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When can a lender repossess your car?

Even if it is not particularly flashy, your car is probably one of the more valuable things you own. After all, in addition to your vehicle’s intrinsic value, your car allows you to go to work and make money. As a result, it undoubtedly is worth more to you than its Kelley Blue Book value might suggest.

You may not own your car outright, though. Indeed, according to Finder, upwards of 81 million Americans currently have outstanding auto loans. If you are one of them, you might wonder when your lender can repossess your vehicle.

What does your loan document say?

Before you take out a car loan, it is important to read and understand the terms of the loan document. This document describes the lender’s rights, including telling you when the lender may retake possession of your car. It also may outline your options for temporarily deferring payments.

Are you behind on payments?

In most cases, car lenders can repossess vehicles after borrowers miss a payment. Lenders also typically can repossess cars when payments are late. This generally means you can lose your car as soon as 10 days after failing to pay.

Do you have car insurance?

If something happens to your car, your insurance policy usually protects the lender’s financial interests. As a result, failing to have car insurance might put you in danger of repossession. The same might be true if you change your coverage level.

You should know that some car lenders are more aggressive with repossessions than others. Ultimately, if you are looking to stop a repossession, it may make sense to consider seeking bankruptcy protection.


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