t had a chance to build good credit.
Car Loan for Veterans
A veteran looking to purchase a car may consider getting a car loan from a lender specializing in serving veterans and their families. Currently, there is no veteran auto loan available. However, some car manufacturers provide discounts and rebates for military personnel that may help reduce the price of your next car.
Secured VS. Unsecured Car Loans
If you are considering a secured loan, it is typically a better option than an unsecured loan because it has more detailed eligibility requirements, lower interest rates, and allows you to borrow more money. One drawback is that a lender can repossess your property if you do not pay it on time.
An asset that has value, such as a house or a car, serves as collateral. If you cannot repay a loan as agreed, a lender can take possession of your collateral. Loans secured by collateral are called secured loans. A car loan and a mortgage loan are typical examples of secured loans.
With an unsecured loan, there is no collateral required. The lender cannot automatically seize your property to repay the loan if you default on the loan. Examples of this type of loan include credit cards, student loans, and small unsecured personal loans. Many of these loans do not require collateral. An unsecured loan typically requires a stable income and a good credit history.
When you are short on funds, a personal loan may sound appealing. This type of loan does not require collateral, and you can use the money for pretty much anything you desire. The credit score doesn’t matter, and you could even qualify for this type of loan. As with all loans, personal loans, too, have their advantages and disadvantages.
Personal loans are unsecured loans. Unsecured loans usually have higher interest rates than secured loans. If you fail to repay them on time, it could ruin your ability to borrow more money in the future.
A car is a costly investment. Paying for a vehicle with a credit card can seem appealing since you can earn reward points and receive discounts with some cards.
With a very high credit limit, it is possible to finance a used car. Because of the high-interest rates associated with credit cards, it is not recommended to buy a car with a credit card.
Most dealers accept credit cards, but they cap the amount you can pay with your card. A minimal number of dealers will accept credit cards for the entire amount. Using a credit card affiliated with the car manufacturer will increase your chances of finding this, such as when buying a Lexus car with a Lexus credit card.
Veteran Car Loan Help From Banks and Credit Unions
Veterans and military members can get special banking offers from banks and credit unions such as Navy Federal, PenFed, USAA, etc. Auto loans from credit unions are available to former military members, which can help make it more affordable for you to purchase a new car.
Here are some options to get auto loans:
PenFed Credit Union
Pentagon Federal, more commonly known as PenFed, is a company that caters to military personnel and civilians who belong to specific associations.
Even though you will have to make an initial deposit of $5 into a savings account to be eligible, PenFed could give you access to attractive loan conditions through its car-buying service.
Navy Federal Credit Union
If you’re an Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or Air National Guard member — or a retired service member or veteran — you may want to consider Navy Federal Credit Union. NFCU membership is also available to certain civilians, including some government employees.
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
Former military service members may qualify for membership with USAA. This nearly century-old military credit union offers competitive interest rates on new and used cars to its members.
Veteran Car Loan Help From Carmakers
Several auto manufacturers have specialized auto loan benefits and military discounts programs geared towards military veterans—carmakers like Acura, BMW, Ford, etc. Provide car loans to finance their new or old cars so that buyer Veterans can afford to buy the vehicle they want.
Acura – Acura Military Appreciation Program
A program offered by Acura Motorcars called “Acura Military Appreciation Program” provides veterans with savings of $750 when financing or leasing any MDX, ILX, or TLX model from 2020 to 2021 (excluding the NSX and PMC models).
- Active Duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardians, and national guard members of the US military and their spouses
- Reserves and retirees of the US military, as well as their spouses
- One year after separation from active duty, US Military Veterans and their spouses.
BMW – The BMW Military Incentive
As part of the BMW Military Incentive program, special offers are available to service members stationed in the United States and worldwide. Suppose you are a member of the armed forces or a family member of a member of the armed forces. In that case, you may qualify for some discounts on new BMW leases or purchases.
Members of the United States Service Academy, active-duty military personnel, retired military personnel, reserve, veteran military personnel, and their immediate families are eligible to participate in the BMW Military Incentive. To verify your eligibility, use the ID.me verification tool online.
There are many BMW models available, including electric, plug-in hybrid, and Sports Activity Vehicles®. For more information, you can contact your nearby BMW Center.
