Why won’t the insurance company give me my money?

About 5 months ago, my car was rear-ended and totaled. There is a police report and the owner of the at fault car was notified. Also, after the car was rear-ended, the person driving jumped out and ran. However, nothing is happening. I need a new car and would greatly appreciate if I could get the money that is owed to me. My insurance company told me that they cannot get in touch with the owner of the other car. And it was her driving. However, my insurance company informed me that if the car was stolen, it would have been reported. So the car isn’t stolen. I tried talking to my insurance company. Tried to find the lady on facebook or in the white pages. Got the police report to my insurance company. Everything is at a standstill.

Asked on June 2, 2016 under Accident Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you have your own collision insurance and are seeking to collect from your own policy, it should not matter whether they can find the other driver or whether the other driver stole the car: your insurer is obligated to pay you in accordance with the terms of the policy. Check your policy: if your coverage gives you payment when your car is rear-ended and totaled, if your insurer does not pay you, they are in breach of contract. (An insurance policy is a contract.) To get your money, you'd sue your insurance company for breach of contract.
If you're trying to get compenation from the owner of the car, if he and his insurer believe the car was stolen, whether or not there was a police report, they will not voluntarily pay you. To get any compensation, you'd have to sue the other car's owner (you sue the owner, not his insurer) and prove that his car rear-ended you; however, IF he can prove to the court by a preponderance of the evidence ("more likely than not") that the car was stolen, neither he nor his insurer will be liable or have to pay--a car's owner is not responsible for what a thief does with it. 
The lack of a police report will certainly help you refute any claim that the car was stolen, but does not guaranty this was not a theft: the law does not say that something cannot be stolen if there was no police report. You cannot assume you will automatically win if you sue.

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