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Message Board > Families / Partners of Addicts > Auto Loan

Posted by: Anauj May 5, 2019, 8:37 PM
Any thoughts out there on this... co-signed on auto loan for 27 year old son 1 year ago, after he had remained clean for 3 years... relapsed recently and loan is now in default. (60 days)

Probably driving uninsured also.

For the first time in my life, I have a red flag against my credit...

Posted by: mtnmom May 5, 2019, 9:03 PM
Yes, it will hurt your credit but if you have otherwise good credit it's not DEVASTATING.... We made the same mistake probably 25 years ago. Within 1 month of co-signing, son was fired from job & defaulted on all payments. We paid for about a year & then we insisted he sell it. A couple of years later we bought a new house & that was the ONLY problem on our credit & we had to write a letter of explanation. I think it helped because that we sold the car

Posted by: Walkedon May 5, 2019, 9:59 PM
I hope you can get thef car from him and sell it. Besides the hit to your credit what happens if he wrecks it and injured someone. You could be responsible for anything that happens.

Posted by: NyToFlorida May 5, 2019, 10:28 PM
I made that mistake several years ago. Won’t do t again. Our son wrecked the last car. We are not replacing it. He is not clean. After 6 yrs of helping, we have hit bottom. Kicked him out. It is a sad place to be at. you did a good deed for a good reason. Sorry he didn’t stay clean. Selling the car is only thing I can think of, or pay the loan off. They force us to make tough decisions.

Posted by: Sallyanna May 5, 2019, 10:59 PM
Does he still have the car? I would take it out of his possession. He defaulted on the agreement so he shouldn't have the car in my opinion.

Posted by: samegame May 6, 2019, 2:03 AM
You not the only one to get the nasty of that stick.

Saw a senior parent basically do something worse. They put the car in their name with the addict/alkie as the co signer. It took them a while to accept the gravity of their actions and paid for it because on the insurance especially they fronted the money on payments frequently never being reimbursed. This on top of an unpaid $25,000 loan with interest that wrecked their finances forever. They're fear was with no car their adult addict child wouldn't make it. The adult alkie/addict 'made it' but the drinking is worse. They still want to be carted around like a child by their soccer mom to avoid another drunk driving arrest-for now.

The alkie/addict must understand their are consequences to be paid for their choices. Especially choosing a behavior that others must experience with them over time. Consequences are cumulative. Anything done for the addict could be considered enabling because that's more time and resources for the alkie's/addicts habit.

I understand they were clean but apparently not self sufficient or able to accept the consequences of their previous choices-difficulty getting a car with lousy credit due to drinking or drugging is one of those consequences.

Posted by: Anauj May 6, 2019, 8:30 AM
Thank you all for your thoughts, comments. I don't feel nearly as alone! :)

Yesterday, I took control of the online account. For 1 year he faithfully made payments on time, usually early. I had no access to the account nor did I want any. This was a means of helping building his credit up.

Well... he was livid when he couldn't get into the account anymore!!! Now, he cannot "soft soap" the loan company with false promises, lies and fake deadlines.


Do I take possession of the car or let the professionals do it (in 30 days when it's 90 days overdue). That's what I'm wrestling with now. If I go get it, I have the added expense of storing it or "hiding" it somewhere so he can't come and get it. Next question: Are there fees involved if I gain control of the car after it's been reposessed?

After 11 years on this journey, one of the hardest things for me to endure is the constant lying. Addicts are master manipulators. But you all know that. Thanks and I feel I have a life line with this site!

Posted by: Sallyanna May 6, 2019, 9:02 AM
I'm not sure if this would work. Could you make the delinquent payments then sell the car? This way it's not repossessed. I'm not really sure though. Does he still have a job?

Posted by: BugginMe May 6, 2019, 9:20 AM
I think taking control is a good idea. Would be even better if you took it back. Do you have a key? Might consult with police to see if you can legally go drive it away. They might even send an escort to avoid trouble. You could also talk directly to the loan people to see what the fees would be if it is repossessed. Chances are you couldn’t get it back at that point. Maybe they have other ideas that don’t involve repossessing it. I was always too afraid to be on any loan my son had or to have my name on his car title to avoid liability in case he killed somebody in it. We did buy him quite a few cash cars that he destroyed and paid many a car payment for loans he was able to get. All those many cars are gone. Should have learned earlier but there was always a story and a need. He needed a car to get his life together but he never used it for that purpose. I am sorry you are in a pickle. May be no good way out but might be able to minimize the damage to you somehow. Might be better to just let it go or you will be in the middle forever. Your son will keep pestering you to get the car if you have it and you will be stuck with the payments and insurance. Do not repeat in the future.

