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What happens to the personal property in your repossessed car?

If you are delinquent on your car payments, you can expect your lender to repossess your vehicle. While traumatic for you, car repossessions are exceedingly common in the U.S. In fact, according to reporting from CBS News, even many Americans with good credit scores are having to deal with them after falling behind on payments.

While your lender probably has the legal authority to retake possession of your car, truck of SUV, the bank does not have a claim to anything inside it. That is, the lender cannot take your personal property. Still, if you leave your belongings in your vehicle, they are likely to stay with it.

Make a plan

Your repossession should not come as a surprise to you, as your loan documents undoubtedly explain when, how and why the lender can retake your vehicle. Therefore, if you have missed payments or violated other terms, it probably makes sense to empty your car of your personal belongings.

Talk to the tow truck driver

Even though most car repossessions happen quickly, you might be able to talk to the tow truck driver. If you can do so safely and quickly, the driver might allow you to remove personal items from your vehicle. Otherwise, you should get the name of the company and find out where the driver is taking your car.

Call the company

To retake possession of your personal property, you may need to call the tow company or your lender and make arrangements. Because neither the tow company nor your lender has a legal claim to your personal belongings, someone should tell you how you can retrieve them.

Ultimately, to boost your chances of getting your stuff back, it is critical to take prompt and decisive action in the immediate aftermath of vehicle repossession.