Bryn Asked March 2012

How do you insure your mother's car if she's in nursing home?

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I went to see my car insurance agent but was told she'd be out for two days. Ok, I have my own car that's paid for, it's insured, but does not run, hasn't been used for over a year. I've been using Mom's car to see her at nursing home. Since nursing home took over her money her car insurance that was used to be taken out automatically via bank account stopped. Ok, my question: Can I transfer car insurance from my car to mom's car? Or do I have to pay for both? My budget does not permit me to have two car insurances so I am in bind. Mom's car is dependable, mine is not. I don't know when I will have money to get my car fixed. Both cars are paid for. From what I understand I can't sell Mom's car because then Medicaid will require money to go to them. She's allowed to keep one car. Anyone have this experience?

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No matter what you decide to do, call the County's Agency on Aging to make sure what you are doing is legal. My SIL thought she would just start driving my MIL car when she went to NH....it isn't that easy and it would have been cheaper for her to buy new car than pay these fines. Are you insured on your mother's car to drive it to NH to see her? If you have an accident and you are not covered then the repercussions are ghastly....it seems some rules are ridiculous, but they are rules non the less. Good Luck to you!
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rhodygarden Jan 2013
I should have also added - at the same time you get the insurance on your mom's car (as POA) you can ask you insurance agent to 'suspend' the insurance on the car you are not driving. If you are concerned about theft or window breakage, you can insure the non-working care for comprehensive coverage only. However that may cost you $30-40 every six months and may not be worth it. If you agent doesn't seem helpful -- you may need to get a new agent. Some are not really good at the non-ordinary stuff. I've got to say ---If I had an agent that was not going to be available a couple days and didn't offer me someone else in their office that could help me while they were going to be away - I would be getting a new one for sure. After all, without the clients they sell insurance to - they are out of work! Leaving town and not helping you isn't okay in my book and I have been associated with insurance all my working life.
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rhodygarden Jan 2013
You can keep the car in her name even if she is on Medicaid. It is selling it that causes you an issue. If you have POA (like I do) some insurance carriers (like Mine - Travelers) will allow you to add the car to your insurance policy as POA even though you are not an owner of the car. This is what I did and it works out great.
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igloo572 Jan 2013
Pamelac - there will be an transfer penalty issue if mom "gives" the car to you or whomever and she applies for Medicaid within the next 5 years (2018). The insurance agent is just looking at the situation from his point of view in that he wants to keep the policy going (and his commission). Titles are recorded by the state and Medicaid will find out and issue a penalty based on the Blue Book value of the car on the Medicaid recipient. Transfer penalty is based on whatever is your state's Medicaid daily reinbursement rate. For TX, it's about $ 143 a day, so if you are gifted or given a car with a value of 5K, you would have a penalty of 35 days in which you would have to private pay for the NH. What often happens with transfer penalties is that the gifting is discovered after the elder is in the NH and on the Medicaid program. There is often a lag time from when they are accepted and the asset search is completed and tangible property (like a home, land, car) is all recorded by the state and Medicaid will eventually find out. So 8 months after mom is in the NH, you, as the person who signed mom into the NH, gets the penalty letter and have 30 days to figure out how to come up with the private pay. This is a total panic situation to find yourself in and awful predicament to place your mom in, as this is totally avoidable with planning.

