What can I do if I got into a car accident and did not know that I had let my insurance lapse?

I do not have the money to pay out of pocket to fix my car. The motor is working fine but I do not have a back window. Can I return the car to the dealer and what can they legally make me pay for? I am still paying for the car but am debating about continuing to pay for it since I cannot drive it at the moment.

Asked on April 22, 2015 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) No, you can't return it to the dealer unless they agree to take it back. Once you have bought a car, it is yours--and that includes when you are paying for it over time, with financing.

2) You have to continue paying the financing on the car--you signed a contract/agreement obligating you to do so. If you fail to pay, they can take the car back (repossession) AND sue you for any amounts which you still owe in excess of the car's current (damaged) value. For example, say that you have $15k remaining on the financing; the car would be worth $12,000 if undamaged (depreciation generally means a car is worth less than the remaining loan on it), but only $8,000 ias damaged. They could repossess and the sue you for the $7,000 over and above the current value of the damaged car. Or they could choose to not repossess and sue you for the whole $15,000.

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