Repossession fees vary widely depending on your location and the details of your individual case.
They involve many different kinds of charges, some of which may depend on the laws of your state and the way in which you respond to a repossession action by your lender. (Our related research details the vehicle repossession laws by state.)
In general, repossession fees will cost several hundred dollars at a minimum, even if your vehicle was only repossessed for a single day. If it takes longer for you to resolve your case or for your lender to sell the car, your fees may add up to thousands of dollars.
Repossession fees are typically comprised of four different kinds of charges: lender fees, repossession agency fees, local municipality fees, and legal fees. Below, we detail each fee type.
We gathered this information by contact lenders and repo agents in various states and viewing government policies online.
Lender fees involve both specific charges for a repossession action and late fees for failing to make timely loan payments.
Some lenders charge 10% of the overdue amount as a late charge, although this will vary among financial institutions.
Your fees may also include any costs the lender requires to prepare the vehicle for sale.
While accrued interest may not be strictly considered a repossession fee, you will need to pay it if you want to get your car back.
For more information on redeeming your vehicle, see our research on your rights after repossession.
Repo Agency Fees (Including Storage)
Repossession agencies charge for accumulated recovery, towing, locksmithing, and storage.
Third-party reports indicate that there’s little uniformity in the fee structures of various repossession agents. Some agents told us that they charge $375 and up for repossessing a vehicle.
Agencies typically charge storage fees on a daily basis, which can add up quickly. We spoke with companies in Florida, Kansas, and Oregon, and their fees ranged between $20 and $50 per day for storage.
Say it takes you one week to bring your loan current — that would mean $140 to $350 in storage fees alone.
However, note that some states do place a maximum on how much repossession agencies can charge you.
If required by your contract with your lender, you may be responsible for legal fees related to the repossession, such as attorney fees and court costs.
The exact fees vary by location and the details of your contract, and will usually be included in your total lender fees rather than charged separately.
County or City Fees
While most areas don’t levy local municipality fees, some do.
For instance, Los Angeles County charges a $15 fee to file a report of repossession and requires you to obtain a physical receipt if your vehicle gets repossessed, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.