So, you stumbled into some rough financial times, found yourself uncomfortably tight on money, and needed a quick solution. A title loan seemed like a good idea at the time, but that was before you realized how hard it would be to pay it on their terms. Now you can’t pay it on time and are facing default, but do you still have to pay if your car is repossessed?
Dealing with Repossession
Keep in mind that getting to the point of vehicle repossession should be your last resort. Not only will you be without your vehicle, but your credit score will also take a pretty severe hit, and the repossession will remain on your credit report for seven years. You might have other options:
- Negotiate with the lender
- Borrow from friends/family
With title loans, because of their predatory nature, you might not have much room to negotiate, but it’s worth a try. They may offer a rollover, which essentially extends the length of the loan but also adds significant costs. But at least you might buy yourself some much needed time before losing your vehicle.
Refinancing with a personal loan might be tough if your credit is already stretched thin, but with a soft credit check which doesn’t affect your score, it’s at least worth looking into.
And as painful as it can be to ask family and friends for money, it’s less painful than losing a car and being without transportation. Have someone to ask? Now’s the time.
If none of those work and repossession is inevitable, it’s time to prepare.
How long before a car is repossessed?
How long it takes for your car to be repossessed can depend on the lender as well as your local laws, so research what your rights are so you’re fully prepared.
Generally speaking, most lenders would rather get paid than deal with repossession. Lenders will usually send notifications to let you know you’re late and at risk of losing your vehicle. If much time passes and you’re still unable to pay the loan, then there’s a good chance you’ll be saying good-bye to your car.
Once the repossession process is underway, the actual loss of your vehicle can happen almost immediately. If the lender installed a GPS tracker, expect a visit very soon, and if they equipped your car with a starter interrupter, you might not even be able to start your car. As an aside, some companies will use the starter interrupt device as a late-payment reminder. In that case, you’d need to contact them for a code to be able to restart your vehicle if/when payment is made.
Once you know for certain that you can’t pay and that the car will be repossessed, you might be able to at least avoid repossession fees by voluntarily turning your car in. Make sure to check the terms of your agreement or touch base with your lender.
What to do if your car is repossessed
If you’ve defaulted on a title loan and your car is repossessed, you might still have a small window of opportunity to get the car back if you can pull together the funds to make your payment plus whatever fees are now attached to it.
Let’s say your car is repossessed and you don’t pay to reclaim your vehicle. Then, once the repossession is complete, the car will go to auction so that the lender can recover the money that’s owed on the loan.
And this is where you can answer the question of whether you still have to pay if your car is repossessed. If the vehicle is sold at auction for less value than what you owed, then you’d still be responsible for any remaining balance along with added fees that may have accumulated.
On the other hand, if the vehicle sells for more than you owed on the loan, you might receive the difference back. That can depend on state laws, so double-check to make sure you know exactly what you may or may not be entitled to.
Even if you do get something back, it will be considerably less than what you paid into your car originally, you’ll still be without a car, and you’ll have suffered a pretty severe hit to your credit. If there’s any way you can avoid having your car repossessed, do what you can to prevent it.
Avoid the chance of repossession
You can also avoid repossession altogether if you simply avoid title loans. The terms are never in your favor, and they’re designed to be hard to pay back.
Instead, when you need money to cover any unexpected bills, go ahead and fill out an application for an unsecured personal loan from Helix. The entire process can be done online quickly and easily, and applying doesn’t affect your FICO score. Plus, you receive a decision back in a matter of seconds, and once approved, you can have your money as soon as the next business day.