What If the Insurance Check Is More Than the Repairs?
When you file an insurance claim after an accident, you will often receive a settlement to help cover your financial and medical costs. Sometimes, compensation checks are for a specific amount to cover the exact price of damages. However, the settlement doesn't always come in a simple check that you cash out at the bank.
If your insurance check is more than the repairs, the best solution is to return the overpayment. Otherwise, the insurance company can accuse you of insurance fraud
if you fail to return the money or notify them that there was an error.
If this happens to you, you can reach out to a car accident lawyer
and explain the situation to them. The lawyer can then help you find the best way to deal with the excess money and ensure the insurance company doesn't file criminal charges on you.
How Are Insurance Checks Distributed?
There are multiple ways that an insurer can hand out settlement checks. In most cases, the check is made out to the party or parties responsible for repairing damaged property. This means you, your lender, or the repair shop can receive the money. You can consult with your lawyer to determine to whom the check should be written and the best way to spend it.
In circumstances when the check is made out to a lienholder, for example, they will most likely be the ones who decide how you can use the check. In cases like these, you should inform the lienholder of the surplus before contacting the insurance company. This will likely be your best bet for returning the money since you can't cash out the remaining balance and send it back.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate the Damages?
An insurance adjuster will look at the extent of the damage to your car and other property. They will then compare your damages against the local repair costs. The adjuster then writes the check depending on their estimated repair costs.
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters sometimes undervalue claims in an effort to save their bottom line. This means that you might get a lesser settlement that cannot cover your damages. In this instance, you can choose to hire a third-party adjuster to countercheck the insurance company's calculations and ensure you get a fair amount to cover the damages.
Can I Keep the Excess Money If the Insurance Check Is More Than the Repairs?
Insurance companies often use fixed rates from common vehicle repair companies to determine a fair value for your damages. You might, however, find an independent auto repair shop that charges less than the estimated account.
Although it is unlikely that such a situation arises, you should err on caution when dealing with the excess amount. You may be able to keep the money, but it is a good idea to inform the insurance company of the situation.
You should also double-check to confirm the amount of leftover money and determine if there was a miscommunication regarding the repairs. You can talk to the mechanic to ensure all necessary repairs were made. You may not be able to file for an additional claim if you later discover that the auto repair shop didn't initially repair the car properly.
Once you confirm all repairs were made, you can contact the insurance company to notify them that the check exceeds the repair amount. They might let you keep the remaining balance, but it's best not to risk it. Be sure to contact them first before doing anything with the money.
How Can Attorneys Help with Insurance Distribution?
Dealing with excess money can be tricky, especially if you are unsure of the correct way to move forward. Insurance lawyers can help you determine your options.
The lawyer can reach out to the insurance company on your behalf and ask if you can keep the excess funds to deal with other issues that might arise from the accident.
If the adjuster declines, the lawyer can help you return the excess to the company.
Each company has its unique way of dealing with an overpayment. Consulting an attorney can save you the confusion by working with the insurance company to ensure the money is returned when necessary.
A Dolman Law Group Lawyer Can Help Deal with Your Insurance Overpayment
A lot goes into insurance settlements, and it gets even more confusing when there are overpayments. Dolman Law Group
can help you deal with this problem. Call us today for a consultation on your overpayment problem.