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5 min read . Published November 28th, 2022.
Sarah Sharkey Written Sarah Sharkey Written by Contributing Writer Sarah Sharkey is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Sarah writes about a range of subjects, such as banking, savings tips homeownership, homebuying, and personal finance. Written by Rhys Subitch Editored by Auto loans Editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to manage their finances through providing detailed, well-studied information that breaks down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promise
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If you are in arrears with your obligations and your car could be in danger of repossession, the good news is that you have the option of taking steps to stop this unfortunate conclusion. In between reinstatement as well as loan modification you have a number of opportunities to prevent repossession. Can paying off a car loan stop the repossession process? Repossession rules differ according to the state you live in. In the majority of states where repossession is allowed, the lender may take possession of the vehicle when you are in default. Depending on your loan agreement, this could mean missing just one payment. There are many steps between the time you miss a payment and the final repossession of your vehicle. Based on the situation you’re in, you can take the appropriate actions . If you’ve never received any notice that you are unable to make your car payment, you’ll probably know about the financial situation well before your lender does. Don’t wait for your lender to know that you don’t pay take the initiative and contact the lender to discuss your situation. The lender might be willing to hear you out in order to avoid the costs of repossession. Make an effort to find an acceptable solution. For instance, you could give more details regarding your situation, when you’ll be able to make the next payment or what you can pay right now. Depending on the history you have with the lender, you might be able to work out a temporary reprieve or . This is particularly true if this is the first time you have had to make a missed payment. If the lender has sent only notice A lender can legally repossess your car with or without notice in many states. But your lender is likely to send you a notification of its intention to take possession of the vehicle prior to when it actually occurs. If you get an official notice of repossession, the first call you should be making is with your lender. Again, an open channel of communication between you and your lender may result in a solution that avoids repossession. In the meantime, waiting until you get a notice means that you’ll be playing catch-up in explaining the situation with your lender. If your lender is willing to hear your concerns, provide as much information as you can regarding the time you’ll be able to pay. You should also indicate how much you are able to pay to make a payment today. In the end, it’s advantageous for the lender to work out an arrangement that is temporary. In the end, the company is looking to be paid, and you’ll likely require your car to get to work. Depending your lender and your history, a temporary agreement isn’t out of the possibility. If the lender has started the process, if the lender has already started the process of repossession and you do not be able access your vehicle. At this point, reinstatement of your loan — also referred to as curing the defaultis a option. In some states, you’ll need to make payments for the entire due amount. That includes every missed payment and any late fees that have accrued. Typically the lender will also ask you to cover repossession fees before releasing the vehicle to you. In some states, you might have to pay off the entire loan to get your car back. This process is called redemption. Not every state allows for reinstatement. If your state doesn’t have laws governing reinstatement and it’s not a part of the contract, it’s best to still reach out to your lender. They may be willing to alter your loan so that it includes it. How auto repossession works Auto repossession is an unpleasant experience. Understanding the process can assist you to work through it, and possibly find an answer. 1. Borrower misses payments Your lender is entitled to repossess the car as soon as you are in default, and to to a debt collection agency. The number of missed payments that are required to default on your loan is determined by your state as well as your loan contract. In certain situations it is only necessary to miss one payment for you to become in default. In other situations, you might need to miss two or three payments in order for an issue to occur. At this point, open dialogue with your lender is vitally important. If it’s possible to work out an extension, now is the time to ask. 2. Lender takes your car Once you are in default, your lender may or may not give you notice of its intention to take possession of the car. Contact your lender to request an interim payment plan to avoid repossession if you are sent an email. Depending on your state, the lender might be able repossess your car at any time — regardless of whether you’ve received a notice. 3. Lender sells the car once the lender has taken possession of your car the lender may hold the car until you are caught up on the loan. But the more likely outcome will be that the lender will eventually sell the car. In several states, the lender must notify you of the sale and offer you the chance to reinstate your loan. If you wish to purchase the car back before the auction, you’ll need to pay for the entire amount owed and any repossession expenses. But many repossessed cars are sold at auction. You have a right to attend the auction and put in a bid on your vehicle. 4. Lender sends your bill for any deficiency . When you sell the car the lender has to use the funds to pay the debt you owe. But the sale price might not cover the entire amount owed. If you owe more than your lender receives for selling the car, that’s a deficiency. Unfortunately, in many states, your lender may sue you for any deficiencies. For instance, suppose you owe $10,000 but your lender will only offer it for $7,000. In that scenario the deficit is $3,000, and the lender could be able to sue you for the difference. However, if there is an excess from the sale and the lender may be required to transfer it to you. This is rare however, if it does occur, you’ll at the very least get a tiny benefit of the transaction. Other methods to avoid repossession Avoiding repossession is a important concern for the majority of consumers. After all, your vehicle is likely a key piece of your ability to earn a living. A few ways to avoid repossession include: Reinstate the loan If you are able to be current with your past due payments, the lender will reinstate the loan. Essentially, that means you’re bringing the matter back to square one. After reinstatement, you’ll have to keep making the regular payments to your car. Make sure you pay off the loan Naturally the process of paying off your whole auto loan is much easier said than done. However, if this is in your reach, it is one way to exit this situation. Refinancing can be difficult given your credit score takes the hit when you miss payments. If you can locate an alternative loan with the lowest interest rate, or regular payments, it might be the right move for your finances. Declare bankruptcy. If you’re in debt on other bills If you are in debt, bankruptcy could be an option. While there are methods to avoid bankruptcy , it’s not a guarantee. Repossession may still happen if you aren’t able to discover a solution that works. The downside to this option is that you’ll likely require some amount of cash to settle the issue. In the end, if you’re faced with the uncomfortable possibility of repossession, talk to your lender promptly. If you are able to communicate with them in a clear manner, the lender could offer a bargain that works for everyone.
Written by Contributing Writer Sarah Sharkey is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Sarah writes about a range of topics, such as savings tips, banking homeownership, homebuying and personal finance. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to manage their finances through providing clear, well-researched information that break down complex topics into digestible chunks.
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