If the title to a car is in my father’s name but the insurance is in my name and I make the car payments, who gets the money if the car was totaled?

UPDATED: Aug 8, 2011

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If the title to a car is in my father’s name but the insurance is in my name and I make the car payments, who gets the money if the car was totaled?

The car is in my father’s name, I was listed as the primary driver. I have been making all of the car payments and I also have been paying the insurance for the car. He has no involvement with it whatsoever beyond it being in his name. I was in an accident and the car was totaled. My insurance covered the accident and I was told that I would receive a check for the fair market value of my car. However, the check was sent to my father since the title of the car is in his name. Am I entitled to the money in question?

Asked on August 8, 2011 Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under all policies of insurance the payee for insurance purposes under a given policy is the designated policy holder of it. Whether or not you make the premiums forthe car's policy of insurance has bearing on your entitlement to any insurance payments in the event the car is destroyed and there is insurance covering its repair or cost of replacement.

Since the car is registered in your father's name, most likely the policy of insurance is also in his name as its owner. You need to read the declarations page for the car's insurance. Potentially you might be named as an additional payee under the policy.

Do you actually own the car that was damaged even though title is in your father's name? If you actually own the car, then you are entitled to the insurance check since you have been making its premium payments.


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