Posted by: Parenting2 May 6, 2019, 10:03 AM

Oh my, no, you are not alone. We are all on this very disheartening journey.

You have done the right thing. And, as others have said, try to get the car back.

I wonder since you have had amazing credit, if the company would remove the hit to your credit if you make the back payments or something. You might check into some options.

Keep posting. Most likely anything you have experienced, one of us has!!

Posted by: Anauj May 6, 2019, 11:58 AM
Thanks everybody! Yes, he is working full time. (I thought a loan company could garnish your wages once a loan is in collections?)

Yes, 2 keys to the vehicle and I have one. Whoever suggested police escort - good idea.

I'll keep posting and when I'm not in crisis mode maybe I can help somebody else! :)

Posted by: samegame May 6, 2019, 12:40 PM
The car will probably be repossessed before wages are garnished. As cosigner you would have to start paying the bills. Unlike a others types of loans you wont' get dozens of phone calls a day reminding you to pay it will just be a few calls and nasty legal letters. Then a tow truck.

Posted by: NyToFlorida May 7, 2019, 12:11 AM
If it is worth the headache to be the ‘loan company’, you can let him have the car for 30 days when he makes a payment to you, and u need to see proof of insurance payment each month. Is he clean, is there a chance he is driving while impaired?

It is tough to take the car away when they are using it for work. Catch 22 for us. You don’t want to be the ‘car’ police. But u will end up ‘paying’ one way or another.

Another thought: maybe your son can refinance the loan without your cosign, or take a personal loan without your cosign to pay off the car loan.

Posted by: Anauj May 14, 2019, 2:05 PM
For those who posted thank you! Today has been a good day as my son finally paid the auto loan up to date - $500.00. I can breathe a little bit, for now anyway. Next payment due June 9th, so we'll see. I did learn the car was not registered so I paid that (for my peace of mind) but I fully expect payment from him for the $44.00.

Learned that the car has been insured also so that was an added bonus. Once the dust settles (does that ever truly happen?) I will explore options with him regarding him refinancing with another company and getting my name off the loan. Live and learn...

I also remain the only person with access to the Loan Company Website so I can monitor moving forward if he defaults again. I'm hopeful he doesn't but you all know how that goes.


Posted by: Anauj May 16, 2019, 10:56 AM
Had a 2 1/2 visit with my son yesterday. We reconnected and had great dialogue regarding the Auto Loan. Hopeful for a brighter future! Yesterday I was a thankful Mom. He looks great and I saw NO signs of anything that would be concerning to me. We always keep our guards up though, don't we. Thank You All...

Posted by: Sallyanna May 16, 2019, 10:42 PM
Great news Anauj. Sounds like he is doing much better. Maybe he had a slip but not a full blown relapse. Thank you for the update.

Posted by: Parenting2 May 22, 2019, 3:03 AM
I am glad to hear that! We have to celebrate each positive moment!!

Posted by: mtnmom May 23, 2019, 12:05 AM

Posted by: Anauj May 23, 2019, 9:29 AM
Thanks for your kind words. I agree... we do have to celebrate every single POSITIVE moment... I love this site but haven't had a ton of time lately to check it out.

Posted by: Anauj May 27, 2019, 6:37 PM
Not out of the woods yet which is always the case with addiction. Yesterday I ran into my son's roommate driving MY car. I was blown away! We talked for a long time and I told him he needs to be very careful because I'm not sure it's insured. When I asked my son if he got car insurance yet, he didn't respond. My son is working full time and a ton of overtime - bringing home nice paychecks. Roommate actually referred to it as "our car" and stated he gives my son $100 gas money per week. They both drive it! I made it VERY CLEAR - "That is MY car" that you're driving. What are the odds of me running into this guy? But on the plus side, he gave me a TON of information on my son - most of which is pretty good but a few red flags. No need to respond. I'm just crawling out of my skin today. Widowed for 2 years and holidays are tough.

