Allstate - how long do you have to fix car?

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My wife was recently rear-ended at a red-light.  It has been a hassle, but at least the driver admitted fault to his insurance company (Allstate) and they cut my wife a check for visible damage in less than a week.  Of course, if we take the car to a Body Shop and there is further structural damage, Allstate says they will pay for all of it to the shop.  We are considering keeping the check and not getting the repair.  The car is rather old and will probably be replaced within a few years and it is still driveable.  The damage is mostly cosmetic.  The trunk won't latch perfectly, but it does stay snugly closed while driving.

My question, does anyone know how long we have to take the car to a shop and get the repair?  If we decide to keep driving the car, but it turns out that it's worse than we think in a month (or 3, or 6...), can we still take it then?  I'm sure there must be a time limit, just not sure what it is since this is our first accident.  Thanks for any advice if you've been in this situation.

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I think you should have the car checked out now so you can get any damages documented. If you wait until months later, the insurance may claim those damages are from after the accident.

tchen811 said:   I think you should have the car checked out now so you can get any damages documented. If you wait until months later, the insurance may claim those damages are from after the accident.
 

 This is the risk. Legally, the time limit is probably the statute of limitations (varies by state, measured in years). For example, if you go back to them 6 months later because something may have started to rust out, they may argue that it would not have rusted if you got it repaired timely.  

They said they will pay the shop.  What check is there for you to keep?  Either they send you a check and you can get the repairs whenever you feel like it, or they pay the shop and you have no reason to not get the repairs done.

I'm not sure how you can say there is structural damage, but also dismiss the damage as bring cosmetic?  It kind of has to be one or the other...

Glitch99 said:   They said they will pay the shop.  What check is there for you to keep?  Either they send you a check and you can get the repairs whenever you feel like it, or they pay the shop and you have no reason to not get the repairs done.

I'm not sure how you can say there is structural damage, but also dismiss the damage as bring cosmetic?  It kind of has to be one or the other...

  
It sounds like the adjuster cut him a check for what they estimated as damages, but he has the option to have actual damages covered, if the repairs turn out to exceed the estimated cost due to unseen structural damage.

Some kinds of structural damage could be masked by what seems to be purely cosmetic, if something is damaged in a way that will lead to eventual failure but isn't causing issues currently.

Glitch99 said:   They said they will pay the shop.  What check is there for you to keep?  Either they send you a check and you can get the repairs whenever you feel like it, or they pay the shop and you have no reason to not get the repairs done.

I'm not sure how you can say there is structural damage, but also dismiss the damage as bring cosmetic?  It kind of has to be one or the other...

  They gave us a check for their estimate of the damage made out to my wife, so we already have that.  If we take it to get repaired, we give that amount to the shop.  If there is further damage than they estimated, which there certainly may be, they would pay the shop directly.  I asked a few body shops and verified that this is usually how it's done.

Thanks for the advice so far.

arch8ngel said:   
Glitch99 said:   They said they will pay the shop.  What check is there for you to keep?  Either they send you a check and you can get the repairs whenever you feel like it, or they pay the shop and you have no reason to not get the repairs done.

I'm not sure how you can say there is structural damage, but also dismiss the damage as bring cosmetic?  It kind of has to be one or the other...

  
It sounds like the adjuster cut him a check for what they estimated as damages, but he has the option to have actual damages covered, if the repairs turn out to exceed the estimated cost due to unseen structural damage.

Some kinds of structural damage could be masked by what seems to be purely cosmetic, if something is damaged in a way that will lead to eventual failure but isn't causing issues currently.

  Thanks, this is just what happened.

You could use the money they gave you to pay a shop to inspect for damage and put it back together if there isn't. For example - insurance gave you $1000 for cosmetic damage. Use $500 of that to pay a shop to inspect if there is more than $1000 worth of damage. If not, pocket the extra $500. If there is, submit the claim to insurance.

arch8ngel said:   
Glitch99 said:   They said they will pay the shop.  What check is there for you to keep?  Either they send you a check and you can get the repairs whenever you feel like it, or they pay the shop and you have no reason to not get the repairs done.

I'm not sure how you can say there is structural damage, but also dismiss the damage as bring cosmetic?  It kind of has to be one or the other...

  
It sounds like the adjuster cut him a check for what they estimated as damages, but he has the option to have actual damages covered, if the repairs turn out to exceed the estimated cost due to unseen structural damage.

Some kinds of structural damage could be masked by what seems to be purely cosmetic, if something is damaged in a way that will lead to eventual failure but isn't causing issues currently.

  I'm assuming the check was to settle the known damages.  If additional damage is uncovered that wasn't included under the settlement check, then they'll pay separately for those repairs.  It's up to him to make the repairs covered by the check, but there's nothing for him to keep regarding potential structural damage as he hasn't been paid for those repairs.  There's no reason you have to get the known damage repaired in order to find out if there is additional structural damage, let alone use the check you've received to pay towards repairing that additional damage.

Glitch99 said:   
 
  I'm assuming the check was to settle the known damages.  If additional damage is uncovered that wasn't included under the settlement check, then they'll pay separately for those repairs.  It's up to him to make the repairs covered by the check, but there's nothing for him to keep regarding potential structural damage as he hasn't been paid for those repairs.  There's no reason you have to get the known damage repaired in order to find out if there is additional structural damage, let alone use the check you've received to pay towards repairing that additional damage.

  
Sure, that is a better way to phrase it, since the "cosmetic damage" portion is essentially paid to what they are willing to pay (so it wouldn't go up, he'd just have to find a cheaper Body Shop).

So yes, he could pay some amount to have a shop give him a more thorough estimate of any unseen damage, if he wanted.

Most bumper covers are not difficult to remove. Look at youtube videos and see if you can handle it.

Make sure the acceptance of the check doesn't constitute the claim is settled with no further payments.



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