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New Jersey bankruptcy: Credit scores and driving habits

New Jersey drivers may not consider that owning and driving a car can influence their credit scores. Traffic tickets, car payments, drunk driving charges and accidents can all put a consumer into a financial bind. When the financial struggle becomes insurmountable, bankruptcy could provide much-needed relief.

Delinquent car payments are the obvious expense that affects credit. Every missed payment lowers a consumer's credit score. A vehicle repossession remains on a person's credit for seven years. This does not include any deficiency judgment obtained by the lender.

Government agencies do not report traffic fines to the credit bureaus, but if not paid, the fines can go to collections. The collection agency may report the delinquent account. A DUI charge does not show up on a credit report, but the accompanying financial costs such as court costs, attorney fees, fines and other costs associated with such a charge can easily cause financial strain. Many people fall behind on their other financial obligations while dealing with their legal situation.

The same could be said for accidents. Even if a driver is not at fault for an accident, any expenses associated with the accident may wreak financial havoc on an individual. Medical bills, lost wages and vehicle repairs may not be reimbursed in a timely manner, if at all.

With the exception of making timely car payments, predicting the need to pay for driving related mishaps is nearly impossible. If an unfortunate event occurs, the financial impact could be significant. New Jersey residents that find they are struggling financially after such an event may turn to the bankruptcy courts for relief. Bankruptcy cannot clean up a driving record, but it can give a driver a fresh start financially.

Source: DailyFinance, 4 Ways Your Driving Habits Could Wreck Your Credit Score, Gerri Detweiler, Dec. 6, 2013

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