Insurance screw-up, who's resonsible for the fine?
September 23, 2008 5:38 PM   Subscribe

My friend's car was totaled in January by a drunk driver. She sold it back to the insurance company and bought a new car. Somewhere, someone screwed up: her car insurance was never switched from her old car to her new car. She was, however, able to switch her tags to the new car and register it. Nonetheless, until last month, she was paying insurance on a totaled car that she no longer owned. She just got a fine from Maryland Vehicle Administration for 2K+ for having tags on an uninsured vehicle. What should she do?

The insurance company is blaming the car dealership, and Maryland just wants its money. Isn't her paying insurance on a car the insurance company owned illegal?

I told her she should get a hold of all the documents- canceled checks to the insurance company, registrations, sales slips- and set up an appointment with a supervisor at the the MVA. If that fails, I told her to lawyer up.

I figure either she won't have to pay the fine, or she'll have to be refunded all her insurance payments since January. However, I am not a lawyer nor have I ever had to tangle with the MVA or insurance companies like this before. Any advice? Thank you in advance.
posted by spaltavian to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total)
She was able to switch her tags because someone issued an FR-19, either the dealership or (more likely based on the info) her insurance company.

Unless there was a claim filed the question of which car she was paying for insurance of is irrelevant. Her insurance company needs to man up and simply state that she's been covered all along. She's been paying her premiums in good faith and odds are they'd legally have to stand behind her if she'd had an accident before this was discovered. (Though, of course, that depends on the laws in MD)

They may need to adjust her cost and bill her for additional premiums since - presumably - her new vehicle costs more to insure. But she needs to deal with them. This is not the first time an insurer has misreported and it won't be the last, so someone knows how to deal with this.

If she's still not able to get satisfaction from her insurance company she can call one of these numbers. Again, this is not going to be a unique situation. The usual caveats about how painful it is to deal with government agencies apply, but someone can tell her exactly what she needs.

And then she should kick that shitty insurance company to the curb. In most cases all agents do is make initial arrangements and then collect the premiums while the parent company handles all the real work of investing money and paying claims. If they can't help her after they've screwed the pooch then she should vote with her dollar.
posted by phearlez at 6:25 PM on September 23, 2008

I don't know the laws in your state but in Florida when you change cars you 1st, tell your ins company 2nd go to tag office & switch cars on your tag........if a dealer was involved they don't give a rats you know what anything other than transferring title to a buyer.
posted by patnok at 7:03 PM on September 23, 2008

After a brief meeting with a person at the MVA, my friend got this letter in the mail:


Thanks, both of you.
posted by spaltavian at 12:17 PM on September 27, 2008

Glad to hear it. I'd file that letter away somewhere safe if I were her.
posted by phearlez at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2008

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