How Long After Bankruptcy Can I Get a Car Loan?

How Long After Bankruptcy Can I Get a Car Loan?

Bankruptcy is a very unfortunate event that can have a domino effect on a person’s ability to do things or receive benefits. One major obstacle it can cause is hampering the ability to get a car loan. However, it is not impossible. Yes, it is possible for a bankrupt borrower to get a loan for getting a car. But, it is a tricky and long-drawn process, with a lot of probing and inquiry that the borrower should be prepared for. In this article we will examine the entire process.


Filing For Bankruptcy

Under the terms of the federal bankruptcy code, an individual can declare bankruptcy in two manners covered under chapter 7 and chapter 13. Depending upon which chapter you file for bankruptcy  under, it can have slightly different impacts on your creditworthiness.


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

If an individual files for bankruptcy under the terms of chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code, it is known as filing a liquidation bankruptcy. What this means is that the individual is authorizing the court to seize and sell their assets (liquidating them) in return for clearing any and all debt that they have.

The court, by liquidating the assets can make up some money which can be used for paying off the borrower’s debts as far as possible, and erasing any record of their debts completely.

The whole process for this can take anywhere between one month to six months.

It is important to note that the effect of this bankruptcy filing reflects in your credit report for 10 years. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you cannot seek a loan for this duration. Although the record stays in your report and your credit score goes down, there are various things you can try to get a car or other type of loan.


Chapter 13 Filing

A bankruptcy filing under the terms of chapter 13 of the code indicates that the borrower does not have the means to completely pay off their debts in the required timeframe. However, through this type of filing, they are indicating the intent to retain their assets. Unlike chapter 7, filing under Chapter 13 does not authorize the court to seize and sell off the borrower’s assets to erase their debt.

Instead, this type of bankruptcy allows the borrower to seek a different route and work a plan which enables them to get a three year to five year period over which they can pay off their debts. This is a suitable option for those who have precious assets which they do not want to let go of.

A record of bankruptcy filed under chapter 13 remains on the borrower’s credit history for seven years. This period starts after the process is completed. However, as with the chapter 7 filing, this seven year period does not deprive the borrower of the opportunity to seek or get a loan. Nevertheless, they must be ready to jump through various hoops to obtain the loan successfully.


Lender Finding Challenges

Irrespective of which kind of bankruptcy you file for, it will generally be equally tough to get a car loan approved from a lender. A lot of banks are, in fact, reluctant to engage with bankrupt borrowers at all. As such, these individuals should approach credit unions, online lenders, or try in-house car financing.

The reason behind this denial is that the first thing a lender checks is the borrower’s credit score, which, through bankruptcy filing, goes significantly down. To lenders, this comes off as a higher risk of losing money due to the borrowers established history of not being able to pay back.

Additionally, any lender who is willing to engage with a bankrupt borrower, will impose a very heavy interest rate in return for the loan. But that is not all. The majority of lenders (if not all), will also impose a very big origination fees which the borrower needs to pay in order to acquire the loan.


Getting A Loan After Bankruptcy

Borrowers, willing to overcome the challenges which lenders pose to get a car loan can take some measures to increase their chances of getting the loan approved. Although the specifics for each case may vary, some things you can try include the following.


Find A Co-Signer

One of the simplest ways to acquire a car loan after declaring bankruptcy is by finding someone to become a co-signer for your loan. A co-signer is a person who becomes liable to pay off the loan in case the primary borrower fails to repay it.

But, when choosing a co-signer, it is essential to find someone who has a great credit score and history, and is willing to take on the responsibility in the event of your failure to comply with the loan terms. Based on an assessment of your application and  financial standing, as well as that of the co-signer, the  lenders may be willing to offer you the loan, in some cases at a favorable interest rate as well.


Improve Credit Score

Bankruptcy destroys your credit score. But, that does not mean  it cannot be rebuilt or improved. Though it may take time, it is essential for people to start working to improve their credit history to be eligible for any advantages it brings.

In order to do that, there are a few steps that you can take. Firstly, start paying off any bills and debts which are achievable for you. This is one of the top ways to improve your credit score. Secondly, you must assess your credit history to check for any errors in reporting. You would want to set the record straight which will reflect in the improvement of your credit score.



 Qualifying for a car loan even in case you are bankrupt is not impossible, but incredibly hard. It is essential to have patience and follow a structured approach when filing for bankruptcy and subsequently finding lenders for the loan. Through conscious efforts to improve your credit score and finding other means to strengthen your case, you can find a lender willing to provide the required loan.