When you make a claim on your auto insurance after an accident or an incident that caused damage, you will receive funds to make repairs after an estimate is obtained for the cost. If you do not have any liens on your car, then the company may write the check in your name so that you can fix the vehicle at any preferred mechanic shop. Depending on the situation, you may decide to work on the vehicle personally and keep the funds or you may choose to repair the damage by hiring a professional.
Although you have the right to retain the funds if your vehicle is damaged and you choose not to use a professional service, you may be required to get the vehicle fixed by a professional in certain situations.
If you have a lien on your vehicle, then the check may or may not be written out in your name. The lien holder will require that you repair the vehicle with a professional because the car has a diminished value after an accident. The same is true if you have used the vehicle for collateral on a new loan. The lender may ask that you fix the vehicle to the original state.
The other situation that will require professional repairs is when the check is paid to the mechanic directly. If you are not paid the cost of repairs, then the auto repair shop is given the funds. In this situation, your vehicle will be fixed by the professional.
If the damage to the car is not excessive and you are able to work on the vehicle personally, then you do have the right to keep the funds that the company provides after you make a claim. Since you received the funds for an accident that reduced the value of your vehicle, you have the ability to decide on the next step. In certain situations, such as cosmetic issues or minor repairs you can work on personally, you may determine that it is not worth the expense of hiring a professional.
Before you decide to work on the vehicle without professional assistance, keep in mind that you can only make one claim. If your attempts to work on the vehicle personally result in more damage or you need to work with a professional later, then you cannot obtain more money from the company. You were already paid for that accident.
Since the specific situation will determine whether you can keep the funds, you should contact your local agent to find out more details about your state and local laws. Ask your professional agent about your options before you make any decisions regarding vehicle repairs.
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