My father passed away a couple of years ago and had a car that I continued to make payments on but didn’t drive

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My father passed away a couple of years ago and had a car that I continued to make payments on but didn’t drive

My father passed away a couple of years ago. He was financing a car from Vystar. I continued to make the payments on the car and it sat in my driveway. After I realized I no longer needed to make those car payments, Vystar told me that we can return the car to them. I took out insurance from Progressive on the car because it was still in my driveway. Vystar filed a claim to Progressive that they want Progressive to fix the damage that my father had on the car before he passed. My father had a totally different insurance company when that damage occurred. I received a certified letter that I have to appear to make a statement under oath regarding this claim. Why would Progressive have to pay for the damage that was done years ago when the car was with a different insurance company? Do I have to appear and make a statement, and am I legally responsible for this damage to the car that my father did? He did not have a will or an executor.

Asked on October 14, 2016 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, *when* did the damage occur? If it occured during the time of the current policy, that insurer may have to pay. If it occured after your father's death, when you were the person controlling the car and with access to it, you (subject to any insurance you had) would be liable for the damage, since the person who damages property is liable for it. You say that the damage pre-dated your father's death and the new policy--but they don't have to simply believe you. They can investigate, which includes requiring you to make that statement under oath (which enhances its reliability, since you could be punished by the courts if it later turns you lied under oath). 
They can't compel you to appear unless they open a legal action and subpoena you. But if you don't appear and give the statement, they may do just that.


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