Facing debt can be overwhelming, especially if you’re worried about losing your car. Understanding the rules about vehicle levy and repossession in Florida can help you protect your rights and your vehicle.

What Is a Vehicle Levy?

A vehicle levy is a legal process where a creditor can seize your car to pay off a debt. In Florida, this can only happen after a creditor has won a judgment against you in court.

Once the creditor gets a judgment, they can get a writ of execution, allowing them to levy (or take) your car to satisfy the debt.

How Does Repossession Work?

A repossession is different than a vehicle levy. In Florida, repossession happens when you finance or lease a car and fail to make the payments. The lender has the right to repossess the car without going to court, as long as they follow Florida law and the terms of your contract.

The lender can take the car from your property without prior notice if you default on the loan.

Can Any Creditor Take Your Car in Florida?

Not all creditors can take your car. Only creditors with a secured interest in the vehicle, like a car loan lender, can repossess it without a court order.

Unsecured creditors, like credit card companies, must file a lawsuit and obtain a judgment and a writ of execution before they can levy your car.

How to Protect Your Car from Creditors

You can use Florida asset protection laws to protect your car from being taken by creditors.

First Florida law allows you to exempt up to $1,000 in equity in your vehicle.

Second, you can trade in your vehicle to obtain a financed or leased vehicle. A car that has little or no equity is not an attractive collection target to a judgment creditor.