Upside Down on Automobile Mortgage – Chapter 13 Cram Down Provisions and Chapter 7 Redemption

Purchasers usually discover themselves in want of debt aid due to a automobile mortgage gone badly.

Modern-day society necessitates proudly owning and sustaining an car which typically evolves right into a devastating monetary burden. Lenders are fast in financing automobiles figuring out debtors extremely prioritize car transportation over most different monetary obligations. Even debtors with below-average credit are fitted into an car financing packages priced at excessive rates of interest to compensate aggressive lenders for the added threat.

Monetary problem usually arises from auto financing. The joyful automobile purchaser drives their new car off the lot financed practically 100%. Because the saying goes, virtually instantly thereafter, the brand new car depreciates in worth a number of thousand {dollars} earlier than it’s even hits the freeway.

Vehicle transportation prices $4,000.00 to $6,000.00 yearly together with auto mortgage funds, legal responsibility and collision insurance coverage, repairs and upkeep and gasoline.

Havoc begins when an sudden automobile restore not coated by guarantee, or a motorcar accident, unexpectedly and considerably decreases the worth of the car far beneath the excellent mortgage stability owed to the financial institution. Or, maybe extra harmlessly, on a trade- in for a brand new car the place keen automobile salespersons and lenders agree to absorb your previous car on commerce, and throw the remaining excellent stability out of your previous automobile mortgage (for slightly increased fee) on the back-end of your new auto mortgage leaving the brand new automobile purchaser significantly ‘upside-down’ on the brand new car buy.

These conditions depart the borrower in a predicament the place sizable parts of earnings are devoted in the direction of masking an unsecured auto debt obligation that’s of no use in the direction of sustaining modest prices of requirements for household residing.

Beneath sure circumstances aid from these devastating monetary predicaments could be obtained by a chapter submitting.


Beneath Chapter 13 of the US Chapter Code, Debtors are permitted to ‘Cram Down’ the unsecured portion of their auto loans to the truthful market worth of the car securing the mortgage. This requires debtors to pay again solely the secured portion of the auto mortgage, however the unsecured stability is handled as a normal unsecured collectors offering substantial profit for the Debtor, allowing Debtor to solely pay a small fraction of the unsecured portion of the auto mortgage debt that’s owed.

For example, let’s suppose our debtor owns a automobile value $10,000.00 and there may be an auto mortgage with a payoff stability of $20,000.00. On this situation, the mortgage is just partially secured. The auto lender is secured solely to the extent of the worth of the car or $10,000.00. The remaining $10,000.00 stability on the mortgage is unsecured. On this state of affairs the Chapter Code affords the Debtor the proper to chop off the unsecured portion of the auto mortgage and deal with that portion of the mortgage as unsecured. So, if Basic Unsecured Collectors had been solely receiving a dividend of 20%, the auto lender would obtain solely $2,000.00 on its unsecured portion of the auto mortgage.

These conditions change into sticky between Debtor and Lender as a result of usually disagreements come up as to the proper worth of the car. Your chapter legal professional might want to negotiate a settlement over the valuation earlier than affirmation of the Debtor’s Chapter 13 plan.

Valuation is guided underneath provisions of the US Chapter code, particularly 11 U.S. Code § 506 – Willpower of Secured Standing.

11 USC §506(a)(2) particularly states:

“If the debtor is a person in a case underneath chapter 7 or 13, such worth with respect to non-public property securing an allowed declare shall be decided based mostly on the alternative worth of such property as of the date of the submitting of the petition with out deduction for prices of sale or advertising and marketing. With respect to property acquired for private, household, or family functions, alternative worth shall imply the worth a retail service provider would cost for property of that sort contemplating the age and situation of the property on the time worth is set” emphasis added

The Cram Down provision underneath the chapter code additionally offers for a discount of the rate of interest on the auto mortgage. Usually Debtors discover themselves shelling out huge auto funds used to cowl exorbitant rates of interest auto lenders usually cost to dangerous debtors.

An fascinating exception was enacted underneath the 2005 Amendments to the US Chapter Code prohibiting cram downs the place the acquisition cash auto mortgage was originated inside 910 days (2 ½ years) of the submitting date of the Chapter 13 chapter [see 11 U.S.C §1325(a)(9)]. Debtors should think about timing of a Chapter 13 submitting in the event that they need to flee the burden of a burdensome auto mortgage debt. Chapter guidelines require automobile loans taken out inside 2 ½ years of the chapter submitting have to be paid as agreed.


Cram downs usually are not permitted underneath Chapter 7 chapter (or ‘straight chapter’). However, Chapter 7 debtors are permitted to ‘redeem’ private property underneath 11 U.S.C. §722.

11 U.S.C. §722 offers as follows:

“A person debtor might… redeem tangible private property meant primarily for private, household, or family use, from a lien securing a dischargeable shopper debt, if such property is exempted underneath part 522 of this title or has been deserted underneath part 554 of this title, by paying the holder of such lien the quantity of the allowed secured declare of such holder that’s secured by such lien in full on the time of redemption.” emphasis added

Redemption, nevertheless, could be troublesome underneath Chapter 7 as a result of debtors should pay upfront in full a lump sum of money an quantity enough to pay the secured portion of the auto mortgage measured by the truthful market worth of the car on the time Debtor seeks to redeem the car. Chapter 7 doesn’t allow a restructuring of the mortgage, however typically the auto lender will settle for funds over time, however often inside a brief time period.


In case your car is value lower than you owe on it, chapter choices could be advantageous in the direction of affording you to retain your car and transfer in the direction of higher monetary well being.

Chapter 13 can scale back or ‘cram down’ your mortgage stability and rates of interest thereby decreasing your auto fee making it inexpensive. Chapter 13 additionally allows you to restructure overdue auto funds and unfold them over the time period of the Chapter 13 plan so you possibly can afford to catch up the overdue funds inside your private monetary means.

Chapter 7 chapter doesn’t accommodate restructuring of mortgage repayments however the §722 redemption provisions permit debtors to buy their automobiles out of chapter for the truthful market worth of the car, leaving the unsecured portion of the debt discharged underneath the Chapter 7 chapter.

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