How To Keep Your Car After Filing Bankruptcy

How To Keep Your Car After Filing Bankruptcy

If you're considering filing for bankruptcy, you might be wondering if you can keep your vehicle. The good news is that in almost every situation, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" You can keep possession of one or more of the vehicles you're currently driving.

While filing for bankruptcy may seem daunting, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll lose everything you own. In fact, one of the main goals of bankruptcy is to help you get a fresh financial start without leaving you completely destitute. However, there are some factors to consider when it comes to keeping your vehicle.

For example, if you're still making payments on your car, you'll need to continue making those payments in order to keep the vehicle. Additionally, the value of your car will be taken into account when determining your bankruptcy plan. If you have a high-value vehicle, you may be required to sell it and use the proceeds to repay your debts. However, if your car is worth less than a certain amount, you may be able to keep it without any issues.

Overall, while filing for bankruptcy can be a complex process, it's important to remember that you have options when it comes to keeping your vehicle. By working with a bankruptcy attorney and understanding the requirements, you can navigate the process with confidence and emerge with a fresh financial start.

Can I keep my car if I file for bankruptcy?

Keeping possession of your vehicle(s) during bankruptcy is possible, but it requires some effort. In this article, I'll guide you through the available methods and help you decide whether it's a wise decision or not. The first question to ask is, "How can I keep one, two, or more of my vehicles during bankruptcy?" To answer that, you need to know two basic pieces of information. You can also use a Chapter 13 Repayment Calculator, which considers vehicle equity, to help you make a decision.

What is the Current Equity of my Vehicle?

Do you own your vehicle outright? If so, you can easily determine its equity by finding out its current market value. You can do this by researching your make and model on websites like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. These websites provide accurate values for your car. However, if you are still making payments towards the ownership of your vehicle, calculating its equity is a bit more complicated. You will need to subtract what you owe on your vehicle from its current market value to determine your car’s equity.

Am I Current on my Car Payments?

Do you own a car? If yes, there are a couple of questions to consider when filing for bankruptcy. Firstly, have you been keeping up with your monthly car payments? If you own your vehicle outright and are not making any payments, then this question isn't relevant. However, if your car is being used as collateral, it's important to determine if your lender has access to it. Your payment status will be taken into account when deciding how to handle your car during bankruptcy proceedings.

Once you have answered these questions, we can tailor the advice to your specific situation. Let's start by looking at how your car will be affected during a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, your goal is to get rid of your unsecured debts by surrendering your non-exempt property to a trustee who sells it to pay off your secured debts. Secured debts are those tied to a physical asset, while unsecured debts are not linked to any assets. By doing this, you can start anew financially while only paying a portion of your total debt.

But what happens to your vehicle in this process? Here are three options for keeping your car:

  • Reaffirmation: You can keep your car by signing a reaffirmation agreement with the lender, which means you agree to continue making payments on the loan. This option is only available if you are current on your payments and the lender agrees to the reaffirmation.
  • Redemption: You can keep your car by paying the lender the current value of the vehicle in a lump sum payment. This option may be beneficial if your car is worth significantly less than what you owe on it.
  • Exemption: You can keep your car if it falls under the exemption limit in your state. Each state has different limits on the value of assets that can be exempted in a bankruptcy filing, including vehicles.

By understanding these options, you can make the best decision for your financial situation and keep your vehicle during the bankruptcy process.

1. Use an Exemption to Cover Your Car’s Equity

If you're filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be wondering what will happen to your car. The good news is that you can protect it from being sold to repay your debts by using the bankruptcy exemptions available to you. These exemptions allow you to keep certain assets, including your car, up to a certain value. If your equity in the car is less than the exemption amount, you should be able to keep it. However, if your equity exceeds the exemption, the trustee may sell the car to repay your creditors. So, it's important to carefully consider which exemption category to use for your car's equity.

2. Reaffirm the Loan

If you're going through bankruptcy and want to keep your car, there's hope. You can reaffirm your car loan with the approval of the bankruptcy court. This means that if your creditor agrees, you can keep your vehicle as long as you make your payments on time. However, it's important to note that reaffirming a car loan means you're committed to paying back the full balance with interest, as well as any late fees or payments that have accumulated. If you default on the loan again, you'll be liable for the entire amount due.

