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joe: Don't forget another cost of the low financing instead of taking a rebate: The payoff is higher if the vehicle is totaled. That's more difficult to quantify since taking the rebate with a higher monthly payment (if it is higher) is similar to buying insurance so you won't have to pay more than its worth. To me having the principal be a few thousand dollars less during the high depreciation years is worth a few dollars a month to me.
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Huh?

The insurance company could care less what you paid for the car, or if you owe more than the car is worth.

Many insurance companies will give you 'replacement' costs in the first year. After that, they give you wholesale book value. REgardless of what you paid. And that replacement value is what they can negotiate with the dealer, not including zero down.

They could care less whether you rolled financing into 'list' price (and didn't take a rebate), got a 20% discount when you bought it, or didn't. Or whether you have zero down or not.

Your principle is higher since you didn't get a discount in lieu of apparently zero percent financing.

I think your reason on replacement for totalling the car is bogus.

And likely you could have gotten a rebate, only the dealer gets more kick back for getting you to finance, and didn't tell you the truth about the discount he would have offered you. They'll go through all sorts of manipulation to get you to finance, as part of the 'you need fabric protectant' and 'underbody rust protection' and 'paint sealant' and all sorts of other 500% markup ploys.

It's amazing how wrong they can be on financing, trying to convince you that taking their financing is always a great deal, not matter what.

For a lot of folks, that zero percent down results in 4-6-8-10% or more actual interest, if you do the calcuations, sometimes more.

Tens of millions of folks squander most of what they could save a year on repeated 'new car fever' and trying to keep up with the JOneses on purchases, house furnishings, clothing , stuff for the babies, etc.


Next time, if you want to save those high depreciation you might take this advice
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/scottburns/qa/2004/stories/020504dnbusburns.2482e.html
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