If another person’s insurance company cuts me a check for their customer hitting my car, do I have to use all of the money for repairs?

Someone hit my car when I was in the gym. She filed a claim with her
own insurance. The insurance company provided me with an estimate and
cut me a check for that amount. The mechanic I go to can do the work
for cheaper. Am I allowed to keep the difference from the insurance
check?

Asked on May 2, 2016 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Under the circumstances you describe, yes--you did not defraud the insurer by lying about the cost to repair (or how or where you would repair the car); rather, they voluntarily cut you a check with no strings attached for what they think is the proper amount. Since they voluntarily chose to give the check directly to you without imposing any limitations on your use of it in a settlement agreement, the money is yours.


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