Has your car been repossessed? Learn how to get it back
There are instances in all of our lives where we fall on hard times. Too many things pile up at once: unexpected expenses; family emergencies; unforeseen illnesses; the loss of a job; the list goes on. When other bills make it impossible to keep up with your car payment, you could face repossession. When this happens, what are your options?
First off, try not to panic. If your car has been repossessed, there are usually steps that you can take to get it back. Having a car is incredibly important for many people. In fact, in a lot of cities, towns, and rural areas, it’s an absolute necessity. Without adequate public transportation, there’s not really any other way to get to or from work, the store, or anywhere else.
Try not to worry. Just follow a few simple steps, and you can assess your situation. From there, you can determine what (if anything) you can do to get your car back. Ready to get started? Read on.
Find out what happened
This may sound obvious, but the first thing you need to do is determine why your car was repossessed. Generally, the reason is because you failed to make a certain number of payments. However, there are also less obvious causes that may be to blame. For example, if your insurance lapsed, or you failed to get insurance in the first place, this may be grounds for repossession (particularly with a leased vehicle). Contact the financial institution that provided your auto loan, and find out the details.
Recover your personal possessions
Legally, your lender only has a right to reclaim your vehicle. Any property inside it is yours, and they can’t hold onto it. If you had anything of value in your car that you want back, contact your lender and arrange to have those items returned to you.
Right of redemption
Generally speaking, if you pay off your loan balance, you have the right to redeem the car. This is called “right of redemption.” You can exercise this right by paying off the car before it’s sold to another buyer. If you’re interested in going this route, contact your lender.
Reinstatement of your loan
If you don’t have enough money to exercise your right of redemption, you can sometimes have your loan reinstated. This usually involves paying all of the back payments on the loan, along with some fees. Not all states and/or contracts allow this, so check with your lender.
Bottom line: talk to your lender
No matter which route you choose to go, the best thing you can do is talk to your lender. If you can’t afford redemption or reinstatement, they may still be able to work something out with you. Don’t give up: call your lender, and see if there’s a path forward.
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