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Auto Insurance Claims/theft and recovery


On aug 1 2014 i purchased a truck at a state ran auction, i then went to get the emission and safety inspection (check engine light was already on). the inspection said what needed to be replaced, anyhow after 3 inspections and 1400$ in repair, I went to the NC department of vehicle and got a waiver to drive the truck for a year and fix the problem with the check engine light. Got the title and license plates. Two days ago an inspector from the NC department of license and theft bureau came to my house and ask me if I knew where my truck was, of course I did, my husband had driven to work. The inspector ask if I could have it here tomorrow he needed to check something. So I did. The inspector came out and plugged in a computer reading into my truck, then he goes to his car and is there for some time. He comes out and tells me that the truck is reported stolen for 2012. Then vin on the door and dash match but they dont match the vin in the pcm, he needed to take it to a shop to see the vin on the frame. He had it towed to a shop. Then he calls later in the day and says the truck is stolen from florida in 2012, and we are without our vehicle. I purchased this truck because I am disabled and needed something to carry my scooter.
Geico was the insurance company that paid out the claim.I am very upset that this vehicle made it to a STATE ran auction from a DWI. I would really like to have my truck back, what options do I have? I have 4500$ tied up in this vehicle. I am now the victim of the whole situation. What really upset me was that he just towed my vehicle away, like I was a thief. I have the bill of sales from the auction house, I have the title from the state on NC.  Thank you so much for your assistance. Darlenna


Well, Had you contacted me the day the inspector was there wanting to verify the hidden vin or even checking the computer, I would have advised you to tell him to pound sand and come back with a warrant! Most people will comply with these jerks and there is a thing called probable cause. I am not a lawyer, but I deal with these issues all the time when representing clients under Power of Attorney. I have two decades dealing with the court system as an expert. In fact, I was in Tucson Wednesday yet again testifying against the prosecution.

Normally, you would be screwed and all the money you paid out was in vane. Many have inadvertently bought stolen cars from dealers and left holding the bag.
Your situation may be a little different. Auctions are required to make damn sure the vehicle is not on the NCIC theft list! A dealer does not have the capability to look an farther than the VINs and compare to the title. Cops do when recovered from a theft! NICB checks the hidden VINs on recovered stolens. Geico should have retained this vehicle and it should never been sold at auction!!!!!!!
I would suggest yo contact the auction and ask them what they are going to do for you. That is not part of As Is.
As for the $1,400 you paid for the emissions, you won't be able to recover that.
I have cloned cars that did not exist sold through a dealer that went through state inspection with no problem from dealers and it wasn't for years a problem came up when reported stolen.
Send a certified letter to the auction with copies of all documentation demanding payment. Get back to me at and let me know what they say. You may have to retin me. I will sue them!  

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Rob Painter, Ase, CFEI, CAFATE


Please remember. I am not an attorney and cannot legal advice. My answers are based on my experience due to litigation I have been involved in as an expert, for both insurance companies and while oposing them opposing them. I deal with only comprehensive claims on autos related to fire and theft. I have even had the opportunity to rewrite policy coverage language as it relates to vehicle theft and forced entry for insurance defense attorneys.


Experience in the area: Working with insurance companies and attorneys on these issues for over 20 years. It is very common to have a reported stolen car with a so-called factory anti-theft system to have the theft claim denied. I have served successfully as an expert witness in the courts across the US representing the insured and their attorney revealing that the insurance expert did not take all known theories into consideration before rendering their "Forensic" conclusion. Many insurance carriers us independent "Forensic" experts to examine reported stolen vehicles commonly using flawed methodology implicating the innocent insured with the theft. My job is to determine if the insurance expert reached his conclusions based on accepted scientific principals or just net opinion with no basis other than opinion. My case record against such experts is very compelling.My resume can be seen at the catagory "Auto Theft and Prevention." In "Forensics" the scientific method must be employed. In the forensic locksmith field determining how a reported stolen vehicle was last operated, many processes cannot be duplicated and are conveniently not addressed. If they were, juries would have the opportunity to make a fair and impartial opinion at least about what the expert could or could not prove. There is a purported process determining the last key used. The chances of determining such is very rare uless the key is found in the ignition lock. Experts commonly destroy evidence as well and are rarely questioned on this event. I reveal the weakness in their testimony on such instances.

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