What to do if my car was totaled and the insurance company is telling me I have to pay the $1000 impound fee even though it’s the other drivers fault?

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What to do if my car was totaled and the insurance company is telling me I have to pay the $1000 impound fee even though it’s the other drivers fault?

I have been trying to get this problem solved for a month but the insurance company has been giving me the run around by not returning my calls and by telling me I have to wait for the adjuster to contact me. My own insurance company has been equally unhelpful because I only have liability insurance on that vehicle. The police report clearly states the other driver is at fault and he was given a citation. Is there anything I can do to keep from paying the impound fee and keep from being taken advantage of by this company.

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Insurance is a contract--the insurer has to pay only those costs or expenses covered by the policy. If you only bought liability insurance, then your own insurer would not have to pay any impound costs.

As for  the other party and their insurer: you can seek to recover all costs or losses which you suffered as a result of the actions of an at-fault (e.g. negligent or careless) driver. You do not have to accept that the other driver's insurance is not helping you or responding to you--you can sue the other driver, if you believe he or she was at fault, to try to recover all your losses and costs, including the impound fee.

However, that is the only way to recover this money--to bring a lawsuit, then prove that the other driver was at fault and caused the impound. That will not help you, as a practical matter, recover your car from impound--if you have to pay an impound fee, then you will likely have to pay it first, then seek recovery or reimbursement of it.

Alternately, if  you feel the fee is illegitimate--unconscionably high, being applied unfairly, etc.--you could try suing the company impounding your car, seekinig a court order forcing them to turn it over and also a judicial declaration of what a fair fee would be. Note though that if their fee is typical for impounds of this type and duration, then you would likely not succeed on this basis.


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