Do I own my vehicle? What percentage of it do I own?

3,327 families filed bankruptcy using Upsolve.

Written by Jonathan Petts, Esq.  
Updated May 16, 2019

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Whether or not you own your vehicle depends on whether you purchased it using a loan or leased it from a dealer or other agency.

If you purchased it using a loan, you own it.

If you leased it from a dealer or other agency, you do not own it.

When you purchase a car using a loan, you only own a certain percentage of it until the loan is fully paid off. That percentage is called equity. Use the following formula to determine what your equity is:

  • (Full Purchase Price) - (Amount that you still owe) = Equity To find out what percentage of the vehicle that you own, us this formula:

  • (Equity) ÷ (Full Purchase Price) = Percentage owned. If you leased the vehicle, both amounts will be $0 on your bankruptcy forms.

NOTE: If you have a title loan on your vehicle, the formula for equity will be:

(Full Purchase Price) - (Amount that you still owe) - (remaining balance of your title loan)  = Equity

The formula for determining the amount that you owe will be the same as when you do not have a title loan.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.


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