Ford: Military Discount Program
The Ford Motor Company offers veterans a $500 cash bonus on eligible new Ford vehicle purchases and leases. This deal, however, is only valid for 24 months from the date you complete your service.
General Motors – Military Discount Program
With the purchase or lease of eligible vehicles from General Motors, you can save thousands of dollars off manufacturer-suggested retail prices, which is a discount below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. To get an authorization number, you will need to create an account to confirm your eligibility.
Harley Davidson – Financing for Active Military
Harley Davidson offers financing through Eaglemark Savings Bank for Active Duty military personnel on new & used Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. During the first 90 days, there is no down payment, no interest, and no payments for the first 120 days. Offer only available at authorized Harley-Davidson® dealers.
Suppose the 2021 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim® motorcycle costs $15,999, requires no down payment, and is financed at $15,999, with a 60-month repayment term and a 5.39% APR; the monthly payment is $304.79.
Honda: Military Appreciation Offer
You can get $500 toward purchasing a newer Honda vehicle if you qualify for Honda’s Military Appreciation Offer. Additionally, the offer can be combined with other Honda special promotions (except for the Zero Due at Lease program) currently available at the dealership.
Eligibility: To qualify for the offer, you must finance or lease a new Honda through Honda Financial Services. Once you have applied for a new car loan or lease, Honda will deposit $500 towards your down payment.
Hyundai: Military Discount Program
Currently, Hyundai offers a $500 bonus toward purchasing a new Hyundai vehicle for Active Duty, Reservists/National guards, Veterans, and Retired U.S. Military personnel. You may take advantage of this offer from April 1, 2021, through January 4, 2022, as mentioned on the official site of Hyundai.
Eligibility: Customers who served in the U.S. military in active duty, retired, or both are defined as those who served or are still serving in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard, or Reserves.
Nissan – Military Discount Program
Nissan Military Program allows you to save between $500 and $1000. It can be combined with most other national and regional incentives to make your purchase even more attractive.
Eligibility: You must be an active, reserve, retired (must have completed 20 years of Active or Reserve duty), or veteran (must be within 24 months of separation from Active or Reserve duty).
Toyota – Military Incentive
Toyota Motor offers a $500 rebate for military personnel who purchase a Toyota vehicle between October 5, 2021, and January 3, 2022, applied to finance or lease contracts.
Eligibility: To be eligible for a rebate, you must currently serve in the U.S. Military (Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, Coast Guard, active Reserve).
You must be an inactive member of the U.S. military (i.e., ready reserve), a member of the Selected Reserve, Active National Guard, a retiree of the U.S. military, or a veteran within two years after discharge.
Car Parts and Accessories
Many auto parts shops offer discounts to active military personnel and veterans, including Advanced Auto Parts, Pep Boys, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Simple Tire, etc.
The following is detailed information about them:
Advanced Auto Parts
Active Duty, Reserve, Veterans, and Retired personnel, as well as their spouses and children, receive a 10% discount on in-store purchases at Advanced Auto Parts. A nationwide chain of auto parts, Advance Auto Parts, offers parts and accessories for all makes and models. The store provides oil and battery recycling and a few in-store services, such as battery installation, engine light scanning, and starting system testing.
Pep Boys is an auto parts retailer that operates nationwide. Their stores offer numerous free services, including windshield wiper installation, tire rotation, battery installation, brake inspection, and an alignment check. There is also an oil change and some basic repairs available for a fee. All Active Duty and Retired personnel can take advantage of Pep Boys’ 10% discount every day of the week on in-store purchases.
The Simple Tire company offers a discount of 5% on their tires to active military, retired military, and veterans who have served in the armed forces.
O’Reilly Auto Part
A 10% discount off retail price is available at most O’Reilly Auto Parts stores. It is important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, including motor oil, antifreeze, and special orders. Active duty and reserve military members, retired service members, veterans, and members of the National Guard are all eligible for the discount.
Get Help for Your Veteran Car Loan
Veterans with special needs who wish to buy or maintain a vehicle have options. Veterans can seek VA assistance, compare military-specific pricing from auto manufacturers, and get financing from credit unions that cater to military personnel.
When lenders determine if you qualify for financing, one of the factors they consider is your credit. Your credit health may need to be improved if you have trouble finding a loan option.