Losses and Lessons: Alfa Romeo Spider caught in web of title trouble

VEHICLE: 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider

WHAT WENT WRONG: No one enjoys having to file an insurance claim, especially when the process moves slowly and payment seems to take forever. At Hagerty, we take pride in providing fast claims service, but sometimes the procedure comes to a screeching halt due to circumstances beyond our control. And when that happens, it’s frustrating for everyone involved.

The owner of a 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider was cruising with a buddy when he inadvertently ran a stop sign and was struck broadside by a pickup truck.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The Alfa was totaled and the truck was badly damaged, but that was only the beginning. The Alfa owner and his passenger both suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to the hospital; the driver of the pickup was also hospitalized. All three eventually recovered from their injuries, but the Alfa passenger and pickup driver both sued the Alfa owner for medical expenses above his insured limit. Once the suit is settled, Hagerty is prepared to pay out the policy’s $200,000 Bodily Injury maximum. The pickup owner has already been paid $5,500 to cover damages to his truck. However, a $20,000 settlement check for the Guaranteed Value of the Alfa was delayed because of a problem with the vehicle’s title. In the state of Indiana, a car’s VIN must be certified by a police officer whenever the title is transferred, something the Alfa owner inadvertently failed to do when he purchased the vehicle. Since Indiana requires that the car owner be present while the VIN is being certified – and the Alfa owner was not only recovering from severe injuries but also lived two hours from the tow yard – the process took 106 days.

LESSON: The lessons here may be obvious, but they’re worth reading: Pay attention to traffic signs and signals; be particularly cautious when driving smaller vehicles; and make yourself aware of motor vehicle laws that may be unique to your state. To view registration and title requirements, log on to your state’s DMV website or stop by your local office and ask for a printed copy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to ongoing litigation, some details were changed for this story.