26 Jun What Happens to Insurance Proceeds for a Totaled Car in Chapter 13?
In the Southern District of Illinois Bankruptcy Court, one option permits the insurance company to pay the money directly to the car lender. Another option lets the debtor use the proceeds to purchase a substitute vehicle.
The insurance money is property of the bankruptcy estate under contractual terms that make the money payable to the debtor, even though the lender might be a joint beneficiary. The lender’s interest in the proceeds is determined by the terms of a confirmed Plan. The insurance beneficiary statement will not change the Plan terms.
The trustee is entitled to know the amount of the settlement. If the money is used to pay the lender, the trustee will direct the insurance company to pay the lender directly, up to the amount of the secured car claim. The lender should release its lien so the insurance company can dispose of the vehicle. The Trustee will then adjust the treatment of the lender’s claim in the bankruptcy.
If the debtor needs the insurance proceeds to obtain a substitute vehicle, the lender is entitled to take a lien in that vehicle until the unpaid balance of its secured car claim is paid. If the lender has a split claim that includes an unsecured portion, then the lien lasts through the duration of the claim. After the debtor makes all Plan payments, the lien is extinguished and the unsecured portion of the debt is discharged.
Andy Miofsky, Esq.
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