How can I get money instead of getting my car repaired after accident?

My wife’s car was in an accident recently. Another car backed into her side in a parking lot. It seems clear that it will be the other driver’s fault. As you can see from the photograph of the damage, I don’t really need to have it repaired, especially when the car is 12 years old.

Is there anyway I can get money for repair rather than go to their designated body shop and have it repaired?

The other driver’s insurance company is State Farm, and the accident took place in Massachusetts.

I would appreciate any advice on how to get the insurance company to pay me in cash rather than offer to fix the car from those who experienced somethings like this or work in the insurance industry.

The insurance company will cut you a check. You can cash the check and use the money however you want. The money is compensation for your loss, and whether you fix the loss or not, you did have a loss and are owed money for it.

To determine or agree on the amount, do I simply go to different body shops and get estimates, or would the insurance company insist on having the estimate done by their own body shop?

You can get other estimates if you like and give them to State Farm. State Farm sends you to a shop that will do the work for State Farm’s estimate, though. If you come in with higher estimates, they will just tell you to use their shop or pay the difference. Using their shop also means that if they find more required work, State Farm is more likely to believe them. This doesn’t mean you can’t get unanticipated work okayed, it won’t be quite as easy, though.

Ask your insurance company.
If they decline to do so, check with your state’s Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Affairs. Depending on where you live, state law may require them to honor such a request.

NOTE: the Insurance Commission is constructed by the insurance companies, of the insurance companies, and for the insurance companies to protect them from consumers. It is NOT there to protect consumers’ rights from insurance companies. The AG’s office IS. I learned that lesson many years ago the hard way.

When I lived in Colorado my VW Rabbit got whacked from behind, quite a bit of damage, cosmetic only tho. The insurance company rep took a look and gave me an estimate. I thought I could get it fixed for fewer dollars than that, so I asked if they’d just write me a check. No objections at all, they wrote me a check for that amount on the spot. And I was indeed able to find an inde body shop in a smaller city down the road 75 miles to do the repairs for less.

I have taken a check from the insurance money once and repaired the car myself and taken the money and not repaired the car once (hail damage on the roof of a minivan). Unless you signed an agreement to get cheaper insurance by agreeing to use a repair shop they designate like State Farm offered me many years ago, you have the right to get the car repaired anyplace you want or not get it repaired at all. The only issue is the amount of the estimate.

I have never been lowballed by an insurance company.

Thank you everyone. I was thinking I might encounter some problem, because I have had some bad experiences in the past with a different insurance company. Also, I don’t have comprehensive or collision (I think it’s collision. I am not insured for repair to my car, if the accident is my fault.), my insurance company basically told me to get it settled with the other insurance company. They said they would help me out, if I run into difficulty, but they are not obligated to help me repair my car, because it’s the other driver’s fault.

The car looks fine from the picture and it is not going to cost you to have it repaired so why not do so? Besides they might even give you a car to drive.

In Massachusetts, you have the right to choose the repair shop. I would certainly get my own estimates. The highest one may be disputable so if one is wildly higher than the others, it may be hard to defend. But it will give you a sense of whether or not their settlement offer is acceptable.

Commonweath of MA Regulation 212 2.0.4
“(c) Contact with Claimant and Selection of Repair Shop. No staff or independent, appraiser, insurer, representative of insurer, or employer of an independent appraiser shall refer the claimant to or away from any specific repair shop or require that repairs be made by a specific repair shop or individual.”

Lets see 12 year old Ford Focus ( unknown miles ) might be enough to total the car. If so try and but it back from the insurance. Also don’t know how things work where you live, but where I live fender benders in parking lots are usually covered by your own insurance. In other words parking lots are on private property.

So, in your state, if I run up across your lawn and smash into your car, I’m off the hook?
Private property just means the police often will not get involved unless there are personal injuries.

You can bet your insurance company will go after the at fault driver’s insurance two seconds after you make a claim on your policy. For minor damage like that shown, it’s almost always better to deal directly with the at fault driver’s insurance if they are willing to work in good faith. Avoids strikes on your policy…plus if you want to pocket the money and not get it repaired (as the OP does), it is far easier to do that working with the at fault driver’s insurance based on my own experience in doing so.

