Maybe you lost your job or had to take an expensive trip to the emergency room, so for whatever reason, you don’t have enough money to make your car payment.
You want to avoid repossession at all costs. If your car is repossessed, you will not only lose the vehicle, but it’s likely you will still have to pay on your outstanding loan. The repossession will severely damage your credit score and make it nearly impossible for you to get another car loan.
If you know you might be late or miss a payment, do not stay quiet. Call your lender immediately and politely ask for help.
They may be able to give you a 30-day grace period or refinance your loan. Refinancing depends largely on a number of personal factors such as your payment history, the reasons why you cannot pay and your credit score.
If you are able to refinance, your goal is to extend the number of months you have to pay off the loan, therefore lowering your monthly payment. Though you will pay more in interest in the long-term, what’s most important right now is that you keep your car and avoid repossession. Remember that it’s possible to refinance again in the future if your situation changes.
However, if you are upside down on your payments, meaning that you owe more on the loan than the car is worth, refinancing may be more difficult. A car loan is called a secured loan and is secured by your car. So if you owe $20,000 on a car worth only $15,000, the bank is taking on $5,000 in unsecured debt. To combat the risk, the lender will likely charge you a higher interest rate. Make sure you get all new loan terms in writing from your lender.
If you can’t refinance and keep your car, consider selling it. In order to sell your car, you will have to come up with enough money to pay off your car loan. If the car is worth as much or more than the loan, you can do this when you sell the car because the buyer will give you enough to pay off the loan.
You cannot sell a car that is still under an auto loan, so if the car is not worth enough to cover the loan, you must come up with the cash to cover the rest of what you owe on the loan at the point of sale.