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How Do You Get Your Car Back After Repossession in Illinois?

Repossession is the process through which the lender, bank, or other creditor reclaims possession of an automobile from a borrower who has defaulted on their loan. Repossession is legal because the contracts for most auto loans provide that the vehicle being purchased will serve as collateral to ensure the buyer fulfills their end of the agreement. This means that under Illinois law, a lender can take back your financed vehicle if you fall behind on your auto loan payments.

While Illinois laws establish procedures for getting your car back after repossession, the options are not economically feasible for most. Filing for bankruptcy may be the best choice for people who are facing financial difficulties and at risk of having their vehicle repossessed.

Can You Negotiate a Repossession in Illinois?

It may be possible to negotiate directly with the loan company to avoid repossession through an alternate payment schedule or another arrangement. However, the lender is under no legal obligation to work with you. Even if you can reach an agreement, it won’t fix the underlying financial issues that caused you to fall behind, and you’ll probably find yourself facing repossession again in the near future.

On the other hand, filing for bankruptcy will stop the repossession process while also providing a solution for your money troubles. If your car has already been repossessed, you may also be able to get it back after you file. And no matter which type of bankruptcy you use, you can almost always work out a plan that lets you keep your car.

What Is the Procedure for Getting Your Vehicle Back?

When vehicles are repossessed in Illinois, the law gives borrowers the opportunity to get their cars and trucks back. If you’ve already paid at least 30% of the purchase price, the lender must send you a notice within 3 days of the repossession.

You will then have a 21-day period to pay back the entire amount owed, including past due payments, late fees, and repo costs. If you do so, you can get your car back and have your loan reinstated. However, this option is only available the first time that your vehicle is repossessed.

If you have paid less than 30% of the loan when the car is repossessed, you can redeem it by paying the entire remaining loan balance before the car is sold.

Legal and Illegal Practices

Under Illinois law, auto lenders can legally repossess your vehicle after a single payment without any warning that they intend to do so. However, Illinois does place some conditions on how repo agents can take your car.

For example, Illinois only allows cars to be repossessed on public property. This means that agents cannot legally enter private property, such as a driveway or a garage, to repossess a car or truck. They also cannot breach the peace when taking the vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Repossession is a scary prospect, but if you're struggling to pay your loan, you can take action today. Call or text DebtStoppers in Chicago at 312-913-0630 to discuss your situation with an experienced Illinois bankruptcy attorney. If you’re falling behind on your bills, bankruptcy can allow you to get your car back and get your finances back on track.