Can I relocate my undriveable vehicle to another state whileI wait for the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay out?

My husband’s car was hit by a drunk driver. The car was parked in out apartment complex parking when the drunk driver pulled in and hit our car also taking out two motorcycles that were parked next to us. The drunk driver had the minimum coverage for property damage so we’ve been waiting to see how much each vehicle involved will receive from his $10,000 property damage limit. My husband is due on another deployment soon and we are moving. We’ve had out car appraised for damages; can we relocate the car without affecting the claim settlement?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Accident Law, California


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding relocating your vehicle currently involved in an insurance claim settlement.  While the at-fault driver only had a policy limit of $10,000.00, this does not mean that you are barred from collecting additional funds from the at-fault driver.  While it is the easiest to recover your funds from the insurance company, you have other avenues to pursue in order to obtain all monies owed to you for the damage to your vehicle.  The at-fault driver’s insurance company is limited to compensate you up to the insured’s policy limits, but that does not mean you cannot attempt to collect the remainder owed to you directly from the at-fault driver.  In most states if the amount involved in a lawsuit is $5,000.00 or under, you can pursue the matter in a small claims court and only pay a minimal filing fee.  Usually you can be refunded court costs as part of the judgment.

As to what amount the insurance company will compensate you will depend on how they evaluate the vehicles and motorcycles involved in the accident.  If the insurance adjuster has had the opportunity to write an estimate for repairs to your vehicle, then they are likely to allow you to move the vehicle to another state.  As long as they have your new contact information, there should be no reason that they cannot proceed for paying the claim the same as if your vehicle had never been moved.  You may want to contact the insurance representative handling the claim that can provide you with further guidance on this matter.


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