Hyundai's got your back if you lose your job
byFeb 2nd 2009 4:00PM
There were plenty of interesting Super Bowl ads during Sunday's game, but Hyundai's "Assurance Deal" ad caught my ear, if not my eye, when the announcer said the car company would take a Hyundai back if the buyer lost a job within a year of buying it.
As someone who was laid off last year, and who has a car approaching 200,000 miles, this got my attention. The assurance program allows buyers who finance or lease a car from Hyundai to return it if they lose a job or have another life changing event, such as a physical disability or having a self-employed personal bankruptcy. It allows the owner to walk away from negative equity in the car without hurting their credit for up to a year after buying or leasing the car.
It's an interesting idea, to be able to walk away from a car loan within a year if you involuntarily lose your job and couldn't afford the payments anymore. Everyone knows that a car depreciates the second it is driven off the dealer's lot, and this program helps deal with that issue.
According to Hyundai's Web site on how to apply for benefits of the program, a benefits specialist will help get the vehicle appraised and will then instruct you to return the car to the dealer. The program benefit is $7,500, meaning the car owner would pay any amount over that, if any, and any additional balance amounts. Up to $7,500 in negative equity sounds fair.
I'm not up on car financing, but that sounds like a good deal, especially since it leaves the owner without any further financial obligation and leaves their credit rating intact. It's not considered a voluntary repossession.
For owners without equity in their car because they finance their taxes and put no money down, the $7,500 benefit may not be enough, much as it wouldn't be enough for more expensive vehicles. Other expenses that could drive up the cost of a car include custom items, or financing those extras. If it adds up to more than $7,500, the owner would have to make up the balance.
Workers who quit their jobs aren't covered. It only covers events that are out of your control, including if your employer moved out of state and you couldn't make the move.
Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net