The good news is that if your automobile has been repossessed, you may be able to get it back. What’s the bad news? It requires both time and money.
If you violate the conditions of your auto loan agreement, such as skipping payments or failing to get enough automobile insurance in some jurisdictions, your lender may repossess your vehicle. If your automobile hasn’t yet been repossessed but you’re in financial trouble, contact your lender right away. It may be able to work out a more affordable payment plan with you in order to avoid repossession of your vehicle.
How can I get my car back after a repossession?
You may be able to retrieve your automobile after a repossession if you do any of the following:
1. Renew your automobile loan
Depending on your state’s legislation, you may be able to restart your loan by paying off your past-due expenses in order to get your automobile back. You’ll also need to cover the charges of the repossession (for example, storage and towing fees), as well as one or two advance payments. If you’re interested in this alternative, contact your lender and inquire about their loan reinstatement policy.
2. Renegotiate your loan with your lender.
If you are unable to meet the conditions of your auto loan, you may be able to strike an arrangement with your lender. For example, if you missed four payments but can only afford to repay three, you might inquire about making up the fourth delayed payment later. You might also inquire about a new payment schedule or refinancing the auto loan.
This strategy is considerably more viable before your automobile is repossessed, although it may still work after that. If your automobile is unlikely to sell for much (meaning your lender will have a difficult time recouping their loan losses), they will most likely be eager to negotiate some form of deal with you.
3. Repay your debt
If you can come up with enough money to pay off your whole debt—including late payments, the outstanding sum, and the cost of the repossession—your lender is likely to accept it.
4. Sell your automobile at auction
You probably won’t be able to prohibit your lender from selling your automobile to a private bidder if you’ve missed the deadline to redeem or restore your loan. Fortunately, if they’re selling the car at a public auction, they’re required by law to notify you of the date and location of the sale so you may purchase it back.
5. Declare bankruptcy
You may also be able to reclaim your automobile by declaring bankruptcy, as long as you do so before it is sold.
When you file for bankruptcy, you receive an order known as a “automatic stay,” which means that most creditors must cease attempting to collect money from you. As a result, they are not permitted to perform the following:
- If they haven’t already, they should repossess your automobile.
- If your automobile has already been repossessed, sell it.
The automatic stay will keep them from proceeding with the repossession in the short term, but they may oppose it in court, so it isn’t a permanent solution. Your options and prospects for preserving your automobile are ultimately determined by a number of circumstances, including local and state legislation and the type of bankruptcy you declare.
Bankruptcy is a drastic move, so if you’re thinking about it to save your automobile, contact with an attorney first to ensure that it will truly accomplish your purpose.
How much will I have to pay if my car is repossessed?
The amount you must pay following a repossession is determined on whether the lender sells your vehicle and how much it receives in the transaction.
You may be required to pay the difference if your lender sells your automobile for less than what you owe. The remaining loan balance, missed payments, interest, and any repossession fines are all included in the “deficiency balance.” For example, if you owe $7,000 on a car loan and the lender sells it for $5,000, you must pay the $2,000 difference plus any loan costs.
If the lender sells the automobile for significantly less than its fair market value, it may be a hint that the transaction was not conducted in a “commercially reasonable manner,” and you may be able to contest the large shortfall sum in court. On the other hand, if the lender sells your automobile for more than your loan balance plus repossession fees, you are entitled to the difference.
If you are unable to pay the shortfall sum, your financial condition may deteriorate. The lender may choose to charge off the amount or refer it to a debt collection agency, which will contact you to collect the bill. Both the collection account and the repossession would appear on your credit reports, which would be detrimental to your credit. In the worst-case situation, the vehicle lender or collection agency may pursue legal action against you in order to recover the funds.
Can I reclaim my personal property following a repossession?
In most areas, the repossession firm must enable you to retrieve any items left inside your automobile – however you must schedule a time that works for the repossession business.
Check your state’s laws first, then contact the repo business or your lender to inquire about the process. The firm may charge you a “reasonable” storage fee in some areas, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises you to seek legal counsel if the lender or repossession company demands cash in exchange for returning your personal goods.
Make your own list of what’s in your automobile, along with estimated valuations. Check for damage and make sure everything is there when you pick up your goods.
It’s also worth mentioning that a repossession agency cannot violate the law by removing your automobile. For example, if your garage door was closed at the time of repossession and the repossession business destroyed it by pushing it open, the company may be required to pay a penalty or fairly compensate you for your property.
Takeaway: After repossession, you may be able to reclaim your car.
- Reinstate or restructure your loan, pay off your debt in full, or buy the automobile back at auction to get your car back from the repo man.
- Most jurisdictions give you only a few weeks to reinstate or redeem your debt before your lender sells your vehicle.
- Your creditor must notify you of their plans for your vehicle. They must also notify you when and where they want to sell your automobile if it will be auctioned off.
- If your repossessed vehicle sells for less than the amount owed, you must pay the difference to your lender.