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Jaspers, Moriarty & Wetherille, P.A.
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My car was repossessed: Can I recover it?

If someone is late on his or her vehicle loan payments, it could result in the bank taking possession of the car. After the car loan goes into default, the bank will contract a repossession man or woman to arrive -- usually when you least expect it -- and commandeer your car.

Your bank has the legal right to repossess your car if you become delinquent on your loan. However, there's one way to stop vehicle repossession: Filing for bankruptcy.

Most people wait too long before filing for bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy protection can stop the repossession of a Minnesota resident's vehicle. However, most people wait until it's too late and don't start thinking about bankruptcy as a debt solution until after their cars have already been repossessed.

So, if your vehicle has been repossessed -- and you're not protected by bankruptcy -- is there a way to get it back?

When you want to get your car back

Here are some steps you can take to try to get your car back after repossession:

  1. Ask the bank why it repossessed your vehicle. Are you certain you know why your car was repossessed? Sometimes a repossession can happen for reasons that have nothing to do with late payments. Make sure you know the exact reason why, and then you can figure out how to resolve the problem.
  2. Ascertain whether it's possible for you to get your car back. If you pay your loan in full, you can probably get your car back. But you'll need to act fast before your car gets sold. You might be able to work out a new payment plan with the bank, or get a new loan with a different lender.
  3. Can you afford to get your car back? Be realistic when considering whether or not you can actually afford your car. In some circumstances, repossession could be a good thing if you couldn't afford your loan payments. Maybe it's time for you to consider a less expensive vehicle.

Filing for emergency bankruptcy could also help

As a final solution, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy as a strategy to get your vehicle back. Filing for an emergency bankruptcy, could -- in some situations -- prevent the sale of your vehicle at auction and require the bank to return it to you. You'll need to act fast, however, and you'll need to make sure this strategy will actually work from a legal perspective, given your unique circumstances.

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