If I got into at-fault collision accident, who is responsible for paying the storage costs?

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If I got into at-fault collision accident, who is responsible for paying the storage costs?

I put in a claim the next morning, as my policy includes collision coverage. Meanwhile, the car has been towed away to a tow yard and has been incurring storage costs. The insurance company claims that they are not liable for the storage costs that have incurred because storage fees are not part of the coverage. But it took them 10 days just to get an appraiser to come and look at it. I have no other place I can move the car to and have made that clear to the claim representative. Will I still be liable for the storage costs? If so, what can I do while the true value of the car is still being negotiated and I have no available spot to take my car?

Asked on January 24, 2015 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your insurer only needs to pay when and to the extent the policy says they do: the policy is a contract, and they are bound by its terms, but do not need to go beyond their terms. If you feel they unnecessarily dragged their feet, you could in theory sue them for breach of contract and breach of the covenant (requirement) of good faith dealings in contracts to get reimbursement for the amount of days they unreasonably delayed, if you can show that the delay was unreasonable. For example, if they should have come by 6 days earlier, you could possibly sue for days' storage charge (though it may not be economically worthioe to do it).

Otherwise, the at-fault person would be responsible for the costs, though if another person (not you) were at fault, you'd have to pay the costs up front, then seek reimbursement.


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