What Happens to License Plates When Car is Repossessed?

February 19, 2024

Car repossession is a frightening prospect. All it takes is a single missed payment to trigger it, and you're suddenly living in the Catch-22 of needing your car to get around but not having enough money to keep it. Thankfully, it's possible to remove the car's license plates before your lender's repo man shows up on your doorstep. However, this tactic could also be illegal and may cause more problems for you in the long run. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting caught.

Change the Plate Number

The first thing you should do is change the vehicle identification number (VIN) of your car, to make it more difficult for repossession agents to identify it. You should also cover the license plate to prevent anyone from identifying your car as it passes by, though this can be risky. In most states, it's illegal to hide a VIN or obscure it in any way.

Hide It

If you have a garage at home, you can try to stash your car in it. But remember that repossession companies are allowed to enter private property and take a car if it's there, so they'll likely find it even if you hide the vehicle in your own garage.

If you want to reinstate your license plate, you'll need to pay any outstanding fees associated with the repossession. This includes any towing, storage, or legal fees you might owe, as well as proof of insurance, which is required in most states. You'll also need to submit any other necessary documents.


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