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Bankruptcy And Car Loans

This article will help address the concept of bankruptcy and car loans. One of the myths of bankruptcy is that you can’t keep a car when filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Another myth is that old car loans are not addressed by bankruptcy. There is good news regarding both of these situations.

Protecting The Equity In Your Car

When you file bankruptcy, the primary question you face regarding your car is related to equity. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of your car and the loan balance. If your car is worth $10,000 and you have a loan balance of $7,000, you have $3,000 in equity. Equity is an asset in bankruptcy and you must protect or “exempt” it by using the appropriate bankruptcy code exemption.

Generally, there are two exemptions you can apply to vehicle equity. First, there is a specific exemption under N.C.G.S. Sec. 1C-1601(a)(3). This allows for an exemption of $3,500 in equity in a vehicle. In the analysis above, claiming that exemption would protect your car. If you had additional equity above $3,500, you could also elect to use the Miscellaneous Property “Wild Card” exemption under N.C.G.S. Sec. 1C-1601(a)(2), which gives you another $5,000 to protect any property you like.

Keeping Your Car In Bankruptcy

If you want to keep your car in bankruptcy, after protecting any equity you have, you will then need to reaffirm your car loan. The general rule is if you want to keep the property, you need the keep the loan that comes with it. This is easy to do. When you file your bankruptcy, you simply elect to reaffirm the debt. Your vehicle lender will prepare a reaffirmation agreement at the same terms you currently have. You will sign and file this document as part of your bankruptcy process. As a result, your payments will resume and you can keep your car.

Surrendering Your Car In Bankruptcy

One upside to the analysis of bankruptcy and car loans is that you can also choose to surrender your car. You may choose to do this if you have negative equity or simply know the car needs repairs and you don’t want to keep it. By surrendering the property in bankruptcy, you are protected from your vehicle lender pursuing you for any loss they take on the sale of the vehicle.

Vehicle Repossessions In Bankruptcy

If you have prior vehicle repossessions, bankruptcy will address that lingering debt as well. If you’re filing bankruptcy and old car loans are still showing on your credit report, they will be discharged as part of the bankruptcy. This eliminates your exposure to these items.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, it’s important that you speak with a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.

Does Bankruptcy Include Car Loans?

If you’re wondering, does bankruptcy include car loans, the answer is yes it does. When filing bankruptcy, you actually get a choice when it comes to car loans. This article addresses a few scenarios regarding car loans in bankruptcy, and we hope it’s helpful. If you have further questions or would like to take next steps to file, call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out shortly.

Repossessed Vehicle Car Loans

If you have an old car debt still lingering on your credit report, a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will address the debt. You will not have to pay the face value on the debt and there’s nothing the creditor can do to keep you from discharging the debt. As long as the property (the car) has been returned to the lender, or totaled out by your insurance company due to an accident, the bankruptcy filing will address the old car debt.

Can I Keep The Car I’m Driving?

If you currently have a car with a loan, you can choose to keep the car and the loan, when you file bankruptcy. Nothing will change between you and your vehicle lender. The general rule is if you want to keep the car, you have to keep the debt. However, you can also surrender your car to the lender and force them to take the debt with it. Bankruptcy puts you in a powerful position in this regard.

What If I’m Behind On Car Payments?

If you’re behind on car payments you’ll need to file a Chapter 13 to allow you to catch up on the payments. This is a great solution which allows you to keep the car, and forces the lender to give you some time to catch up. You can file a Chapter 7 if you’re behind but by the time your 341 meeting comes, you’ll need to be current on payments. You can also choose to Redeem Your Vehicle in a Chapter 7.

What Happens When I Surrender A Vehicle In Bankruptcy?

If you choose to surrender the vehicle in bankruptcy, you simply need to make arrangement with the lender to deliver the car to them, or allow them to pick up the car at a location you designate. This can be your house, work, or some other location. You will most likely be able to drive the vehicle a few weeks after the bankruptcy filing, but arrangements will need to be made to physically deliver the car to the lender quickly.

What If I Need A New Car?

Most clients in need of a new car, purchase one right before filing bankruptcy. Then, when the bankruptcy is filed, the client indicates they want to keep the new car and the new car loan. They also indicate they want to surrender the old car and the old car loan. It’s tougher to get a loan right after filing bankruptcy, which is why this order of things tends to work. Again, the new car lender relationship is not complicated by the bankruptcy filing. You’ll continue to make payments on the new car through the bankruptcy and after.

Speak With A Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Today

Does bankruptcy include car loans? YES. If you have questions about whether bankruptcy includes car loans, please feel free to call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.