Owning a car is essential for most people. It is how they get to work, take their kids to appointments and manage dozens of responsibilities throughout a normal week. Without a vehicle, you might be in the embarrassing situation of having to bum rides, borrow vehicles or use public transportation.

If you have fallen behind on your car payments, you may be worried that you could end up in just such a circumstance. Since auto loans typically use the vehicle as collateral, it is common for lenders to initiate the repossession process relatively soon after you miss a payment. You certainly don’t want to face the humiliation of a repossession, but is hiding your vehicle the best way to avoid this?

The truth about repossession

It is understandable that if someone wants to take your vehicle, your instinct is to hide it. You may park it in a field behind your Tennessee house, stash it in a friend’s shed or keep it locked in your own garage. You may even think that if you park your vehicle in your neighbor’s driveway, the repossession agents cannot take it since it is on private property. This is one of the many myths people believe about repossession. Here are some facts that may clarify what you are facing:

  • The longer the repossession company must look for your vehicle, the more they charge the lender, who may add that expense to what you owe.
  • Repossession agents watch your house and learn your schedule so they know when you are likely to leave the vehicle unattended.
  • Agents can take your vehicle from any public place, such as the parking lot where you work or shop, or even the gas pump if you go inside to pay.
  • They may take your vehicle from your own property or other private property as long as they do not disturb the peace or damage your belongings.
  • In some jurisdictions, repossession agents can take your vehicle from your garage as long as they don’t break the lock while doing so.

Another important thing to remember is that many lenders consider it fraud if you hide your vehicle from a lawful repossession. This is because you agreed to the repossession in case of default when you signed your contract with the lender. By hiding the vehicle, you may be at risk of criminal and civil charges. Instead, your best course of action may be to seek the counsel of an attorney who can inform you of the numerous alternatives for those who are struggling with the burden of overwhelming debt.