Posted by: NyToFlorida May 27, 2019, 7:27 PM
Talk your son into paying off the loan. He’s making extra money and has a roommate, he should be able to swing $500 a month or more to get you off the loan hook sooner.

driving w out ins is an arrestable offense. Police can scan license plates and run them thru an insurance data base to see if the car is insured. That happened to my son in Florida. There might be more to the story... idk. But one thing leads to another eventually.

Posted by: Walkedon May 28, 2019, 7:21 AM
Please, please work on getting out of this loan. Your last post is sending all kind of red flags. I might be a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy but things sound fishey.

Posted by: Sallyanna May 28, 2019, 7:57 AM
Yes if your name is on the title you are liable for anything that happens with that car. If there is an accident and someone is hurt or killed your name is on the title. Also no insurance it's your responsibility because your name is on the title. Its really poor judgement your son is allowing his roommate to use your car. I know you talked to the roommate did you talk to your son? I think I would be taking the car back or just have his name on the title to release yourself from the liability. But I guess you cosigned the loan so you have to be on the title. Doesn't sound good to me either.

Posted by: samegame May 28, 2019, 11:44 AM
What Sallyanna said. Everything is in your name. You are responsible. Yes he might suffer drivers license consequences but you will suffer the legal & financial consequences.

I've also seen this scenario . The alkie lets his girlfriend drive they car his parents titled and insured for him. By his own admission she has a crappy driving record constantly getting tickets. Once someone becomes a regular user or has regular access to that car the insurance company is supposed to be informed. The girl friend here has a job almost 20 miles away with both intense highway & city driving.

This is absolutely ignorant on your son's part. But alkies & addicts tend to ignore potential consequences only thinking about their desires & needs. They are extremely selfish. They view things like a car or money as a thing that can be borrowed like a cup of sugar. It's trivial to them. But that's why they are an alkie or addict. They can't deal with or think about the small routine stuff most sober & conscientious people do.

Posted by: mtnmom May 28, 2019, 7:03 PM
If the registration & insurance is in your name, then yes you too are legally & financially responsible if he is in an accident. Your assets could be in jeopardy & if payments aren't made, they'll attach send you to collections too. But a serious car accident (serious injuries or death) would be devastating to everyone involved

Posted by: Anauj June 4, 2019, 8:48 AM
Son still has not secured Auto Insurance. It baffles me. He knows full well it's illegal to drive without insurance. When I asked him Sunday "where are we at with the insurance" he said "it will be taken care of Friday. (Payday)" Money spent on everything else though - new Fitbit, concerts, Pittsburgh Pirates game.

I glanced thru a post real quickly just now about the effects of drug use on certain parts of the brain and that made sense. Decision making skills are truly affected.

I stressed the need to get insurance and shared that it would be a real mess for me since his friend is also driving "my" car.

I recently "dangled the bait" with him and spoke of trading my 2017 Altima in for something else. Hold on for this one: he said "well let me know when you do that so I can trade this in too. I'd like to get a Chevy Blazer!" Let's just say folks, no more consigning for this Mom! It's that constant sense of entitlement that addicts have...

Will keep y'all posted! Also, it's car payment time again and hoping for the best!

Posted by: Walkedon June 4, 2019, 2:21 PM
I have heard all the excuses you son and friend are giving you. I have had my daughters friends look me in the eye,smile and tell me how they are helping my daughter and money will be paid on pay day.
It's all lies.
You soon be getting a letter from the state stating registration has been pulled for 3 months and there is a fine. The insurance company might drop you or raise rates.

Posted by: Parenting2 June 4, 2019, 2:56 PM
In the same boat with illogical thinking, poor decisions, seeminly unaware of consequences ready to smack them in the face. Then, after consequences, disbelief that the consequence happened and the blame-game begins.

Posted by: NyToFlorida June 4, 2019, 7:40 PM
anaju - hi - I'm thinking about the car issue. Is the car registered to you or your son?

