Dear Driving for Dollars,

My brother has a medical situation where he won't be able to do his job for about six weeks. He has no sick pay and is wondering how he is going to stay current on his bills. Can he get a payment extension on his car loan if he explains his situation?

-Tom

Dear Tom,

Lenders know that sometimes people have temporary situations beyond their control that cause a loss of income and can make staying current on monthly payments on a car loan difficult.

If your brother is in good standing with his creditors, chances are they will be willing to extend the car loan payment or offer some other amenable solution to help him out of his jam. They may even have an existing policy for such situations. Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., the finance arm for the Nissan and Infiniti brands, has a standard 90-day extension policy that carries no fees for qualifying customers.

Tell your brother to contact his lender right away to explain the situation. Tell him not to wait until the payment is due or past due and have him be prepared to offer some documentation of his situation. Chances are he'll be able to get assistance and avoid having his credit adversely affected by being late on his payments.

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