Can I Pocket the Insurance Money and Skip the Repairs?
Is it Fraud to Not Have Auto Body Repairs Done?
Here’s a question that comes up quite often. People wonder if they absolutely must do the repairs on their vehicle, or can they collect the insurance money and drive the banged up rig. There are a few factors that we have to go over before you can say yes or no.
Naturally, we want you to come to our collision repair shop in Billings. But in the end, the choice is yours about whether you want to drive a dented vehicle and have a little extra money in your pockets.
Is There a Loan on the Vehicle?
The first question on whether or not you can keep the insurance money is if you own the vehicle outright. If you don’t, then the company that holds the loan has the first say, and they will always say to fix it. In fact, you won’t even be able to see the money. Big Sky Collision Center will work directly with your insurance to cover the cost of the repairs.
If there’s a loan on the vehicle, you cannot pocket the insurance money and skip the repairs.
Is it Deemed a Total Loss?
After a wreck, there are appraisers that look the vehicle over and determine if it’s worthwhile to fix it, or if the costs of the repairs would be more than the value of the vehicle. When that happens, it’s deemed a total loss. Keep in mind that if you drive a vehicle that isn’t very valuable, a total loss could be nothing more than a dented fender and broken window. When the insurance company deems the vehicle totaled, you usually have to give it up in order to collect the full payout. Keeping the vehicle might mean you get half (or less than half) of the claim value.
If it’s a total loss, you can pocket the insurance money, but you probably don’t want to.
How Bad is the Damage?
There are many times when after a wreck, the vehicle simply shouldn’t be driven (or can’t be driven!). When much of the damage isn’t where we can see it, we often think it’s not that big of a deal to keep driving. There are two issues at stake here.
First, your insurance company may not continue the coverage on the damaged vehicle. At the very least, you will have an exclusion that prevents repairs on anything damaged (i.e. a hail damaged vehicle that suffers more hail damage can’t file a claim to have all the damage repaired). Second, if the damage isn’t fixed, and it causes the vehicle to be unsafe and you end up getting in another wreck due to its improper functioning, you may be setting yourself up for a lawsuit.
If it’s badly damaged, you shouldn’t pocket the insurance money.
Big Sky Collision Recommend Fixing Your Vehicle
A little dent in the door, a scrape on the hood, or a cracked bumper are often more cosmetic than anything. If you don’t care about driving a dinged, dented, or scratched vehicle, you certainly have the right to pocket the insurance money.
Here at Big Sky Collision, we recommend taking pride in what you drive. And that means getting those repairs done! Give us a call at 406-259-6328 and we’ll get it all scheduled for you.