Insurance refuses to pay for my car repairs because I paid for repairs myself and don’t have an itemized estimate.

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Insurance refuses to pay for my car repairs because I paid for repairs myself and don’t have an itemized estimate.

Was involved in a car accident, at fault. Had no insurance at the time of the
accident and had to pay for my and other party repairs myself. Then later I found
out that my bank, that financed the vehicle, automatically purchases liability
insurance for me if I don’t have one. Called them, they said that I need to file
a claim and my car should be covered. Did everything, but insurance refuses to
pay for my car repairs because I paid for repairs myself and don’t have an
itemized estimate from the repair shop. Body shop owner gave me a one-page
invoice with the total amount due when I paid for repairs. Ownership and name of
the body shop have changed and I can’t get in touch with the old owner.
What can I do to get reimbursed for the money I spend on repairs?

Asked on September 17, 2018 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You probably can't get reimbursed: you can't sufficiently prove that the repairs made were the ones required by the accident (and not, say, pre-exising damage or problems you had fixed at the same time) or the work was necessary and reasonably priced without at least an itemized invoice and preferably, the ability to get the shop's owner or manager to testify in court at need. You can try to sue the insurer for "breach of contract" for not paying when you believe they should, BUT as the person suing (plaintiff), the "burden of proof" is on you--you must prove your case. If you can't provide evidence of what the repairs were, their necessity, and their reasonableness--which generally would require putting the shop's owner or manager on the stand to testify about the work--you don't have evidence to prove your case and would lose.


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