After an accident, my car was taken to a body shop (my choosing) to repairs. After 5 weeks and 4 return visits, it was determined by a dealership that the head was crack from the beginning. Is Ins Co responsible for repairing it?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 17, 2019

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Insurance Question from Mohrsville, PA

Asked on 03/17/2019

After an accident, my car was taken to a body shop (my choosing) to repairs. After 5 weeks and 4 return visits, it was determined by a dealership that the head was crack from the beginning. Is Ins Co responsible for repairing it? Two adjusters and the mechanic "missed" the biggest problem from the accident. Through the original claim and the supplemental claims, the insurance company paid the mechanic what the car is worth. The car was returned to us after 34 days. Within a week, after being left on the side of the road and returning the car to the mechanic three more times, we took it to the dealership (as advised by the adjuster). In less than an hour they found the cracked head and gave us an estimate that alone is more than the value of the car. The insurance company says they will not cover any more costs and if they now total the car they will deduct what they put into the repairs, leaving us with nothing. Are they liable for repairing the car regardless of the cost if they chose to start the process? If they had caught the problem on day one and totaled the car, we would have received the value of the car. Thank you so much for your help and advice.

Answer given on April 02, 2019

Even though the cracked head was considered a part of the accident, the fact it was not detected really doesn’t change much. It sounds like your insurance company has already paid for all of the repairs, which basically result in a total loss.  

Automobile insurance pays the “actual cash value” of the car at the time of loss. The insurance company is not required to pay for additional repairs regardless of cost. You chose the repair shop and the adjuster usually follows the advice of the repair shop. They do not normally inspect the car to verify the mechanic. The estimate from the mechanic usually lists the damages and costs and the adjuster approves repairs or not.  Basically you have received the value of the car already, even though there is still the issue of the cracked head.  It is also possible that the cracked head was not a part of the original damage, but occurred later


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