The finance company just repossessed my car. Can I get it back?


Yes, as long as they haven’t sold it at auction yet. But it might cost you a few hundred extra dollars, so if you think the repo man is out looking for your car, and if you are probably going to file a bankruptcy anyway, it might be better to go ahead and file. That will stop the repo man, and it might save you a lot of money, too.

If it’s too late, and the car has already been taken out of your driveway, and if it has not been sold yet, you can get the car back in a Chapter 13. You have to be able to make normal Chapter 13 car payments (which are almost always smaller than the payments that you were making before filing. See Will I lose all of my things? for an example of how the car payments might work.) You usually also have to pay $300.00 or $400.00 in repossession fees, and wait anywhere from one week to a couple of months before getting it back. I can usually get the car back to you in one week, and lately I have had some good luck getting the car back without having to pay the repo fees. But I wouldn’t count on that. That’s why it is better to avoid this situation than taking the chance of having to deal with the hassle and expense of a repossession. (For more information, see the separate section on Repossession and Foreclosure.)

In a Chapter 7 you cannot get the car back without the creditor’s permission. The only way that most creditors are going to agree to give the car back is if you can catch up on the payments right away. But if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. A Chapter 7 will stop the repo man temporarily, but it won’t take long for the creditor to get the court’s permission to take the car anyway. The only definite way to save a car is in a Chapter 13, unless you can find a way to pay the value of the car in one lump sum. There is a new finance company that will loan you the money to do that, but their rules are very strict, so there is no guarantee that you can get one of those loans. I would not count on that.