Once your car gets repossessed, you can attempt to get it back or let the lender sell it at auction and pay any remaining debt. Although we’re not lawyers and can’t give you legal advice, we can tell you what options you have after your vehicle is repossessed, and what your basic rights are.
Getting Your Car Back After a Repossession
What you can do to get your car back after repossession depends on the state you live in and how much you owe. You have two main options to get your vehicle back:
- Redeem the car – Redeeming a vehicle is the most common way to get a car back after a repo. To redeem your vehicle, you have to pay the balance due on the loan plus any repossession, storage, and attorney fees, if applicable. Your lender is required to send you a letter explaining your right to redeem the car within five days of repossessing it. The letter should include the total amount due and how long you have to redeem the vehicle.
- Reinstate the loan – If your state or lender allows it, you can reinstate the loan. Reinstating means you bring the loan current by paying all amounts owed plus additional fees in one lump sum. You must get a reinstatement quote from your lender, which should be included in the official notice of your right to reinstate. The information you need is the amount required to make the loan current plus the number of days you have to pay the lender (usually 15).
If you don’t redeem or reinstate your car on time, the lender can move forward with the repossession process and sell your vehicle at auction. The lender is required to send you a notice of when and where the auction is taking place, and you’re permitted to attend and even bid on the car to get it back.
Even if you’re unsuccessful in getting your vehicle back, you have to pay any deficiency balance after it’s sold. If you can’t, and you’re in a financial bind, your very last resort option could be to file for bankruptcy.
Your Repossession Rights
Unfortunately, most states permit the lender to repossess a car without giving prior notice, which means your vehicle could be repo'd if you’re out buying groceries or at work.
However, there are some things a lender and repo man can’t do:
- They can’t keep your personal items – If you have any personal items left in the car at the time it’s repossessed, the repo agency must give them back. In many states, the lender has to give you a list of items found inside the vehicle.
- Your property must not be damaged – The repo man isn’t allowed to breach the peace, or forcibly enter private property to retrieve the car. An example would be if the vehicle is parked in a closed and locked garage. If the car is out in the open or even sitting in a driveway, this isn’t considered breaching the peace and they can seize it.
- You can’t be physically or verbally assaulted – Any form of aggression toward you is also a breach of the peace. If they threaten you or physically assault you to get your vehicle, call the police immediately.
If you have any further questions about your legal rights during a repossession, contact your lawyer. If any of these rules are broken, you should discuss the situation with them.
Looking for Auto Financing After Repossession?
If you lost your car due to repossession and weren’t able to get it back, you may be wondering how your newly damaged credit affects your chances of getting another auto loan.
We understand how stressful it can be to get car financing after a repo, and we want to assist you. At Auto Credit Express, we’ve been helping consumers who are dealing with bad credit issues, including repossession, find financing for over 20 years.
We aren’t lenders, but we can connect you to a special finance dealership in your area that has the lenders willing to handle unique bad credit situations. Getting started is easy, just fill out our free auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work connecting you to a dealer near you.