I had personal belongings in my car when it was repossessed. Can I get my things back?

Question

My car loan lender had my car repossessed. I had clothes, CDs, an iPod, and some other items in the car. In addition, I had previously installed a $500 stereo system. Can I get my things back?

Answer

If the repossessor takes your motor vehicle, you’re entitled to get back all your personal belongings inside of, but not attached to, the vehicle when it was repossessed. This means that you can get back your gym shorts, but not the $500 stereo system you installed. (You are entitled to a removable radio, however.)

Act Quickly. Also, make sure you look at your loan agreement. Some say that you must make that request within 24 hours of the repossession. Although such time limits may not hold up in court, it’s safest to act quickly.

How to get items back. Promptly contact the lender after your vehicle is repossessed and ask that your property be returned. Put the request in writing and list everything you left in the car. If the lender is uncooperative -- which is unlikely -- consider suing in small claims court. (To learn how to do this, see the articles in our Small Claims Court area.)

For more articles on car repossession, see our Repossession of Cars & Personal Property area.

Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Need professional help? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Get debt relief now.

We've helped 205 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you