22 April 2013

Losses and Lessons: Title trouble makes loss of ’67 Chevelle tougher to take

VEHICLE COVERED: 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle

WHAT WENT WRONG: Without question, in the world of classic cars and insurance claims, there’s no loss quite as painful as a total loss – especially when the owner has a deep emotional attachment to the car. Add some red tape to the claims process, and that pain is magnified many times over.

In this case, the owner of a red 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle, her late husband’s pride and joy, stored the car in a detached garage along with three other vehicles. An electrical short in a spare refrigerator started a fire, which led to an explosion, and the garage and its contents were destroyed.

DAMAGE/LOSS: All four cars in the garage were burned almost beyond recognition. Hagerty paid the Chevelle’s $25,000 Guaranteed Value (minus a $250 deductible), but when the owner attempted to deposit the check, the bank required the consent of her husband’s estate. The problem? While she had removed her husband’s name from the insurance policy, she had failed to remove his name from the Chevelle’s title. Now the couple’s son has been forced to go through the process of obtaining executor status again, which not only requires time but also involves attorney and court fees.

LESSON: Title your cars properly. Fixing an incorrect title can be costly and time consuming, two things that no one wants – particularly a grieving family. Also keep this advice in mind when you purchase a non-running car. Sometimes it takes longer than expected to make it road worthy again, and with no need for plates or registration, the title is an easy thing to forget or neglect.

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