My Car Was Repossessed With My Belongings in It!

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Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


, Contributing Writer - November 30, 2020

When your vehicle is repossessed, your car might be taken away, but you still have rights during the process. One of those is recovering your personal belongings!

Getting Your Personal Belongings Back After a Repossession

Usually, a repossession is the result of a default on your auto loan. Since the lender has the right to recover the vehicle in the event of a default as your lienholder, they can hire a recovery company to take your car.

However, the lender doesn’t have any rights over your personal belongings that are in the vehicle.

Your lender can’t take, sell, or damage your property. Personal items like cell phones, purses, clothing, children's car seats, etc., are supposed to be returned to you and treated with care. The lender can’t charge you a fee for returning your personal belongings to you, either.

This right only applies to loose belongings in the vehicle, though.

If you’ve made any modifications to the car, your lender doesn’t have to disassemble them. For example, if you installed a new stereo system, your lender doesn’t have to return that stereo to you because it’s affixed to the vehicle. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the lender has to use tools to remove something from the car, they don’t have to return it to you.

When Can I Get My Personal Belongings Back?

Some loan contracts only allow a short window to get your property back – sometimes as little as 24 hours. If you want your items back and your vehicle has already been repossessed, contact your lender immediately! They may allow you time to inspect the car in storage to recover your personal belongings.

If you’ve been notified of the repo but it hasn’t happened yet, clear out your personal belongings beforehand. This way, you won’t have to have arrangements to get your items back once the recovery company takes your vehicle. Many states require that the lender sends you a written notice that your car’s about to be repo’d, but check your loan contract to be sure.

You can also get your personal belongings if you’re there when the repo is happening. Some repo companies ask you to clear out your things if you’re there when it’s being hooked up. If they don’t offer you this chance, then ask before it’s hauled off to storage.

Getting an Auto Loan After a Repo

Getting your personal belongings back after a repossession may be easier than getting into a traditional auto loan. Most traditional car lenders can’t approve you with a repo less than a year old on your credit reports.

But there are non-traditional lenders that don’t review your credit reports when you apply for vehicle financing.

These dealerships that use in-house financing, where the dealer is also your lender. They don’t need to rely on a third-party lender to approve you for an auto loan, so a lot of the time they don’t check your credit. Even if you have a recent repo, you could still have a chance of getting a car loan with an in-house financing dealership.

In-house financing isn't the only way to get an auto loan after repossession – though it may be the quickest option. If you're willing to wait a little while, or need to explore more financing options, a subprime lender is a good place to start, too. These lenders only work through special financing dealers, and we want to help you find a dealership that assists borrowers in unique credit situations.

Finding a Dealership After a Repossession

Not every dealer has bad credit lending resources, but we know the ones that do! If you need a car loan after a repossession, one of the ways to boost your chances of getting approved is working with the right lender.

Here at CarsDirect, we’ve created a network of dealerships that assist bad credit borrowers, and our connections are all over the country. To get matched to a dealer in your local area, fill out our free auto loan request form.

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, Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


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