The car is an exempt asset for Medicaid BUT if mom goes into a NH and utilizes Medicaid to pay for NH, then all her monthly income less whatever your state has as their personal needs allowance MUST be paid to the NH. PNA runs from $ 30 - 90 and each state has the rate different. (My mom is in Texas and it's pna is $ 60 a mo). In theory, pna should be used to cover daily personal needed items that Medicaid doesn't like hairdresser, cable or clothing. There really isn't the $$ to pay for insurance, gas and other upkeep on the car plus issues if there is an accident when another is driving her car.
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pamelac Jan 2013
An insurance agent told me that my mother can give the car to a family member with no money involved-- just have to prove my relationship to her. HOWEVER, if money from the sale of the car may be needed for future medical/living expenses, it's better to sell it soon to minimize depreciation due to condition or mileage. If you just want to use the car, be sure to get yourself added as a driver on her insurance; if you don't do this, the insurance company might refuse to pay any claim! If that happens and you're "at fault" for an accident, your mother can be sued personally for damages/injuries!!
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Yvonne1946 Apr 2012
You stated your car is inoperable and you don't know when you'll be able to get it fixed. Why waste your money on insurance of your car. Get a hold of your mother's ins agent and continue her insurance. If you every get your car fixed it takes 5 min online to get new insurance.
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palmtrees1 Apr 2012
I insure my MIL's car and have been for the past 4 years. She pasted away, the car went to my husband, we pay for the tag and my insurance covers it. No problem. We still do not have the title, nor have we paid anything for it. My brother in law is excutor of the will and there has been much foot draggery. But no one cares or wants the car except my husband. So far no problem.
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Byrn: Talk to your own insurance company about insuring your mom's car? They should also be able to tell you how to discontinue insurance on your car. If you have POA for your mom, see if you add your name to the title of your mom's car so you are both listed as owners. You should not have to keep insurance up on your car if it is inoperable. I think you can just stop the insurance and you can also stop paying the annual tags and registration fees on it. Usually states have a way of letting you do that if you talk to your motor vehicle department and have your car listed as inoperable. That way you avoid penalties.

Good luck. Cattails.
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igloo572 Apr 2012
Go to one of the on-line auto insurance companies to see what's available and do this as your mom. You're DPOA so this is legit.

Titles go MIA all the time, the state dept of motor vehicles or the county tax assessor (which does this depends on the state) can re-issue you a title for a smallish fee. It could take a few weeks, you usually have to have a copy of the drivers license or other ID mailed in to get this done. Have it mailed to you and have it read in her name but at your address. I've found mail to the NH gets lost.

How is your mom's co-pay from SS or other retirement paid to the NH?

Does she still get the checks and deposited into her bank account and you pay them or does the NH get them? In every state, a Medicaid paid resident at a NH has a "personal care monthly allowance". I think the $ depends on the state. My mom is in a Texas NH, Texas has the allowance at $ 60.00 per month. Some states have it kinda low...about $ 30/35 a mo. Now I write a ck to the NH for the total income she receives every month less $ 60.00. The $60 a month stays in her account and builds up. About every 3 months, I take her to get a cut & perm & sometimes a facial and use the built up allowance to pay for that. The allowance needs to be used on them or anything they own. So you could use her allowance to pay for her auto insurance or pay for a portion of the insurance and you pay the rest.

Now some NH will insinuate that you are required to have the residents monthly income mailed to/paid to them (the NH) and then they do a "trust" account for each residents state required $ allowance for their personal stuff. Like paying for the on-site beauty shop. But you as DPOA do not have to run it this way.

At my mom's NH, I put $ 200 into her trust account to pay for stuff she may want -
this is my $, written on my solo account, so it should never enter into a factor in her Medicaid income/asset when and if they review her status.

If your car is just not fixable, then why don't you sell it?
What is the blue book value on your mom's car?
If it's under maybe 1K or 1,500 then what if you can buy it from her and that $ from the sale is still under the 2K required for assets in order to be OK with Medicaid.
Remember for Medicaid, there are limits for "assets" and "income" but they are separate categories. My mom has about $900 in her bank account that just sits there, every month. Not an issue for Medicaid acceptance.

That $ from the car sale would need to just sit in her bank account and used to pay for whatever personal stuff she might need or just stay there and get POD to you when she dies and you use it for burial/funeral items. Good Luck.
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Bryn Mar 2012
Insurance for Mom's car expired and I never got a letter from her insurance co even though I am her POA. So right now it's without insurance. Mom has Alz's disease, but she gave me her permission to use her car while she still had in her good mind and gave me POA, that was 3 years ago. Now she's getting worse. I don't even know where the title for her car is. I know I could have let her insurance agent know, but the problem is he does not believe that a deaf person should drive. I had problem with him when I moved from Florida so I found another agent and got my car insured with no problem.
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