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Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Melissa Lyken | December 26, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Fact-checked by George Simons, J.D.

Summary: Indiana protects consumers against debt collectors bringing up old debts. The statute of limitations on credit card debt in Indiana is six years. That being said, different types of debt have unique statute of limitations laws in Indiana. Use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit and bring up the expired statute of limitations as a defense.

The statute of limitations in Indiana prevents creditors and debt collectors from suing people for super old debts. The statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for creditors and debt collectors to sue someone over a debt. Depending on the kind of debt you owe, this period varies anywhere from two to twenty years.

So, if a creditor or collector doesn't file a lawsuit against a debtor during the prescriptive period, they lose the right to sue for the debt later. You may be wondering if the statute of limitations has lapsed on your debt. Keep reading to find out.

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How does the statute of limitations work in Indiana?

If you owe money to a creditor or your debt was sold to a debt collection agency, there is a set amount of time to file a lawsuit against you for the debt. The time frame varies from one state to another, depending on the debt involved.

Indiana law provides a different time frame for written and oral contracts. For example, written contracts have a limitation period of 6-10 years from the date of default. On the other hand, oral or unwritten contracts have a period of six years. The statute becomes active from the date your payment is due or the last time you made payment before you defaulted.

Now that you have a general overview of how the statute of limitations in Indiana works, let's look at the different categories of debts and their respective perceptive periods.

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Indiana

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 6 years
Medical 6 years
Student Loan 6 years
Auto Loan 6 years
Personal Loan 6 years
Mortgage 10 years
Judgment 20 years
Source: Ind. Code § 34-11-2-9, 11, and 12

Indiana statute of limitations on debt laws explained

According to Indiana Code, §34-11-2-7(1-2) states:

“The following actions must be commenced within six (6) years after the cause of action accrues: (1) Actions on accounts and contracts not in writing; (2) Actions for use, rents, and profits of real property.”

In other words, the Indiana statute of limitations on debt accounts with unwritten contracts and rental debt is six years. This means that the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Indiana is also six years. Therefore, a creditor or debt collector only has six years to sue you for a credit card debt in Indiana.

Similarly, §34-11-2-9 states:

“An action upon promissory notes, bills of exchange, or other written contracts for the payment of money executed after August 31, 1982, must be commenced within six (6) years after the cause of action accrues. An action upon promissory notes, bills of exchange, and other written contracts for the payment of money executed on or after September 19, 1881, and before September 1, 1982, must be commenced within ten (10) years after the cause of action accrues.”

So, any debts that have a written contract have a statute of limitations of six years in Indiana as well. However, if the debt was incurred before September 1, 1982 then the statute of limitations for written contracts and promissory notes is ten years in Indiana.

Finally, §34-11-2-11 states:

“An action upon contracts in writing other than those for the payment of money, and including all mortgages other than chattel mortgages, deeds of trust, judgments of courts of record, and for the recovery of the possession of real estate, must be commenced within ten (10) years after the cause of action accrues.”

This means that any other written contracts that do not involve the payment of money have a statute of limitations of ten years.

Let’s consider an example.

Example: LVNV Funding purchased Ted’s old credit card debt from his original creditor. After several attempts to contact him, LVNV Funding filed a lawsuit against Ted for the old debt. After doing some research, Ted found out that the Indiana statute of limitations on credit card debt is six years. He hadn’t made any payments on this credit card for almost seven years. Ted used SoloSuit to draft and file an Answer to the lawsuit. In his Answer document, Ted brought up the expired statute of limitations as one of his defenses. Because of this, LVNV Funding ended up dismissing the case voluntarily.


Use the statute of limitations as a defense in your debt collection lawsuit.

The statute of limitations can restart

The statute of limitation can start again when a debtor makes a written acknowledgment to pay or voluntarily make payment before the expiration of the prescriptive period. In this case, the debt collector may decide to extend the period for collecting the consumer's debt by filing for judgment.

In Indiana, the statute of limitations by judgment is 20 years, but it can be renewed, further extending the collection period. This means once a creditor makes a charge against the debtor, the judgment is collectible for up to 20 years. Before the 20 years lapses, the creditor may have the judgment renewed, adding 20 more years. The period starts running from:

  • The date you were last charged for unpaid debt
  • The date of entry of the judgment or
  • The last date of either event

If the judgment is not renewed on time or the debt collector doesn't do anything to execute that judgment for a specified period, it lapses. When a judgment lapses, the debtor can't be arraigned in court for unpaid debt. This means the debt collector can't:

  • Seize your property
  • Garnish your wages
  • Make you appear for an examination
  • Seize your bank account

A debt collector can renew the statute of limitation once or twice. If the judgment against the debtor lapses, the debt collector can still revive it within a specific time limit. The time frame begins when the judgment becomes dormant, or the last time the collector tried to collect debt on the judgment.

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Here's another example: Collins Asset Group v Alkhemer Alialy Case

In this case, the defendant obtained a mortgage in September 2007 and defaulted on payments in July 2008. The loan was transferred to a debt collector, the plaintiff, in October 2016, who accelerated the debt and demanded full payment. The plaintiff moved to sue the debtor to recover the loan in April 2017.

You would think the defendant could argue that the six-year statute of limitations on a promissory note lapsed, so they were no longer liable to pay. However, the six-year- period started running when the plaintiff exercised the acceleration clause in 2016. Because of this, it was well within the plaintiff's right to file the suit to recover the full amount. The Supreme Court used this argument, judging the case in the plaintiff's favor.

Be careful not to restart the clock on the statute of limitations in Indiana

In Indiana, making a payment on your debt can restart the clock on the statute of limitations, as outlined in IC 34-11-3-1, which states:

"In an action brought to recover a balance due upon a mutual, open, and current account between the parties, the cause of action is considered to have accrued from the date of the last item proved in the account on either side."

So, before you agree to pay a debt, be sure to check your last action on the account. If it’s been more than six years since your last payment, the debt may be uncollectible by legal action.

Use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense in your Answer.

Respond to a debt lawsuit in Indiana

Debt can put anyone in a tight and embarrassing spot, especially when the collector keeps hounding you for payment. If you are being sued for a debt and believe the statute of limitations has run its course, you can include this information in your Answer.

There are also other debt collection laws in Indiana that can protect you from unruly or unfair debt collectors. To stand up for your rights, it’s important to respond to any legal action a collector takes against you.

Filing your Answer doesn't have to be a tedious or frustrating process, but SoloSuit can help you draft a personalized Answer to your lawsuit in minutes and stand up for your rights connected to Indiana statute of limitations on debt.

Learn more: How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in Indiana

We hope these insights give you more information on the statute of limitations in Indiana and take some of the confusion out of the legal process.

If your debt is still within the Indiana statute of limitations, try settling your debt before going to court.

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>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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