Do I have rights to an insurance check for a car accident if I paid the monthly premiums but I was not on the title?

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Do I have rights to an insurance check for a car accident if I paid the monthly premiums but I was not on the title?

We were paying my father-in-law a monthly payment for our car and he was paying the bank because he took out the loan. Right before the car was paid off he became terminally ill and went to live with his son in G. Before he died we paid off the car. The car was never signed over to us before he died. We insured the car and took care of the car. We didn’t think about title to the car until I was in a car accident that totaled the car. The insurance company would not make out a check to us because the car was not in our name. They sent it to probate in GA.

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Insurance Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  The insurance company was not a party to the agreement between you and you father in law for the purchase and insurance of the vehicle.  The insurance of the vehicle - even if paid by you - is related to the ownership of the vehicle.  That means that it insures the OWNER in the event that it is stolen or involved in an accident.  You are not legally the owner of the vehicle.  I think that you may need to discuss this matter with an attorney in your area as to how you want to handle it with the probate of the estate.  The loan was a debt you owed to the decedent prior to his death but threre was no formal papework or satisfaction given.  You may have to get the executor and the beneficiaries to acknowledge the loan and that may be difficult. Good luck.


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