Will car insurance allow me to repair my car myself?
Auto insurance pays to cover the cost of repairs whenever a vehicle is damaged as part of a covered loss. If you carry collision and comprehensive coverage on your car and it’s involved in an accident, your insurance company will pay for the vehicle to be restored to the condition it was in prior to the accident.
These repairs are generally completed at a body shop. You have the right to choose the shop to do the repairs, and your insurance company may also have recommendations for you if you’re not sure what you’d like to do.
Some people may wish to take another route to get their vehicle repaired. These individuals may be mechanics, own their own body shops or otherwise be experienced with the repair of vehicles. They may be able to complete their own auto repairs for a lower price or higher quality than what a body shop will offer. In this case, individuals may wonder if it’s possible to obtain a settlement directly to cover the cost of repairs completed at home.
Will Insurance Companies Pay Individuals to Complete Repairs?
Once you’re involved in an accident, you will need to bring the vehicle to an inspection or have an adjuster come to look at your vehicle. That adjuster will decide how much the repairs on your vehicle will cost. This figure is determined by adding the actual cost of parts to a standard labor rate for your area.
The check may be issued to you directly as the vehicle’s owner or two-party to yourself and the body shop of your choice. If you have a lien holder on the vehicle, you must receive a two-party check to ensure that the vehicle is repaired; this protects the lien holder’s financial interests in case you default on the loan and the car must be repossessed.
Otherwise, if you are the sole owner of the vehicle, the insurance company will issue the check to you to do with it as you will. Once it goes into the shop, if the repair shop discovers additional damages, they can submit a supplement request. The insurance company will issue all supplements directly to the body shop rather than sending it to you.
Alternately, if you do not wish to have the vehicle repaired, you can cash the check and use it however you wish. This can include spending the money on expenses or attempting to repair the vehicle yourself if you want, although there will be some limitations on what your insurance company will pay for if you do your own repairs.
If I Own My Own Shop, Can I Fix My Car?
In cases where the vehicle’s owner is also the owner of a repair shop, completing your own repairs is fairly simple. You can act on behalf of the body shop where you work when requesting supplements, and insurance companies should have no problem issuing you a check directly or two party to yourself and the name of your business. As long as the body shop is certified, the repairs that you complete should be enough to satisfy lien holder requirements.
People who do not own their own body shops will have a more difficult time in having an insurance company pay for their repairs directly. Repairing the vehicle yourself may not be sufficient in a lien holder’s eyes as repair of a vehicle, so you might not have the ability to complete repairs if you make payments on the vehicle.
You may also not be able to obtain supplements from the insurance company; whatever you get in the initial settlement may be the only funds that you can receive for the claim. You may be able to complete additional repairs out of pocket and submit receipts for consideration of reimbursement, but there is no guarantee that the insurance company will issue any further payments.
Whether you plan to complete your own repairs or have a body shop do them for you, it’s a good idea to have the vehicle inspected by an adjuster and obtain at least one independent estimate as well. This will help ensure that you know exactly how much repairs will cost and it will help you negotiate the best settlement from the insurance company.
Also bear in mind that whether you complete your own repairs or have the vehicle taken to an auto body shop, your insurance company is not liable for the quality of the repairs. This means that if the vehicle is not repaired to the condition it was in prior to the loss, you will need to take up your complaint with the person who fixed the vehicle. You will not be able to obtain additional funds to complete repairs that were not done correctly the first time. Once the insurance company pays for the settlement, they are no longer responsible for anything that happens to your vehicle, so choose your repair options wisely.