If an insurance company has accepted fault and is wanting to repair my car, can they for any reason back out and not repair the car?

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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: Aug 21, 2019

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Insurance Question from Whittier, CA

Asked on 08/21/2019

If an insurance company has accepted fault and is wanting to repair my car, can they for any reason back out and not repair the car? Somebody rear-ended me (I own the car outright), 100% they were at fault and their insurance company agrees. My car has around $6000 damage (average estimates from 3 shops). The insurance company wants to send me $1800 and then says that they will pay the shop the rest "as the shop proves the additional charges" over what they originally estimated. I would however rather have the $6000 to put into a newer car and scrap the car that was in the accident myself or repair it later on myself. If I try to negotiate with them to settle it with me directly (for a little less than they are going to end up paying the repair shop and also the fact that I won't need a rental car that they would have to pay for) can they decide to change their minds and just forget about the repair and total it out for less than the repair bill just to screw me over? The reason I am worried about trying to negotiate a direct pay out is because the car doesn't Bluebook for anywhere close to the repair bill.

Answer given on August 26, 2019

Accepting fault for an automobile accident caused by an insurance company’s driver does not necessarily mean that the original estimate of the damages are the final amount.  It is possible that the adjuster made a determination as to the amount of damage to the car, before investigating the actual cash value of the car.  After the estimate they may have determined that the damage exceeded the ACV of the car so they adjusted their offer for your car.  An insurance company will not normally pay more than the actual cash value of a car if it is damaged in an accident.

You may still have the option to purchase the car from the insurance company and fix it yourself. However, you will first have to agree to the amount that was offered.  If you feel it is not enough it is your responsibllity to prove a higher value by local ads for the same car, for example.

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