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What is the Difference Between a Lien and a Repossession?

  • 2 min read

A lien and a repossession are two different things that can happen to a vehicle owner. A lien is a legal claim made by a lender, such as a bank or credit union, on the vehicle, as collateral for a loan. A lien remains on the vehicle until the loan is paid in full and the lender provides a lien release, which is a document that states that the lien has been satisfied and the lender no longer has any claim to the vehicle.

On the other hand, a repossession occurs when a lender takes back the vehicle because the borrower has failed to make loan payments. Repossessions happen without the borrower’s consent and can be a stressful and disruptive experience. The lender may sell the repossessed vehicle to recoup their losses, but the borrower is still responsible for paying off the remaining loan balance.

In summary, the main difference between a lien and a repossession is that a lien is a legal claim on the vehicle, while a repossession is the actual taking back of the vehicle by the lender. A lien can be released once the loan is paid in full, while a repossession can have long-lasting consequences for the borrower’s credit and finances.

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