Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

When it's worth $500 to get rid of a lawyer

On yesterday’s show, lawyer Tricia from Louisville wanted to know if she should pay her ex-boyfriend the $500 deductible for totaling his car. The guys were correct that she should own up to her actions, but they missed a couple of key


Most notably, there shouldn’t BE a deductible involved on his car. SHE caused the accident. She should have filed the claim for both cars under HER insurance. HER insurance would have paid him the book value of his car with no deductible. And, technically, any accident severe enough to total his car should have required the police, who should have given miss lawyer a ticket.

Aside from the deductible and a rental car (which she did agree to cover), guy is out the time/trouble of finding a replacement car, and a likely gap between what the insurance company paid him vs the cost of a replacement. Plus, his insurance premiums are going up be “HE” had a claim.

Worst of all, they may have inadvertently provided her the one line of argument that might get the boyfriend to back off – namely, wasn’t it worth $500 to HIM to avoid wasting HIS time/money in a relationship with someone who gives shysters a bad name.

I TOTALLY AGREE !!! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who picked up on that.

I was so disappointed to realize the show took place YESTERDAY.
I sooo much wanted to give a shout-out to congratulate Trish’s boyfriend (ex-boyfriend).
Here’s the email I sent to Car Talk thinking it could reach the public’s ears.

Dear Tom & Ray,
I am a long time listener and always hoped to have car trouble so I could call you. No such luck.

Worse than that- I have to write to correct you. You are modern day pseudo-sages so it’s gonna be pretty embarasing for you to admit your mistake on the air…but I know you will because YOU guys have integrity where your caller did NOT.

You were right that Trish owes her ex-bo the $500 bucks plus the car rental expense for totalling his car AND you were RIGHT that the situation was very revealing about personality and it’s good that she smashed the car so their true characters could be revealed. I can understand hesitating on HOW to pay, but WHETHER to pay??? What kind of person would hesitate to admit wrong doing in that situation. She looked down approaching a stop light and SMASH. And she has to call YOU to find out what’s the right thing to do??? Her Ex-bo is sooooo lucky she totaled his car to find this out about her so he could dump her.

Love you guys,
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to you for nearly 30 years (how’s that even possible? ) and haven’t learned a THING !! Thank you!
sincerely, Polliana

I am an avid listener of car talk and have been for many years. While listening to the show this week, I was intrigued about the situation between Trish and her new/ex boyfriend. So far, two listeners have disagreed with Tom and Ray, both rather disgruntled by Trish that she would question whether or not she owes the deductible and slamming her for being a lawyer. Okay, while some lawyers can be crooks, not all are and we can’t make that assumption here.

After hearing this segment, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “what if the boyfriend did this on purpose?” Trish mentioned he already had a bought a new car. That is pretty quick. Is it possible that he saw an opportunity merely because Trish was a lawyer- thinking maybe he’ll get a lot of money or her insurance would cover it completely, etc… I also question why were they driving each other’s car? Simply becuase he wanted to drive her car (which I think was a bit of a sports car)? And why dump her almost immediately after the accident? It wasn’t like she did this on purpose. Obviously, she drives every day and doesn’t have this problem (that we know of). Of course, we also don’t know his side of the story and what transpired after the accident.

Personally, I’d be doing a bit more research on Mr-Ex and find out exactly his insurance/criminal background. I realize that Trish hesistating about paying could look like she isn’t being honest or scrupulous, but I don’t think she would have taken the time to call Car Talk if she didn’t care. She thought about this enough to want to get a second opinion and something is making her hesistate and setting off a warning bell.

She may find that she got off easy and it only cost her $500. There are lots of guys out there preying on women for their money. Personally, I agree with Tom and Ray. She found out exactly what this guy was like. I say, “good riddance!”


I thought the whole call sounded fishy. Insurance is on the car, not the driver. Her insurance should have paid for both cars without hesitation. There should be no deductable on the portion for HIS car. I suspect she’s not telling the the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Nope. When you borrow someone else’s car and get into a wreck, their insurance covers first, because it goes with the car. The driver’s insurance will not pay unless the car owner is not insured or the damage exceeds the limits of the owner’s policy. And if the “victim” of the crash sues the driver for additional damages, the owner’s insurance has to defend her. This happens all the time, where an owner will let someone borrow their car and the driver gets into a collision with a third party. What is unusual here is that the “victim” (owner of the car that was in front) is also the driver who caused the accident.

So, as incredible as it seems, boyfriend’s insurance has to pay for the damage to both cars, and boyfriend is stuck with the deductible. If boyfriend sues Trish, boyfriend’s insurance may have to defend her, since she was insured by them at the time of the crash. Trish has a moral obligation to pay the deductible, but may or may not have a legal obligation.