If my car was stolen and recovered 6 weeks ago but my insurer still won’t fix it stating that there’s no visible damage, what can I do if there is now no power steering?

I bought the car 3 months ago and have the dealership’s 100 point inspection stating that it was perfectly fine. Today I have a paper from the same dealership stating that the car is broken, however my insurer keeps asking for more information. What can I do?

Asked on February 2, 2016 under Insurance Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the car isn't safe to drive, have it fixed, submit the invoice to your insurer, and then sue them for the money, if necessary--you don't want to put your life or other people in jeopardy, and would face legal (possibly even criminal liability) if you knowingly drive an unsafe car and injure another or damage someone else's property. So making the car drivable--unless you have another vehicle and can afford to have this one out of commission--is your first priority. But once that's taken care of, if you believe the insurer should have paid under the terms of your policy, you can sue them for breach of contract--an insurance policy is a contract, and so the insurer's obligations are enforceable in a court of law.
If the car is safe to drive, or you don't need this car right now, provide the extra information and try to resolve amicably with your insurer; but if you can't, again, you can sue them for breach of contract if you believe they should have paid, but refused.
If you end up suing, if the amount at stake is less than the maximum for your small claims court, suing in small claims, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") is a very good option.


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