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If you fall behind on your car payments, and you believe your vehicle is about to be repossessed, one of the first things you should do is remove any personal items out of your car. Sometimes personal belongings can vanish from your car at the impound lot. If you leave necessary items in your vehicle such as a spare tire, or children's car seats, it is a good idea to take pictures of them just in case they are not there when you go to retrieve either the car or your items.

A creditor does not have the right to keep your personal items when the car is repossessed. It is against the law for them to refuse to give you back your property after you have asked for it. As soon as you can, the quicker, the better, send a letter listing the property that you are demanding that they return.

Wrongful Repossessions

Sometimes, a creditor has no legal right to take the car, or they do not follow correct procedures when seizing your car. If this has occurred, you have the right to get your car back and be paid monetary damages.

Negotiate With the Creditor

If your car has a minimum resale value, the creditor might work with you so you can get the car back after repossession. The creditor may agree to the original payment plan, or allow for a different one to better fit your needs.

Redeeming a Vehicle

After your vehicle is repossessed, you can redeem the car by paying off the whole debt in one lump sum. Getting a breakdown from the lender on how much you owe should include a refund for unearned interest and insurance charges you are owed since the debt has been paid off early.

Reinstate the Contract

Some states allow you to recover the repossessed car and pay only the back due payments and not the total loan on the car. You may have to make one or two payments in advance and cover the cost of the tow and storage.

Bankruptcy Can Get Your Car Back

If you have other financial problems as well as losing your car to repossession, it may be a good financial choice for you to file for bankruptcy. If the lender has not sold the car when you file, the lender should voluntarily return the car due to you because of your legal right to the automatic stay. The automatic stay stops all legal action against you while you work out your bankruptcy plan.

When you get your car back, you will have to continue to make the payments if you wish to keep the car. Since you will have qualifying debts eliminated in bankruptcy, you should be in a better position to make the payments.

For more information on bankruptcy, contact an Elk Grove bankruptcy attorney.