Car finance is a secured debt and not included if you go bankrupt. However whether you will be allowed to keep your vehicle will depend on your circumstances.
Jump to article contents:
- Is car finance included in Bankruptcy?
- Will you be allowed to keep paying for the car?
- Can you return the car and include the debt?
- Getting Car Finance after Bankruptcy
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Is Car Finance included in Bankruptcy?
Car finance normally comes in the form of HP (Hire Purchase) or PCP (Personal Contract Purchase). Both these types of finance are secured against your vehicle. As such they cannot be automatically included in bankruptcy.
You have to keep paying the agreement or the car will be repossessed. If you go bankrupt most car finance companies will be happy for you to keep your car as long as your payments do not get into arrears
Having said that it is vital that you check with the company you are using regarding their policy before going bankrupt.
Some car finance companies will automatically cancel your agreement and repossess the vehicle if you go bankrupt. You should check out their policy before submitting your application.
Will the Official Receiver allow you to keep paying for your car?
Once you are bankrupt your circumstances will be reviewed by the Official Receiver (OR). They will decide whether they will allow you to keep your car and maintain the payments. This will depend on a number of things.
Firstly they will consider whether you have a valid reason for keeping the car. Generally speaking it will be OK if you need it to get to work, for family commitments or have a specific medical requirement.
Secondly they consider the value of the car. They will calculate this by taking the current second hand value and deducting the balance of the outstanding finance. There should not be a problem as long as the value less outstanding finance is £1000 or less.
Lastly the OR will look at the monthly payment. As long as it is reasonable they should allow you to include it in your living expenses budget. As a rule of thumb a monthly payment of less than £200 should be allowed.
If the OR thinks your car finance payments are too high they can ask you to stop paying and return it to the finance company. In this situation you could still keep the vehicle if a third party helps with the payments.
Can you Return the Car and include the debt in Bankruptcy?
Car finance can be included in bankruptcy if you are prepared for your car to be repossessed. This may be the case where you have decided you no longer want it or can no longer maintain the payments.
In these circumstances you can cancel your payment and tell the finance company to come and collect the vehicle. Given you are no longer paying they will eventually do this and then sell it at an auction.
The money made from the sale is offset against the balance of the finance you owe. You are liable for any shortfall. However this is now an unsecured debt and as such it can be included in your bankruptcy.
If you have decided to allow your car to be repossessed it is a good idea to do this before going bankrupt. You can then put the money you save towards buying a replacement worth £1000 or less.
Getting Car Finance after Bankruptcy
Generally speaking you will not be able to get car finance during the year you are bankrupt. After you are discharged you are free to apply. However it will still not be easy.
Most lenders will continue to reject you for the next few years. This is because your credit rating will remain poor until the record of the bankruptcy comes off your credit file – normally 6 years from the start date.
Having said you might be able to borrow from an adverse lender (one who will lend to people with poor credit ratings). However you must be prepared to pay a significantly higher rate of interst.
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