Typically, a lender has the right to repossess your vehicle after you are thirty days late on a single payment. Each lender has its own policy, each state has its own guidelines, and the lender may not tell you how many payments you can miss without a repossession. If they did, it might encourage late payments, human nature being what it is and all. Having said that, if you are late on your payment, there are other things that will be considered before repossession takes place.
Do You Have a Record of Late Payments?
Many lenders will look at the total number of late payments that you have made. If it is your first late payment, repossession may not come into play. Secondly, if you have contacted the lender about a temporary financial hardship, repossession may come off the table.
On the other hand, if you have a habit of sending your payments a few days late or this is your second payment overdue by 30 days or more, your vehicle may be repossessed immediately. If you are overdue and are avoiding the calls from the lender, it may appear as if you intend to stop paying altogether, so the repo company may be on its way.
Many lenders have a program in place to help you avoid repossession. You may not be offered the program unless you specifically ask. The key to avoiding a repossession may lie in simply picking up the phone and being honest with your lender. In such a case, communication is key. This should allow you to avoid any unwanted surprises, like a recovery team knocking on your door in the middle of the night. If you decide that you just can’t keep making your payments, a voluntary repossession is often a better alternative to an involuntary one.