If you default on your car loan, the lender has the right to repossess and sell your vehicle because your car is the collateral for the loan. But unless the loan papers you signed state otherwise, the creditor doesn't have a right to keep or sell any other property. The creditor must also use reasonable care to prevent others from causing loss or damage to your belongings. So, you have a right to get your personal belongings back. However, this right is not without some limits.
The car loan lender must preserve and return loose items such as clothing, tools, jewelry, and cellphones.
Usually, though, the creditor doesn't have to return any fixtures, customizations, or improvements you made to the vehicle. For instance, the creditor doesn't have to disassemble and return sound systems, tire rims, or GPS devices that were installed on the car. If tools are required to uninstall your property, you might not be able to get it back. Instead, the creditor can sell the vehicle with those fixtures.
In most states, creditors can't charge you a fee for storing or returning your personal property. Creditors usually only have a right to charge you storage fees pertaining to the car itself. So, the repo agent hired by a creditor to take the car also can't charge you money or a "convenience fee" to let you get your things back before the vehicle is towed away.
Here are some ways to get your items back.
If the creditor refuses to cooperate in returning your property, or if items are missing or damaged, you might have a claim against the creditor. In some instances, it might be a crime for a creditor to wrongfully keep and sell your property. You should contact your state attorney general office or state consumer protection agency, or consult with a local attorney.