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How to avoid repossession on a late car loan Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive financial calculators and tools, publishing original and objective content. We also allow you to conduct research and evaluate information for no cost to help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers such as, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The products that appear on this website come from companies who pay us. This compensation could affect how and where products are displayed on this website, for example, for example, the order in which they may appear in the listing categories, except where prohibited by law. Our loans, mortgages,, and other home loan products. But this compensation does affect the content we publish or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not include the entire universe of businesses or financial offerings that could be open to you.


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4 min read Published April 22 2022

Written by Kellye Guinan Written by Personal and Business Finance Contributor

Kellye Guinan is a freelance editor and writer with more than 5 years experience working in the field of personal finance. She’s also a full-time employee at her local library, helping her community access information about financial literacy, in addition to other subjects.

Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers to control their finances by providing concise, well-studied data that digests complicated topics into bite-sized pieces.

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A default could occur as a result of just one missed payment, but typically the auto loans won’t be charged off until you stop paying for a period of time which can be up to 120 days in most cases. The lender is likely to send the notice of default prior to repossessing your vehicle. In some states, you’ll have the option of repaying what you owe. However, it’s not always the case. Between default and repossession, there are a few ways to avoid your vehicle from being taken. Six ways to stay out of repossession If you’re currently in default or at risk of it, repossession is a real possibility. To avoid it, you’ll have to stay in contact to your lender and work on reorganizing your financial situation. 1. Stay in contact and keep in contact with you lender Make sure you keep your lender up to date regarding your financial situation, capacity to make payments and general financial health. Keep a record of every conversation, including the names and titles of every person you talk to and make sure you send any correspondence via certified mail so that you can provide proof that you have done your part. They would rather have their customers pay for their auto loans rather than repossess their cars. Be prepared to provide evidence of your financial condition. If something changes you need to let your lender know right away. It’s important to be polite but not tense when discussing the possibility of repossession. You should avoid repossession at all cost So, keep calling the manager until you find someone able to help you with your loan. 2. Request an loan modification. Repossession is a major chance for the lender, too. They will need to pay off your loan, hire someone to seize the car then store it in a safe place and then auction it off at auction. Because of this it is possible to request the lender to make a lower payment. Your lender may be able to defer some payments or modify the term to help you pay your bills. Make sure to let you lender know the specifics of your situation and discuss the time and method by which you’ll be able to repay. Lenders are under no legal obligation to modify the terms of your loan however it could help you and your lender avoid a lot of the trouble that repossession poses. 3. Get current on the loan If you are able pay your loan in full and fees in order for the lender to restore your loan. This will end the default process and is the most effective method of avoiding default . It’s okay to decline this option if it isn’t available to you. For the majority of people who face repossession, paying off the loan isn’t possible. There are ways to get the cash — like — but it may put a different type of pressure on your lifestyle. 4. Sell the car If an car loan is too high each month, you may sell your vehicle privately or . Provided you aren’t in a position to be upside-down on your loan (when you have more debt than you’re worth — you could move to a cheaper ride. Be sure to sell your car in a manner that will pay for the amount of your loan and any charges you have to pay. If you aren’t able to do that, try negotiating with your lender and determine if they might allow you to write off fees. The most important thing to remember is that selling your car might not provide you with the an amount to pay for another car. When it’s between repossession, selling the vehicle or surrendering it, you will be not able to travel no matter what. Selling your car will keep your credit intact, but it could put you in a situation like repossession. 5. Refinance your loan Extending the loan duration or lowering the interest rate could make the automobile loan more affordable. If you’ve been late on multiple payments or have fallen behind, it is likely that you don’t have the credit to . But that isn’t a reason to not attempt. Online lenders and credit unions, along with some small local banks, have more flexible requirements. Keep in mind that financing applications can affect your score on credit, which is why be sure you apply for several loans simultaneously to prevent multiple hits. You might not be able lower the interest rate, but prolonging your loan term is a possibility. This could make your monthly payments much more affordable. However, this means that you’ll be paying more in interest overall. It could be worth the higher cost to avoid repossession, but it should be done after having exhausted all other alternatives. 6. Don’t hesitate to surrender your car the option to voluntarily surrender your vehicle to your lender when you can’t pay. The lender will not have access to it , and you will have to think of alternative ways to get around however it won’t be considered a repossession, however, your credit score will nevertheless decrease. If you do this it, your lender will undergo similar procedures to repossession. They will take over and then auction off your car. If the price of the sale is greater than the amount you owe, then you are in the clear. If not, you will be held accountable for the remainder of the loan amount, as well as any fees you’ve accrued. How the auto repossession process operates Once you’re in default, your lender has every right to repossess your car. If your state’s law states otherwise, repossession doesn’t need notice or warning. It’s possible to lose your car anytime after you’ve defaulted. If your car is repossessable, your lender could provide you with information about the auction in which the vehicle will be auctioned off. If not, you might be able of reestablishing your loan by being able to catch over the outstanding amount as well as any other fees associated with repossession. As with everything else in repossession the information that the lender is required to give you is contingent on your state. The next step Repossession will remain visible on credit reports for a long time, making it that much difficult to obtain an auto loan. Make sure you are on top of every step of the process communicating with your lender and doing what you can to avoid repossession. While not all options is available, they are worth trying in the event of losing your car. Find out more


Written by Personal and business finance Contributor

Kellye Guinan is a freelance editor and writer with over five years ‘ experience within personal finance. She’s also a full-time employee at her local library, where she assists the community gain access to information on financial literacy, among other subjects.

The edit was done by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances with clear, well-researched information that breaks down complex topics into manageable bites.

Auto loans editor

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