Millions of drivers don't have to pay car loans due to the Covid pandemic – all you have to do is ask

OVER seven percent of all car loans in the US are on some sort hold – as car owners are unable to pay make their monthly payments due to the coronavirus pandemic and record levels of unemployment.

Missing a car payment can damage your credit score or even lead to the bank repossessing your vehicle, however due to the coronavirus recession most lenders are willing to forgive car owners if they ask for help.

According to recent data released by credit reporting agency TransUnion, over seven percent of all car loans in the US are currently on some sort of deferment program.

But good news for car owner, just like help is available with rent payments and unemployment benefits assistance for vehicle payments are accessible.

See what assistance your lender has to offer

Vehicle owner make sure to find out what kind of programs your bank, credit union or other auto loan provider may have available to you.

There may also be state laws that might offer some protections against repossession – which owners will want to find out about those.

  • Edmunds, a car reviewer and pricing guide publisher, has a list of all major manufacturers and their coronavirus relief programs if owners financed their cars through the dealer.
  • Owners who lease their vehicles, Edmunds has a separate list for that also.
  • Here is a list of banks and other financial institutions that have publicly announced coronavirus relief programs through the America's Bankers Association.
  • A list of all state coronavirus executive orders and laws is also available.

Most repos occur after two or three months of no payments

If you’ve fallen behind on your car payments (or think you will) for 90 days or longer, you may be at a high risk of having your car repossessed.

If you have never missed a payment before your financial hardship your lender may be more lenient, but the more often you’ve been late in the past the sooner they might attempt repossession.

One way around this is by researching a deferment or forbearance program.

What are auto loan deferment and how do they work?

Most lenders will report a late payment to the credit bureaus once it is at least 30 days overdue.

While most lenders will typically come take your vehicle away after you’ve missed three or more payments in a row.

A deferment or forbearance allows you to skip between one and three payments with no late fees or penalties.

After the deferment period ends, either your monthly payment will either go up slightly or your loan will be extended by about the same amount of time as the deferment.

One negative to this is your interest will continue to accrue during the months you skip your payment, so you’ll end up paying more for your vehicle in the long run.

Although, in the long run your miss payments will not show up as negative marks on your credit report.

What normally happens if you miss a payment?

In most states, a lender, like your bank, can start the repossession process the day after you missed your payment, even if it’s just your first time – although most companies give customers a grace period.

A times the lender won’t charge a late fee until the payment is at least 10 days late and most won’t report it to the three major credit bureaus until it’s over 30 days late.

If you go past 30 days and especially if you miss the next two payments in your loan cycle, that’s where the bank starts the processes of repossessing your vehicle.

What you should absolutely never do

Never try to hide your car from your bank or the repo company.

You’re probably not going to beat them at their own game, and the longer it take for them to find it the more they’re going to charge you for their services.

With banks demonstrating some compassion for customers during the pandemic, you might want to take advantage of one of their relief programs if you’re suffering through financial hardship.

If you have other bills keeping you up at night, such as rent relief as well as mortgage assistance, there is help for those issues also.

For taxes, credit cards and everything else here’s what other financial help is available.

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