3. Move to Redeem the Vehicle

Are you facing bankruptcy but want to keep your vehicle? There's a way to do that through a process called redemption. Essentially, redemption involves paying the lender the value of the car instead of what you owe on it. This can be a great option if you owe more than the car is worth. However, keep in mind that you'll need to be able to cover the equity of the car to qualify for redemption. To learn more about redeeming secured property in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, check out this resource.

Please note

If you're struggling to keep up with your car payments, your car could be repossessed, which means you could lose it. But don't worry, there are ways to protect your vehicle from being taken away. Speaking with a bankruptcy attorney can help you understand your options and take the necessary steps to prevent repossession. Check out this resource for more information.

4. Letting go of the Car in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you're unable to keep up with your car payments, surrendering your vehicle might be your best option. However, it's important to ensure that you're no longer responsible for any outstanding balances, late fees, or interest fees. Additionally, if someone co-signed your loan, they might be liable for a portion of the debt.

If you do decide to surrender your vehicle, you'll need to find an alternative mode of transportation. Surrendering your car payments could also free up some cash to purchase a more affordable used car.

Keeping Your Vehicle in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you'll enter a 3 to 5-year payment plan where you'll pay a portion of your unsecured and non-exempt secured debt. Non-exempt secured debt includes the total amount owed on all your secured debts, minus the amount you're allowed to exempt in your payment plan. Additionally, you'll likely pay a small percentage of your unsecured debts, which will depend on your income level.

The amount you'll pay monthly will be higher if you have more non-exempt secured equity. Before you decide how to deal with your vehicle, it's important to consider how much you can afford. Fortunately, there are two ways you can keep your vehicle during Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • Redemption: This option allows you to pay the current value of your vehicle in a lump sum payment, which is often less than what you owe on the loan.
  • Cramdown: This option lets you reduce the amount you owe on your car loan to the current value of the vehicle, and pay it off over the course of your payment plan.

1. Use an Exemption to Cover your Car’s Equity 

Have you heard of Chapter 13 bankruptcy? It's a type of bankruptcy that allows you to keep your assets, such as your car, while you work on paying off your debts. Here's how it works: during the bankruptcy process, you are given a certain amount of exemptions for your secured debts. This means that if you have enough exemptions to cover the equity in your car, you can keep it from being repossessed.

But that's not all. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have the entire 3 or 5 year payment period to finish paying off your obligations. This can give you the time you need to get back on your feet financially and catch up on missed payments. While there are certainly challenges to navigating bankruptcy, Chapter 13 can be a valuable tool for those struggling with debt.

2. Receive a Car Loan Cramdown 

Did you know that you may be eligible for a car loan cramdown? This option allows you to pay for the current value of your vehicle if it is less than the amount you owe on it. This means that you could potentially save money on your car loan payments. Once approved, you will have the duration of your repayment plan to fully pay off the car’s value.

It’s important to note that the remainder of your car loan would be classified as “unsecured debt” and you would be required to pay a percentage throughout your payment plan. However, at the end of the bankruptcy proceedings, you will have full ownership of the vehicle. Consider speaking with a bankruptcy attorney to see if a car loan cramdown is the right option for you.

Important question: How does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy apply to luxury vehicles?

When filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy, whether or not you can keep your car and continue making payments on it varies depending on the state you live in. In some states, any secured debt payments are considered "allowable withholdings" and are retained during the bankruptcy process. However, in other states, the decision is made by the bankruptcy court.

If you have a luxury or sports car and want to keep it, you'll need to prove to the court that it's a necessary expenditure and that you're able to make timely payments on it while keeping up with the chapter 13 payment plan. If the court approves your plan, you'll be able to keep and pay off your vehicle during the 3-5 year payment plan, even if it's a luxury car.

3. Surrendering your car in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Are you struggling to keep up with your car payments while trying to manage your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? Surrendering your vehicle could be a viable solution. By surrendering your car, you can alleviate the burden of an expensive car payment and focus on fulfilling the rest of your payment plan. This option is particularly beneficial if you don't have the extra income to cover the car payment on top of your other expenses.

Bottom Line

Now that you know your options, let's discuss how to keep your car during bankruptcy. The good news is that in most cases, you can keep your vehicle, whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, it will require some effort on your part.

But before you decide to keep your car, ask yourself, "Is it in my best interest to do so?" Consider your priorities and make a difficult decision based on your circumstances.

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