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Auto Insurance Claims/diminished value check


I live in the state of Ga an I have Nationwide Ins. I recently received a diminished value check for a car accident I had in Jan. The check lists my name and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp for endorsement. I've spoken to Nissan but they won't endorse the check an give it back to me like the finance company I had several years ago endorsed one I was sent an gave me the check to do with what I wanted after an accident a few years ago. I need to pay for my moms cremation with that check but Nissan says no I have to pay it on my principal, I have a 0 percent interest rate on the car. Nationwide says by law the lien holder has to be included on the check but do they have the legal right to make me use it to pay the principal on my loan?


Thank you for your question!

I'm sorry for your Mom's passing;-(

That's a very interesting question and while I'm not an attorney, and can't and don't provide legal advice. I can however tell you what I would do if found in your position.

If you have financed and are purchasing the vehicle, you have a loan contract, and as long as your payments are up to date, even though they have a vested interest in the vehicle, and its value,  I doubt they can simply take YOUR MONEY... and as such...

I would send a certified letter to your lien holder requesting clarification on their position and for them to show you where in your contract with them, it states that you must provide them such payments/proceeds. I would ask for their response to be IN WRITING ONLY and for them to provide you factual copies of all such documentation supporting their position (including copies of the specific contract language). You may wish to get your loan agreement/contract out and read it as well.

If leasing, because they are and will remain the owners, you may have to forfeit the funds... but before doing so I would want a written agreement stating that upon your doing so that they forfeit and relinquish any and all claims they may have against you for diminished value when you turn back the vehicle.

Please; let me know how it goes and what you find out and again...thanks for the question!


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Barrett Smith


Auto Claim and Collision Repair issues including quality and thoroughness of repair, Diminished Value, Total Loss settlement valuation, Appraisal Clause matters, Expert Testimony, pre-purchase inspections and others. While having been a Senior Claims Adjuster, I am not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal counsel. I will provide replies as friendly and informal advice based upon my experiences and those of our clients as possible. For more information on our offerings please visit For more informatin on our offerings please visit


I grew up working in a family owned auto body repair business my father owned and operated in Alaska and after leaving the US Air Force I started my own repair facility in Florida. I later became a senior claims adjuster for a national auto insurer and later managed two GM dealership collision centers. I started another shop which was recognized as a "Top Shop" in central Florida for over 15 years winning numerous local accolades and awards such as Business of the Year. In 2001 I developed Auto Damage Experts to provide its services nation wide and to all segments illustrating balance and equity for all ADE clients. For more information please visit

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