Need more coronavirus financial aid? Why you may want to ask your auto lender

Many Americans did not know they could turn to their auto insurer for help

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As Americans search for financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, many appear to have overlooked one area: auto loans.

According to a new report from LendingTree subsidiary ValuePenguin, only 31 percent of people have asked their auto insurance company for financial assistance, despite the fact that auto lenders are one of the classes of servicers most willing to work with you on a financial solution.

Among those who have asked, 80 percent were able to secure some relief, including everything from discounts to payment extensions.

Individuals reported having the highest levels of success requesting a waived late fee.

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While the low percentage of requests may seem to indicate that Americans did not need the relief – nearly 40 percent of people said they were not aware they could turn to an auto insurer for help.

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Auto insurers have taken it upon themselves to offer benefits to financially-distressed Americans, including returning the savings from fewer than expected auto insurance claims that have resulted as lockdown measures have kept many drivers at home.

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Many Americans have lost their job – or had hours reduced – as a result of the pandemic. Since mid-March, 33 million Americans have filed jobless claims, while the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7 percent in April, as the U.S. shed an unprecedented 20.5 million jobs.

Homeowners have been quicker to take advantage of mortgage relief options, with about 4 million people putting their payments temporarily on pause. Mortgage payments are often one of the biggest, regular expenses for households.

As previously reported by FOX Business, if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to meet your monthly payments, you should contact your creditors immediately.

“The best advice is really to get in touch with your lenders and other creditors and advise them of your situation,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told FOX Business. “There are a lot of options on the table if you’re proactive and reach out. Not so much if you fall behind and they have to track you down in two months.”

The telephone number and mailing address of your mortgage servicer should be listed on your monthly mortgage statement.

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