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Auto Insurance Claims/Honda CRV engine blown...driver negligence


Hi Rob

I was doing a friend a favour and driving his Honda  CRV to a holiday destination.
The engine blew and the report say I was driving 123km/hour in 4th when the engine blew.
The motor plan  does not want to pay to pay out owing to "driver negligence"

Admitedelly I am not used to 6 gears and did not hear the over reving.

My questions are as follows:

Are the manufacturers possible using this as an excuse to NOT pay out?
Could their be a fault on the report?
Is their anything I can do to dispute the report ?

I am at a loss to say anything and can not afford the cost of replacing the engine.

Can you help me?

I was 1 hour into my road trip when the engine/gasket blew.

Warm regards



I did not get the year and model of the vehicle and I am a little perplexed as to how it could be determined as to what gear the trans was in and the speed the engine blew up at. I do not know if a vehicle CDR (Crash data retrieval) box could pick up this event if so equipped. If they could pick this up, surely they could determine engine temperature at the time and how long the engine was running at that rpm.
Normally in a situation you describe, I would be looking for lower end damage in the engine, rod and main bearings. What system failed? Cooling system? Oiling system? What caused only the head gasket to fail?
Send me the report to

Generally, if a head gasket blows it is the result of overheating which is considered negligence. Yes, there are other things that can cause this event, but overheating is the most common.
The car should be equipped with a tach and just the sound of the engine overrevving would be more than obvious.

I cannot think of any recourse you would have against the manufacturer, because anything related to driving is addressed in the owners manual in the glove box.
Even if there was some sort of recourse, you say you don't have money to fix it, a lawyer would not take a case like this on contingency and you would have to front thousands of dollars to an attorney. You also have no standing because it isn't your car.

Your problem is that the vehicle ran good enough to drive an hour before the catastrophic event. How could you possibly refute their report?

I understand the reason you don't want to take responsibility because you don't have the money to fix it, but by taking the keys from your friend, you took on all responsibility as to what happened to the car, no matter what it was. This is exactly why I do not put myself into these situations with friends and relatives. The sam goes for loaning money.

Please don't think I am preaching here. I am not. If you had options, I would help you. You simply don't.

You could see if your friend would settle for a used engine and have that installed at a garage. Not a damn overpriced dealer. If I were the friend though, I would want the vehicle in the same condition they loaned it to you.

Good luck!

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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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