Do I Have to Repair My Vehicle Following an Accident Insurance Claim?
If you have full coverage auto insurance and have been involved in an accident, you might be wondering if you have to repair the damage or if you can just keep the money and live with the damage if the car is still in drivable condition. After all, you might have other bills or needs that you would prefer to put those funds toward.
If you have paid off your vehicle and there are no liens against it, there is a possibility that the insurance company will provide you with a check to do with as you please. In most cases, however, you will never actually see the money. Rather, the following procedure is likely to be followed:
- The insurance company provides you with a copy its damage estimate
- You make an appointment with the repair shop of your choice (the insurance company will be able to refer you to a body shop if you are not sure where to go)
- You provide a copy of the estimate to the repair shop
- The repair shop orders the parts and schedules your repairs
- The repair shop contacts the insurance company directly if additional damage and repair needs are discovered
By dealing directly with the repair shop, the insurance company ensures your vehicle is fully repaired without costing you anything beyond the original estimate if additional damage if found. Furthermore, if you have a lien on your vehicle, the insurance company is also responsible for protecting the interest of the lien holder. By working with the repair shop rather than issuing a check to you, the insurance company can guarantee the vehicle is returned to its original status. In this way, the lien holder can take comfort in knowing that the vehicle will retain the value that is expected.