Title loans provide a fast way to get cash when you need it. However, the lender takes the title to your property as collateral for the loan. If you default, you risk not only damaged credit but also the loss of your property altogether. When faced with losing your car or other property because of difficulty paying a title loan, debt settlement can prove an attractive option. Depending on the lender and your negotiation skills, you might settle your debt for as little as 25 percent or as much as 75 percent of the total you owe.
Review your title loan documents. You need to know the amount you currently owe on your title loan.
Look up your car's estimated value on the Kelley Blue Book website. To get a reasonably accurate estimate, write down your car's make, model and year as well as any special features it has. This information will help in estimating your car's value.
Compare the amount you still owe on your title loan with your car's estimated value. If your car's estimated value is much less than your current debt, the loan company may be more willing to negotiate a settlement. In such a case, the costs of seizing and reselling the car combined with the low amount the lender can expect to get for the car may make settlement more attractive.
Cease making payments on your loan. A title loan lender has little incentive to negotiate if your payments arrive regularly. Your lender may take you more seriously after 90 days with no payments.
Decide how much you can afford as a settlement payment. Most lenders will expect you to offer at least 20 percent, though they may counteroffer for more.
Send a settlement request letter to the title loan lender. Include your name, contact information and loan details, such as the initial loan amount and the amount you currently owe, in your letter. Add the car's current estimated value and your settlement offer, and explain why you cannot repay the loan.
Negotiate with the lender. Often, lenders either refuse an initial settlement offer or provide a counteroffer. Negotiate until you receive an offer you can afford. Persistence may pay off.
Get the settlement offer you accept in writing. Verbal agreements do not typically stand up in court.
- If a lender thinks it has little chance of collecting the full amount from you, settling may prove more attractive.
- If you have trouble negotiating a settlement on your own, you can hire a debt settlement company to help you.
- Make a low settlement offer at first. This way, you have some room to negotiate upwards if the lender refuses. If you start with a high offer, a lender's counteroffer may amount to more than you can afford.
- While missing payments may encourage a lender to accept your settlement offer, it does carry risks. First, a creditor will likely begin collections efforts and report your lateness to credit bureaus. Second, a lender can sue you for repayment if it doesn't agreed to settle. In addition, some states will allow the creditor to repossess and sell your car, even if you only owe a portion of your car's current worth.
- Avoid debt settlement companies that charge upfront fees. Choose one that only charges after negotiating settlements on your behalf.
Jordan Meyers has been a writer for 13 years, specializing in businesses, educational and health topics. Meyers holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Maryland and once survived writing 500 health product descriptions in just 24 hours.