CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Need help please Insurance co. problems

My legally parked truck was recently rear ended by a drunk driver. The Highway patrol showed up and took him to jail. When I bought the truck it was registered in Arizona (I live in Cali.) til 2023. Beings that the truck wouldn’t pass smog I kept the truck in the other mans name til I could get it repaired to pass smog. Now the insurance company totaled my truck out but don’t want to pay me, they want to pay the man I bought it from, who by the way is in the marine corps and has since been stationed on the east coast and I cannot find him. what can i do.

I don’t know but call the JAG office to find him and get a limited power of attorney from him for this one transaction would be the easy way. Then as they say: repaint and thin no more. Don’t do things like this.

3 Likes

Because he is the legal owner as far as anybody is concerned.

4 Likes

One more reason not to live in cali
Cops say bobs truck. Are you bob? Huh. Bet that was odd
Did they ask for your proof of insurance?

Seriously? You found a way to blame California for this mess?

4 Likes

+1…seriously @Cavell California has nothing to do with this mess…if the OP lived in PA and the owner is based in Oregon the same problems would apply

2 Likes

Did “the other man” KNOW that the car was being kept in his name?

If it were in his name , and you had a serious accident, it would be his assets that could get attached if there were a lawsuit as a result of an accident with you as a driver.

Yeah, the insurance company wants to pay the “other man”. It’s HIS truck all along.

3 Likes

OP did not transfer title since truck won’t pass emissions. So, I do blame Cali as it does emission testing.

That wouldn’t happen if the seller had documentation of the sale and transfer of property. The seller can’t be held liable for the inactions of the buyer. I always do a dated and time stamped bill of sale, make two copies and we sign both so each person has an original, signed copy.

However, the buyer would be in a world of hurt. The state and local municipalities could prosecute for failing to register, tax evasion and probably others as well. Top it off, the insurance would likely bail due to breach of contract by the new owner, leaving him on the hook for any lawsuits that might result…

1 Like

Your best hope is they send him the check, he sends it to you and do not understand how you got insurance on a vehicle you did not own, though maybe you did not and the other driver was at fault and payed the owner of record. Things can get complicated really fast when you try to game the system.

3 Likes

Plenty of places do emissions testing besides CA.

5 Likes

OP problem it would not pass CA emissions. Saying the proper route would have been to transfer title and plates and done work to get it to pass in CA.

3 Likes

How should he have transferred title based on his Cali address?

He dd nothing, I imagine this is somewhat illegal.

3 Likes

Contact the legal owner (per the title document) and ask him to cash the check, then send you a check for that amount. Consider yourself fortunate you didn’t get a ticket for not immediately licensing the vehicle in California. If you can’t find the legal owner you’ll have to contact the Calif DMV. They probably have a form that you can sign for this situation, you explain the situation then your signature attests you are actually the legal owner. The downside of this approach is they may ask how long the vehicle has been in Calif.

What you do is take the paperwork to the DMV and record the transfer of title, and tell them to put it in “Non-operation” status. Then it’s yours. Then fix it so it passes emissions and register it. None of that helps you with the mess you are in, but then again, it’s your mess, you made it and you have to live with it.

2 Likes

“the insurance company totaled my truck out”

The truck is totaled out. It can’t be tested for emissions now.

1 Like

So you were not honest in your dealings and now want a legal way out of a questionable transaction? Really? the man, whoever he is, owns the car. !

Huh? Think you need. To read the whole thing. It’s not my truck.

4 Likes

I’m surprised you couldn’t just transfer the title in AZ, but that’s water under the bridge, now.

I can think of 3 options:

  1. Do as Bing suggested above to get a limited POA and/or a letter from the former owner to release the funds to you.
  2. See if you can transfer the title now that it’s totaled (don’t know if this would work for the insurance company)
  3. Contact a lawyer instead of an Internet forum with a bunch of yahoos who have not legal training but are happy to give advice.