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Can I Keep My Car If I File For Bankruptcy?

It’s a fairly common scenario: While trying to juggle credit card bills and other debts, you end up getting behind on your car payments. Then one day you leave work to find out your car is missing from the parking lot. The lender has repossessed it.

I’m Memphis, Tennessee, bankruptcy attorney Ben Sissman. If your car has been repossessed, or if you are afraid of losing your car, I can help. I offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and answer your questions.

Can I Keep My Car If I File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy usually provides a way for you to keep your car. However, this is a complex issue that needs to be discussed with a bankruptcy attorney.

The following options are available when you file
Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • If you own a car, you can keep it under either the Tennessee or federal bankruptcy exemptions as long as it does not exceed a certain value.
  • If you owe money on a car, you can keep it by
    reaffirming the debt and continuing to make payments. If the car is worth less than the amount of money that you owe, you may be able to reduce the amount you owe to the current market value.
  • If you owe money on an older car, you can discharge the debt. Depending on the liquidation value of the car, the lender may not bother to pick it up. In that case, you can keep the car.
  • If your car has been repossessed, you can get the car back by promptly filing bankruptcy. You need to act before the car is sold at auction.

If you own a car that you would lose when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy (for example, a car that is worth more than is allowed by state or federal bankruptcy exemptions, a collectible car or a second car), you can keep it if you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

As your lawyer, I will use my more than 30 years of experience to help you determine the best way to protect your car.