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Automobile Repossession in Illinois

Robert J. Adams and Associates Oct. 21, 2020

This is a general outline provided by ROBERT J. ADAMS & ASSOCIATES. Offices in Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois

The primary practice of ROBERT J. ADAMS & ASSOICATES is Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Robert J. Adams & Associatea stops finance companies from repossessing your car & helps get cars back. 

When you finance the purchase of a car you give the lender a lien on the car. Likewise, it you own your automobile free of liens and borrow money against it (like a Title Loan) the lender has a lien on your car.

In Illinois lenders who have a lien on your car has the legal right of self-help if there is a default. They can repossess your car if you fall behind on the payments.


  1. Do they have to you notice: NO

  2. Can they repossess a car on private property? The law says “No” but it often ignored

  3. How far behind do you have to be for a repo? It is up to them: 1 month is enough

  4. What about personal property in the car? The law says they have to inventory the contents and allow you retrieve your personal property.

  5. What if I voluntarily turn in my car? Is there any benefit to me? Not really. It treated as repossession the same as any other repo.


  1. If you want the car file Chapter 13. See below for more details

  2. Do nothing. The lender will sell your car in any “commercially” reasonable way. That usually means it will be sold at auction. Only professional go to theses auctions. They are looking for the lowest price possible. This means there will likely be a large deficiency and they will likely sue you.

  3. If you don’t want the car or just afford it then consider filing Chapter 7 to get a “fresh start.”


When your car is repossessed the lender will demand the full balance plus the cost of the repossession to get the car back with two (2) exceptions:

  1. Assuming you paid 30 percent of the total amount due for your vehicle (including the down payment), your vehicle should be returned to you if you can pay the back payment and costs within 15 days. However, this is true only for the first repossession.

  2. Assuming you paid more than 60 percent of the deferred price and you are willing to surrender the car, the finance company has two options: keep the car as full payment, or return the car and sue for the balance of the loan.


When you file Chapter 13 the lender cannot repossess your car or threaten to do so.

If your car has been repossessed you can get your car back.

Chapter 13 can restructure your car loan. You start from scratch almost like a new car loan. And, the interest rate is generally lower. The plan can be 3 to 5 years.

If you have owned you are for more than 910 days and the retail value is less than the balance Robert J. Adams & Associates can bifurcate (“cram down”) to its value. Also, Robert J. Adams & Associates can bifurcate (“cram down”) any Title Loan.