What is the F&I Office? Why you're there and what they'll offer

What is the F&I Office? Why you're there and what they'll offer

Yahoo - Autos·2022-06-04 21:01

This is part of our Car Buyer's Glossary series breaking down all the terms you need to know if you're buying a new or used car from a dealership.

"Going to F&I" is the final step in buying a car at a dealership. It can also be the most frustrating, as you're likely to have already spent hours at a dealership test driving, negotiating and, inevitably, waiting around. F&I literally stands for Finance and Insurance, and is the office where you will sign all required legal documents associated with a car purchase. This can include signing financing agreements, or if you're financing the car separately or purchasing with cash, hand over the required payment. This is handled by a dedicated "F&I manager" specifically trained and familiar with the various forms and contracts required. Because there are far fewer F&I managers than salespeople (in fact, there's usually only one), this can lead to a sort of bottleneck at the dealer, especially on weekends or other busy days. As a result, be prepared to wait a half hour or longer just to get into F&I. Ideally, the dealer will be using that time to prep your car, while you could also ask your salesperson to begin explaining the many (and often complicated) features of your new car. Once you're in F&I, you can expect the process to take another half hour or longer depending on the amount of paperwork that needs to be signed. This can depend on the state in which you live, and whether you're financing, leasing or paying with cash. Crucially, however, it can also depend on whether you purchase any of the many products and services that the F&I manager will offer. This would be the other primary task of the F&I manager: pad the deal. This is where doing some research ahead of time will literally pay off, as you'll know what products you might be interested in, what constitutes a good or bad example of that product, or most simply, tell the F&I manager "no" to everything and save yourself a lot of time. Frankly, the safest course of action is to just say "no" as these products are often of dubious value and can usually be purchased after the fact. Besides, "just an extra $20 per month" might sound like a good deal, but multiply that by months and by years and by the interest rate ... and well, it's suddenly a very hefty charge. Nevertheless, F&I managers aren't snake oil salesmen and the products can be beneficial to certain car buyers. Their prices are also negotiable. Below are some of the most common products.


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