Audi financial is keeping my lease equity after total loss

So long story short, my Audi etron was declared a total loss, and Progressive sent the value of the car to Audi financial instead of me. When I called Audi FS to ask when I’m going to get the equity value back, they said I won’t because they own the car and I said ok I want to exercise the buy option and they said sorry your account has been closed and that I’m SOL.

Do I have any recourse here?


  • Thanks everyone for the responses. I am a relative lease noob and I think historically having huge amounts of lease equity is an anomaly as right now it’s a historic inflationary thing so my research before I posted the issue didn’t really match my situation albeit I could have tried harder. But I think the conclusion is that in all/most leases a total loss results in payment being made to the lease co and I wouldn’t have had a chance to buy the car anyway (without committing insurance fraud, etc.). Let me know if this is incorrect.

  • I was further confused because my insurance wrote me this when I asked for the settlement payout:

Good morning,
VW credit request we send the whole settlement amount to them and they will issue you the difference. Payment has been issued to them in the amount of $64,610.04 and was issued on July 8,2022.

  • Lastly, the car accident was with an LAPD undercover cop car who T-boned my wife’s car while he was turning right at an intersection (I wasn’t in the car). The cop claims it was my wife’s fault because she ran a red. My wife says she ran a yellow. Just giving context that it’s still up in the air on who’s fault it is. If insurance says it’s it was LAPD’s fault, I will pursue legal action to get the value of my lease equity since I did lose out on that option and can’t replace the car at the same price given the insane car market right now.
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The only one is try to sue, but hopefully that doesn’t cost you more than it’s worth.
It is their car btw, but it does suck that Progessive sent them the check instead of you.

I understand legally it’s “their car” but with a clear in the money option, a rational actor would choose to exercise the buy option. To just claim my account is closed and not allowing me to exercise the option is nuts to me.

To be clear on the timeline, your intent was to purchase the totalled vehicle from audi after declaring the damage, updating your insurance company that you had purchased a damaged vehicle, and then ask the insurance company to pay you for damage that occurred to the vehicle prior to your ownership of the vehicle?

Audi financial was sent the money because thats what you agreed to in the lease contract when you signed it.


Your terms and conditions from the lessor should spell out what you’re entitled to.

Consider financing next time.


So are you saying i should load up on spy calls


Were you at fault in the accident?

If not, it might make for a fascinating lawsuit to go after the other party for the lost equity.


Exactly. A rational actor would have flipped the etron a long long time ago


I’m waiting for my Y reservation and was contemplating doing it now anyway while the market was hot and just go on one car.

It has not been determined yet. My wife got t-boned by an undercover LAPD car and at the time LAPD was claiming it wasn’t their fault so we will see.

Here is why I assumed Audi would just send me the net. Email from Progressive:

Good morning,

VW credit request we send the whole settlement amount to them and they will issue you the difference. Payment has been issued to them in the amount of $64,610.04 and was issued on July 8,2022.

I know I should never assume, but this is a scenario I never thought of.


Not to put words in your mouth, but I assume that if you owed more than the insurance paid, you would want Audi to cover the loss since it is “their car”. Why should that be reversed now?

But either way, your lease contract would have a clause in there for this scenario. You can also search the other 10,000 threads on this same topic.


My audi contract from my etron specifically stated that audi financial gets the overage amount. Im sure the insurance doesnt know any details about it other than theyre to pay the finance company.


Tboned by LAPD and you are suing AFS for 5k equity? I am no medical expert but I am afraid your wife may have suffered whiplash and an opening $5 million settlement from LAPD is what I would send a demand letter for.


That doesn’t make sense. If I’m underwater on the lease, then I owe the gap, but if I’m up on the lease, the car company gets the upside? Tails you win, heads I lose?

I have ~$15k equity in it. Fortunately for LAPD my wife is a very ethical person and would never do such a thing. But if they are found at fault I will pursue getting the lease equity back.

You may likely find that the legal costs to do so greatly exceed the money youd potentially get here, but I would love to see the results of such a lawsuit.

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No, you don’t, b/c you never owned the car. As @wam22 said, there are A LOT of threads here about this. Check what your contract says as the first step.


Just close this thread. SSDD guys.


I would imagine that an entrepreneurial lawyer could make a legal argument that a loss in the accident was the ability to execute a clause in the contract to purchase the vehicle for significantly under market value and that option has been removed as a result of the at fault’s actions.

That would be wholly independent of the insurance payout to audi fs.

Would that lawsuit past muster? I dont know. It would definitely be an interesting one to see argued though.

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Care to share how you came up with that number, and why you feel AFS owes you money on a car you did not own?