I was bumped a couple of years ago in the Wal-Mart parking lot and it was the fault of the other motorist. The damage was only cosmetic. Her insurance company, (I think it was Progressive, but it may have been GEICO) called me the next day and asked me where I would like to have the work done. I had had some work done by the Buick agency body shop and the dealer is close to my residence, so I suggested them. The agent said he would make arrangements. He called back 15 minutes later and said that they could take my van that afternoon. I said that I needed the van to take my fellow musicians to s gig we were playing that evening. “No problem”, he replied. “We will have a rental van ready for you when you arrive”. After my van was finished, I got a call from the insurance agent following up on the repair and making sure everything was fixed to my satisfaction.
I contrast this experience with an experience I had with State Farm. My son had one of our vehicles when he was in college. He was working with a church and loaned the car to a family in the church to take their daughter to a college 60 miles away. The car was hit head on by a woman who crossed the center line and was clearly at fault. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. My son needed transportation for the work he was doing with a church. State Farm told him they didn’t have the police report. My son went to the police station and got the report. He was then told that they couldn’t do anything because the computers were down and come back the next day. When he went back the next day, he was told they couldn’t furnish a car to anyone under 25. I told him to give me the name of the person he was having to deal with. I had it all set up when I made the call. When the agent gave me the line that they couldn’t rent a car to anyone under 25, I responded that I paid an extra premium for my son to drive the car and if I had to drive 50 miles and back to straighten out the situation, I would charge for my time. I then nudged my student assistant and she yelled, “Dr. Triedaq, you are needed in the lab stat”. I told the agent on the other end that I had an emergency and would call her back. She replied, "No need. He has his rental car right now. I didn’t tell the agent it was the computer lab and I am the kind of doctor that doesn’t do anybody any good. A day later, the adjuster called and told me the car was totaled and they would send me a check for $3125. I had checked prices and found the car was worth between $3900 and $4200. When he argued, I told him that he should locate a car like mine in similar condition, get a guaranteed price and I would accept either the replacement car or the money. The adjuster replied “I do not go car shopping”. I retorted that if I had to go shopping, I would invoice State Farm for my time @$100 per hour which I am paid to do consulting work. He became indignant and hung up. It didn’t bother me because we had their rental car. The next day the adjuster called back and accepted my amount of $4000.
I did have an incident with my own insurance company. I was hit in s parking lot in my then 28 year old Oldsmobile by a woman who was being chased by the manager of Hobby Lobby for stealing a dozen candles. She hit my car and clipped a pickup truck as she sped away. I got her license number and was asked to wait for the police. The police told me I had to report the incident to my insurance company. I told the police that it wouldn’t do any good because I didn’t carry collision on the car, but I was told I had to do it anyway. I called the insurance company with the police report number. My insurance agency called me at work a couple of days later and said that the party that hit me wasn’t insured but my uninsured motorist would pay for the damage. An hour later I got a call from the adjuster that she was out in the parking lot examining my car and was ready to cut s check. I decided that now was my chance. Mrs. Triedaq had been after me to get rid of the car. I went out to the parking lot and the adjuster had a check waiting for me for $225. I accepted the check, handed her the keys and said I would mail her the title. I congratulated her on her purchase. “Not so fast, bub”, she said as she handed back the keys. “The last thing we want is that heap. Go buy yourself a case of beer and the damage won’t look so bad”. She then laughed, got in her car and drove off.

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Thanks for the stories. I am dealing with State Farm, which happens to be the company you had problems with. I want to make sure I know who I am dealing with, and I know what I am doing before things begin to happen. I think I can find out who is State Farm’s preferred repair shop and get an estimate before reporting the accident to the insurance company. Anybody care to guess how much it would cost to repair that damage?

I’m guessing $1,000.

I have had State Farm for decades. They have never suggested that I have to use one of their “preferred” shops. Of course my state prohibits that. As posted by shadowfax you should be able to get a compensation for the damage and get it repaired or not.

Not in Oregon. You have the legal right to whatever repair shop you choose. State Farm had company shops to make an initial estimate in the 1980s. They could not by state law require you to use their recommended shops. Different states. Different traffic/insurance laws. I was rear ended by an idiot while stopped with 2 dozen other drivers at a red light in 2002. The idiot was insured by Progressive. They tried every dirty and illegal trick in the book! I guess they assumed I was an ignorant idiot. My State Farm insurance made everything right and filed what they said was one of dozens of complaints against Progressive with the state insurance commissioner.

My State Farm policies state that I can loan a vehicle to anyone with a valid drivers license 25 years or older. Children under 25 years old must be added to the policy.

I said that the insurer has shops they already vetted, and those shops will accept the estimates the insurer gives them. If you want to use another shop, you are still constrained by the estimate no matter what your favored shop charges.

You shouldn’t have a problem. They’ll just want to settle it quick and get it off their books. If you were using your own insurance and there was a lien on it, sometimes they will want to issue the check to both you and the lien holder. Then it requires the lien holder endorsing the check also to insure the car was fixed. Shouldn’t be a problem in your case though. My wife was hit in the Walmart lot too and it was no problem. I fixed it myself with a new fender and even when I discovered a little later I needed a door hinge, it was not a problem adding to it.