Here is where I see the situation as a problem for you. You are co-signer. He does not have insurance. There is a loan on the car. legally the car has to have insurance to cover any loss if there is an accident, to cover the loan amount. You are co-responsible to have insurance on the vehicle. If the car is wrecked in an accident, the insurance will not cover the value of the car and you will have no car for your son, and you will still have to pay the loan off.

Another part of this - gap insurance. Figure out the value of the car. if the value is less than the loan amount you want to have gap insurance. the regular car insurance will only pay the value of the car towards the loan. if that value is less than what is owed you will have to pay the difference.

You may want to put insurance on the car to cover your self.

What are the chances he will have fender benders, hit others, total the car. Very common when using.

I joke to my self that my son needs to drive in a bumper car bc he bounces off everything. btw after the past two years of our car issues here with our son, we will never buy him a car or pay insurance or let him be insured on our policy. We have been very very lucky that we have only lost junk cars and not something more serious.

Posted by: NyToFlorida June 4, 2019, 7:44 PM
thinking more…. a relative's ex partner cancelled the insurance on a car registered to my relative. the car was not being used and was in the garage. after a certain amount of time, my relative got a notice from DMV that the insurance had been cancelled and the plates were not returned, therefore he owed the DMV fines that totaled $15 a day from the date the insurance was cancelled. I think it was over a month. the relative went to DMV with the plates and was not charged the fees.

That situation can happen.

Posted by: NyToFlorida June 4, 2019, 7:50 PM
Another twist. If there is no insurance and he or his friends hit someone, how does the other person repair their car. I think it will come out of your pocket. The other person's insurance company will sue you and your son for the damages. That could be $1000 - $3000 for a fender bender, the cost of a new car for the other person, and if there is bodily damage, hospital fees... it could be $100,000. easily.

Sorry to scare you. I know I would not be sleeping well at this point....

It will be very hard to keep my son out of our cars and not give in, if he ever comes back home. but that is our plan. the liability is too great.

Posted by: NyToFlorida June 4, 2019, 8:00 PM
Another story: I was in pretty much the same situation about 4 years ago. My son was in rehab in FL. was in sober living. did not have a car bc he wrecked the previous one. but then he was sober. no public transportation near the SL house. how can he get to work?? he went to a dealership. The sold him a used car for about $17,000, after adding tax and other fees, and they talked me into gap insurance (maybe this was part of the loan) I co-signed. Since he had accidents the insurance and payments were about $800 a month. I started making the payments, he was supposed to take over. He didn't. I could not afford to continue $800 a month. in a few months he said the car needed repairs and that it would stall while driving on the highway. He did not repaire it. As a few months went by I could not keep paying. He could not pay. He soon had an accident and hit a wall of some sort and said the car stalled on the highway and he couldn't steer it. Totalled the car. The car was only worth about $12,000. Of course the dealership over charged him when he bought it. but they did tell me to get GAP insurance. the insurance company paid everything. Luckily, I did not get pulled into being involved in it.

Posted by: NyToFlorida June 4, 2019, 8:08 PM
Then... my son bought a truck for about $1000. Had insurance on it for a short time. then, didn't pay the insurance. He was arrested for driving with out insurance. at the time of arrest he had gotten into the car in a parking lot, turned the key, and the officer was at the window. Somehow the officer knew there was not insurance on the truck. idk if they can find out from running the plate. some places do have that technology. Of course there were fines and court appearances and tickets. that my son would not pay, so it went on and on until the fees were paid. I don't think my son will be allowed to register a vehicle in FL. he did not have a FL license at the time. They issued him a license so they could suspend it.

Posted by: Sallyanna June 4, 2019, 8:22 PM
Obviously there is a common theme here with addiction and cars. My daughter has totalled 3 cars in the past 6 years. Her insurance rates are soooo high. Her car which was just bought last year has had 4 accidents in the past 6 months (all her fault). I don't even know if she has insurance anymore. The car is in her name only so is the insurance. Last I heard she is ubering everywhere. I can totally relate to P2's post.

Posted by: Walkedon June 5, 2019, 9:29 AM
One other option ,since your son wants to trade the vehicle and his income has increased; let him trade but dont co sign this loan.
Even if the loan is upside down he might be able to finance it on his own. Maybe his roommate will kick some more money.