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Can I take the car if my co-buyer is not paying insurance?

Malvern, PA |

I am the buyer, a "friend" is a co-buyer. Title is in both our names. Car is registered in just her name. She has not been paying on the loan. Just recently found out she has not been paying for insurance for the last 6 months. As the buyer can I take the car? I am not sure if the title says 'and' or 'or'. But the car is not registered under me. Am I still liable if she gets into an accident since I am on the title? What can I do? Advice is needed!

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Attorney answers 2


First, you are not liable for any accident if you are not the driver or if the driver was not your agent, performing a task or errand for you. One other way to try to get to you on a co-ownership is to claim that you got the car for your friend and you negligently entrusted the car to her (a very hard thing to prove but doesn't stop lawyers from trying). Second, if you have keys to the car and have a copy of the title with your name on it, you could take the car but that could lead to a nasty squabble if she is the primary user of the car and you originally helped her buy the car for her use. The only thing you could be on the hook for is the car loan if she defaults. If she drives without insurance that's on her. My advice? Try to reason with her. Find out what is the problem. If she's broke tell her she can't keep the car anymore and can't drive it. Try to get the keys from her so if you take the car, she can't come and take it back. This is more of a social, domestic problem than a legal problem.


I agree with Attorney Dion. While you likely would not be found liable if she were to get into an accident, the best thing you could do is get your name off the loan. I would simply explain to her that you don't feel comfortable with her driving a vehicle that you "own" without car insurance. If she can't make the payment or if she is unwilling, then you should do whatever you need to do to disassociate yourself from the vehicle. Just remember a great outlook on any sticky situation is that there is no way to prevent yourself from getting sued, however there are many ways to limit your liability in the event that someone does decide to sue you.

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