What Happens if Your Car Gets Repossessed?

Get Car Financing
Even with poor credit.


Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.

, - August 13, 2019

Once your car gets repossessed, not only do you lose your vehicle, your credit score drops and a repo is listed on your credit reports. A repossession stays on your credit reports for seven years from the original delinquency date. Unless the repo listed is inaccurate, you can’t remove it before the seven years are up.

Getting Your Car Back after Repossession

It’s not easy getting your car back once it’s been repossessed, but it’s possible. In order to get your vehicle back after repossession, you have three options to consider:

  1. Reinstate – If your state and lender allows this, you can reinstate the loan. To reinstate your car loan, you agree to make the missed payment(s) plus repossession fees in one lump sum. Usually, you have 15 days to do this.
  2. Redeem – The most common way to get a vehicle back after a repo is to redeem it, although it's also the most difficult. To redeem your car, you usually have five days to pay the lender the entire remaining loan balance plus any repossession fees.
  3. Buy it back – If you can’t redeem or reinstate the loan, you can try and buy your vehicle back at auction. If you do buy it back, keep in mind that you’re still responsible for paying the lender any remaining loan balance including repo fees.

A last resort option is to file for bankruptcy, but this isn't recommended unless it's absolutely necessary. If you’re able to file bankruptcy before your car is repossessed, an automatic stay is activated. This stay prevents the lender from seizing the vehicle, and gives you extra time to get current on the loan.

Preventing a Repo from Happening

Do you fear you’re going to have your car repossessed? Did you know that it’s possible to stop repossession from happening? Well, it sometimes is, but you aren’t going to know for sure until you discuss it with your lender. Lenders are usually more willing to work with you if you come to them before you miss a payment – they don’t want to deal with repossession any more than you do.

Some may let you skip a month’s payment and tack it on at the end of the term, or have you pay it the following month in addition to that month’s payment. Make sure you’re honest and clear about your current situation. Even if your lender says they can’t help you out, it’s better than trying to figure it out on your own and creating an even worse situation.

The Bottom Line

Talk to your lender before you miss a payment – you may be able to avoid repossession. If things don’t go the way you hoped they would and you do end up losing your vehicle, know that it isn’t the end of the world. Given time, you can get another auto loan.

If this sounds like you, and you need a car to get around, but your credit took a hit due to a repo, we want to help. At CarsDirect, we work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that can help people get bad credit auto loans – even if they have a repossession listed on their credit reports.

Get connected with a local dealership that has the lending resources you need. Simply fill out our fast and easy car loan request form to start the process today.


$1 Credit Report

Get your credit score now!
Get a copy of your most recent credit report too.

Get Your Report & Score

Auto Refinance

Refinance your car or truck now. Get a better interest rate and lower payment.

Refinance Your Car

Vehicle Warranty

Protect your vehicle and you could save thousands on auto repairs.

Get a Free Quote

Need a Car Loan?

It only takes a minute.

Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.

Search New Cars by Loan Payment »

View estimated loan payments based on local rebates and financing offers.

Loan approval is not guaranteed and is subject to credit application and approval of the lender. Individual loan terms may vary. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of CarsDirect.com's Terms of Use, Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

Privacy Terms of Use Your Privacy Choices Disclaimer Cookie Policy Manage Preferences
COPYRIGHT 1999-2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba CarsDirect.com