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Refinance 101

I’ve heard of refinancing a mortgage. Can I really do the same thing for my car?

Most people are familiar with refinancing a mortgage, but you can also refinance auto loans! When you refinance an auto loan through Caribou, you could save hundreds - even thousands - of dollars in interest.*

Why should I refinance my vehicle?

Many people refinance because they can get better terms than when they first purchased their vehicle. This saves people money over the lifetime of their loan, either with a lower monthly payment, interest savings, or both! When you refinance, you also have an opportunity to adjust the term of your loan.

What factors go into qualifying for a refinance?

When you apply for a refinance, we’ll need a few pieces of information about you and your vehicle. This information helps us find the terms that you qualify for and helps us pair you with one of our trusted lending partners.

What kind of vehicles can I refinance through Caribou?

We currently work with all passenger vehicles including cars, trucks and SUVs. At this time, we are unable to offer refinancing for motorcycles and any commercial vehicles.

Can I refinance my lease through Caribou?

No, we do not currently offer auto lease buyouts.

How can I learn more about auto refinancing?

To learn more about refinancing your car and how it works, visit our understanding auto refinancing page.

What is APR?

The annual percentage rate (APR) is the total yearly cost of borrowing money. Learn about how APR is calculated in our auto refinance term glossary.

I’m interested in checking my rates. What’s involved?

To check your rates through Caribou, you’ll fill out a short application that provides us with general information about you, your current auto loan, and your vehicle. Then our technology gets to work, searching for competitive refi loan options for you in minutes. If you qualify, you’ll see offers from our lenders with no obligation, no impact to your credit score,+ and no SSN required.++ Learn about the application steps.

Will checking my rate impact my credit score?

No. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, we conduct a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a loan product and continue your application, we or one of our lending partners will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

What information do you need about my vehicle?

When checking your rate, we’ll need either your VIN, license plate number or make/model/trim of your vehicle. This is because we’ll use the value of your vehicle to find you the refi loan options available to you.

Where can I find my VIN number?

You can find your VIN where the dash and windshield meet on the driver’s side of your vehicle and on the end of the driver’s side door. You can also find your VIN on your vehicle’s registration paperwork and insurance card.

Can I refi with a co-borrower?

Yes. With Caribou, you can add a co-borrower to your new loan, as long as you’re a resident of a state allowing the addition of a co-borrower.

Do you need my social security number?

You can view your refi offers without submitting a Social Security Number (SSN). However, in order to complete your application and lock in your savings, you will need to provide your SSN as part of your loan application. Your privacy is important to us, and we use the latest security methods to ensure that your personal information stays safe.

Will I need to confirm my income?

To provide you with competitive offers, our lending partners may require that we confirm your income via documents you submit (e.g., a pay stub or W-2). To be approved, the income stated on your loan application must match what is reported in your submitted documents.

Are there any fees involved with my refi?

Caribou provides services to the lender to help close your loan, such as processing documents and retitling your vehicle. Caribou charges the lender a $399 processing fee solely to cover the costs of these services. Your lender may include the $399 processing fee or other fees in your refinanced loan amount and in the APR that your lender will disclose to you.

I picked my refinance loan option. What’s next?

Once you’ve selected the loan option that works best for you, you’ll lock in your rate by creating an account and uploading a few documents using our secure online platform.

How do I upload my documents?

When it’s time to upload your documents, there’s a few different ways you can send them. You can upload via the online platform or send your documents using email or text messaging. Read more about how to send us your documents.

Does Caribou offer products that can preserve the value of my vehicle?

Yes. If your refi is eligible, you’ll have the option to select Total Loss Protection, Extended Vehicle Protection, Key Replacement, and other products! Visit our Products page to learn more about these tools to help you protect the value of your vehicle.

What’s the final step in my refinance process?

To complete your refinance, you’ll e-sign your loan agreement with your new lender via our online platform. Then, we will work with your new lender to ensure that your old lender is paid off and your refinance is complete. This is the very last step in the refi process. After that, you can relax and enjoy your newfound savings!

How do payments work during and directly after the refi process?

While refinancing, you’ll continue paying monthly on your current loan, until your new lender pays off your old loan. Concerned that you overpaid on your old loan in the process? Don’t worry - your old lender is required to send you a refund if there is any overpayment.

How can I save money on car insurance?

You can potentially save money on your auto insurance policy by doing one or more of the following steps:

  • Bundling your auto insurance with other types of insurance including home, condo, renters, umbrella policies, motorcycle, RV, camping trailer, motorhome, ATV, UTV, snowmobile, and other types of insurance policies could lower your premium
  • Improving your credit can help save your premium in the states that use credit as a rating factor for your insurance score
  • Using an independent insurance agency / marketplace, like Caribou's car insurance offering, to shop and compare rates for you
  • Completing advanced driver training courses in states that offer related discounts
  • If it makes financial sense for you, raising your deductibles through your carrier can increase the limit of what you are willing to pay before insurance covers the rest ($500 or $1,000 deductibles are common examples for Comprehensive and Collision coverage). For example, if you had a $1,000 deductible and your total claim amount was $4,000, your insurance company would cover the $3,000 difference. By raising your deductible you can lower your premiums.
  • Insuring all your cars with the same carrier can allow for a multi-car discount
  • Ask for good student discounts, where applicable. Young drivers may qualify for good student discounts if they hold a 3.0 or higher GPA. Away at school discounts may apply if a student is 100 miles or farther without a vehicle. Driver training discounts depend upon the completion of qualifying driver safety classes.

