If you miss just one car payment, you could put yourself at risk for a repossession. No major lending institutions, banks included, allow a delinquency on a major purchase like a vehicle. While it's much easier to prevent a repossession ahead of time, you may be able to get your car back even after it's been repossessed with these options.
Options to Get Your Car Back After Repossession
What can you do to get your vehicle back? There are three options to consider if you want to get your car back after repossession:
- Reinstate the loan – If you have the funds available and can get the loan current before the vehicle is sold at auction, you may be able to reinstate the loan if your contract allows this. To do this, you must pay all past due payments, including any repossession fees and late charges, in one lump sum. According to the legal experts at Nolo, some national banks aren’t subject to state laws that provide for reinstatement, so make sure you understand your auto loan agreement well.
- Redeem the car – If you can pay off the entire outstanding loan balance including fees, you can get your vehicle back. Your lender is required to send you a written notice of your right to redeem the car, and include the total amount needed. You need to act fast if you decide to redeem the vehicle, because you can’t get it back once it’s sold.
- Buy the car back at auction – Your lender is also required to send you a notice of when and where the vehicle is to be auctioned at, if they decide to go this route. You’re allowed to attend and bid on it.
A last minute option could be to file for bankruptcy. When you file, an automatic stay is immediately in effect, and prevents your creditors from coming after you for payments or repossessing your car. But depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, you may be forced to give up your vehicle. Make sure you understand the differences between a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and weigh all options before you consider filing.
The Bottom Line
The best way to prevent a repossession from happening is to make sure you make all your payments on time, and to talk to your lender as soon as possible if you’re having financial problems.
If you lost your car to repossession and didn't get it back, Auto Credit Express can help you get your next vehicle. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships and can set you up with one in your local area so you can get back on the road. Begin the process by filling out our easy and free auto loan request form today.