Is my ex entitled to insurance money after totaling my car that is in my name only? 17 Answers as of June 25, 2013

I let my ex continue to drive a car of mine after we broke up. The loan and insurance were in my name only. Since she is a single mom with terrible credit, I agreed to let her continue to drive the car until she could get something else. I told her she had to make the payments on it as long as she continued to drive it. She ended up totaling the car and now expects me to give her the settlement money from the insurance company. I still have to pay the car off and only agreed to do this as a favor to her so she wouldn't be without a car. Do I legally owe her anything? To make matters even worse, she wrecked the car at 2:30 a.m. on a weekend and because I believe she was driving under the influence, she left the car abandoned on the side of the road before police could arrive. The policeman I spoke with said she had to have been drunk. She left me to deal with the entire problem and now expects money? Please tell me she is crazy! Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
No, she would not be entitled to proceeds for the damage to the property that is in your name under your insurance.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/12/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
Was this issue addressed in the settlement agreement? Was the automobile to be her personal property?
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/25/2013
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Absent a contractual agreement to the contrary, you may apply the insurance proceeds as you deem appropriate.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/12/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Seriously, this lady has flipped the wrong switch in her cranial processor. From your question, I had to deduce you are also the "loss payee" on the car insurance which means it is your insurance. Insurance is a contract. She is not a party to the contract nor is she an intended beneficiary of the contract. Even if it is her insurance policy, as the registered title owner, you are the intended beneficiary (third party) of the contract. So, unless there is something else out there that you do not know or have just not told me, this lady is crazy and may well have papers to prove it. Just in case she does not get this the first round, explain it like this: If you rent a car from Hertz, and the car is wrecked and totaled while you are driving it, Hertz is not going to give you a new car or the insurance proceeds. It is Hertz's car and Hertz's insurance. Hertz can and will sue you for the deductible however. Your case is similar except there is no written rental agreement. In other words, you not only do not owe her any money, you can actually sue her for the loss (deductible) and your insurance carrier may ask for subrogation (they pay you and take over your right to sue her).
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/9/2011
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
No, she's not entitled to anything.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/9/2011
    Holmes Law Offices
    Holmes Law Offices | Martin M. Holmes
    Your question did not indicate that there is a divorce judgment or court order in place. Unless there is some court order giving her the car she has no right to the insurance proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    I assume that the two of you are not married. If this is the case, then, I would think that she would have no right to the insurance proceeds. You loaned her the car. She agreed to make payments on it only while she was using it. If these facts are correct, then, it seems to me, therefore, that she has no ownership interest in the car and therefore no interest in the insurance proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    She's "crazy" - like a fox! While she may have been intoxicated, she was at least smart enough to leave the scene rather than being arrested. On the other hand, if the car was in your name and the insurance is in your name, how did an accident report get filed? Who was said to be driving? If the settlement is only for property damage, it is likely yours. However, there may be other issues afoot if the two of you were married, such as equitable distribution issues that you didn't mention. Speak to your attorney about this one.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If the car is titled in your name only, she is entitled to NOTHING.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    The insurance money is to compensate for the loss of the vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    She is not entitled to money for the property damage. She may sue you civilly for the contributions she made to the car payments, but this would likely be offset assuming the money paid out on the property damage only covered what was owed on the vehicle. I doubt she will do anything. If she does, you may want to consult an attorney to discuss your case in greater detail.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    If the money is less than or equivalent to the loan on the car,then the funds should be used to retire the debt owed against the car. If you have a settlement amount greater than the loss of the car, that difference may be a community asset to divide between the spouses.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
    Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
    If you are not divorced then the car was community property and she would be entitled to half of the insurance money. However, there are usually more issues in a case than just one piece of property so it is best to hold the money until all the property issues are decided and then make a distribution, if one is required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    It is your car. You only let her use your car on the basis that she pays for the use of the car - you didn't give her any ownership interest in the car. Her reckless driving under the influence caused the damages. You have to pay off the balance due on the car. The insurance proceeds are yours alone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    She isn't entitled to anything unless and until a court rules in her favor after she tries to sue you for whatever reason she thinks she is entitled to anything. You can safely ignore her "demands" until she actually does sue you which is a highly improbable situation.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/8/2011
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