Can I stay with my car although it has been declared total loss and I am still paying for the car to a financial company?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: May 31, 2012

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Insurance Question from Lynwood, CA

Asked on 05/31/2012

Can I stay with my car although it has been declared total loss and I am still paying for the car to a financial company? I was in a car accident, I was not at fault, someone hit me and left the scene but I was able to get the plate number. After that my insurance got involed and declared my car as total loss, they want to pay me for what the car is worth with a slavage title since the accident happened, the problem is that i leased the car and im still paying for it,so if i accept what my insurance is telling me to then i would stay without a car and without money to pay for another one. I think thats not correct because it wasnt my fault, and i feel that who hit me should be paying for it. what can i do?

Answer given on June 03, 2012

If you were involved in a hit and run accident then your insurance company will handle the claim for the damages to your car. If they are able to find the other driver, through the license plate number, they will subrogate in an attempt to get reimbursement for the amount of money they paid out. If successful, they will reimburse you for your deductible.If the car was not worth the amount owed on the lease, and there is no gap coverage, then you may owe the leasing company for the balance due. You should contact the leasing company, as they may have a way to release you from the liability of the lease since the accident was not your fault and the car was totaled. There may be some clause that will relieve you of the amount that was not paid.Unfortunately, a totaled vehicle is often not worth what is owned on it either with a loan or lease. Even if the other insurance company gets involved, they will not be willing to pay more than the actual cash value of your leased car.

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