What is car insurance?

Car insurance is a contract, or policy, between you and an insurance company through which the company protects you against financial loss in the event of a car accident or car theft. In exchange for paying a premium each month, the insurance company agrees to cover the losses up to the limits of the policy.

How much do you save bundling insurance?

It depends! You may not always save money when bundling coverages like home, auto, or personal property insurance with a single insurance company. For instance, the company that offers the most competitive rates for your auto insurance may not have the most affordable rates for your home, or vice versa. An independent agent, like Caribou's online insurance marketplace, can help you find the coverage that is right for you at an affordable price whether it is bundled with one company or separating it between several companies.

Can you bundle renters and auto insurance?

Most insurance carriers do allow for renters or home insurance to be bundled with auto insurance. Many insurance companies offer different discounts based on the type of property policy that you purchase. Therefore, a renters policy may not qualify for the same discount as a condo or homeowners, but a discount is typically still available for a renters policy.

Why do I need auto insurance?

Auto insurance is legally required in order to drive a vehicle on public roads in most states. The purpose of having auto insurance is to protect you financially in the event you are involved in an accident or another type of catastrophic loss. An insurance policy provides coverage for damage to vehicles involved in a collision with the at-fault driver's insurance covering the damages. Insurance payments can also cover medical bills for you, passengers, people in the other vehicle, or related parties, such as bystanders or pedestrians who are struck (depending on coverage options). Payments are made on a per-accident basis with limits capped at coverage specified maximums. Insurance can also provide additional coverages like underinsured or uninsured motorist protection, which help you in the event a driver who hits you does not have insurance, and roadside assistance.

What types of coverage are included and available on an auto insurance policy?

The following types of coverages may be available:

  • Liability/Bodily Injury to Others
  • Property Damage Liability
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  • Medical Payments and/or Personal Injury Protection
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Roadside/Towing & Labor
  • Rental Car Coverage

Many other endorsements are available for a variety of situations. It is best to contact an agent to discuss your needs.

How do I choose an insurance company to work with?

Working with Caribou's online car insurance marketplace, is one of the quickest and most seamless ways to find an insurance company. We shop and compare rates from trusted carriers all in one place, saving you time and the hassle of having to do your own research. Should you choose to compare quotes of insurance providers on your own, we suggest looking at Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot customer reviews to ensure the insurance company is reputable.

How do I decide what coverage to purchase?

Talk to your Caribou car insurance representative to understand your coverage options. They will help you determine exactly how much coverage you need based on your specific situation. Decisions you may need to make regarding coverage include the number of vehicles needed on the policy, the type of policy like full comprehensive coverage versus liability only, and how much you can afford to pay out of pocket for your deductible. Our team helps guide you through this initial purchase, as well as ensures you have the coverage you need long-term at every renewal stage.

Learn more about car insurance

Through Caribou, you could start saving today!

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Contact Details
NMLS #1746612

Mon - Fri: 9am - 8pm EST

Sat - Sun: 9am - 4pm EST

1717 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20036

Caribou Insurance Services, LLC
Mon - Fri: 9am - 8pm ET

* This information is estimated based on consumers who were approved for an auto refinance loan through Caribou between 6/1/2022 and 3/1/2023, had an existing auto loan on their credit report, and accepted their final terms. These borrowers saved an average of $113.78 per month. Refinance savings may result from a lower interest rate, longer term, or both. There is no guarantee of savings. Your actual savings, if any, may vary based on interest rates, the repayment term, the amount financed, and other factors.

+ To check the refinance rates and terms you qualify for, we conduct a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a loan product and continue your application, we or one of our lending partners will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

++ Social security number is required should you choose to move forward in the loan application process.

** APR is the Annual Percentage Rate. Your actual APR may be different. Your APR is based on multiple factors including your credit profile and the loan to value of the vehicle. APR ranges from 5.69% to 28.55% and is determined at the time of application. Lowest APR is available up to a 36 month term, to borrowers with excellent credit, and only in Texas. Conditions apply. Advertised rates and fees are valid as of 5/15/2023 and are subject to change without notice. Insurance savings will not result from lower APR.

Terms and Conditions apply. Caribou reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Participating lenders, rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether our lenders can make you a loan offer. If any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. If approved, your actual rate will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Offers not available in MD, MS, NE, NV, WI, WV.

Insurance products offered through Bindable and Caribou Insurance Services, LLC. Caribou is working with Bindable who owns MyLifeProtected and MassDrive Insurance Group, LLC, the licensed agent for all products.