Paying for Repairs Without Going Through my Car Insurance

Paying out of pocket for repairs can spare you higher car insurance rates. If you're at-fault for the accident, your cost of coverage may increase by $137.75/mo.

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UPDATED: Sep 13, 2021

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Sep 13, 2021Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Some states require an accident be reported immediately after it occurs
  • If you do not have to report an accident, you can choose to pay for any damages from an accident
  • Paying for your damages could result in more serious consequences such as increased insurance rates

Having a car accident has a lot of repercussions; one of which is that your vehicle may need repairs that require going through your car insurance policy. Many people wonder if they can pay for their repairs rather than going through their insurance company.

The simple answer to this is yes, you can pay for your own repairs, but there are some things to consider before taking this course of action.

Are you wondering whether you should submit a claim or pay out of pocket for auto body repair costs? There are many things you should consider before making a decision.

Read through this article to learn whether paying for repairs without using your auto insurance policy is a smart move or not and then be sure to enter your ZIP code in above for a free car insurance comparison!

What happens after an accident

Every state has different rules about accidents. If you are in an accident with another vehicle, you may be required by law to report it.

Every state has a monetary amount associated with the reporting of an accident to the police. This amount can range from $1,000 to $5,000 in estimated damages.

In other words, if you have a fender bender, you can skip the police call and pay for your damages without even contacting your insurance company, although this is not recommended.

Once you report an accident, your insurance company must be notified.

If you cause an accident, your insurance company will send someone to assess the damages to your vehicle and the vehicle of the other person in the accident. They will then write a check to the other driver.

What happens next depends on the type of insurance coverage that you have.

  • If you only have liability coverage on your vehicle, then your vehicle isn’t covered by the insurance company, and you are responsible for the costs.
  • If you have collision coverage, your insurance company will cover the damages to your vehicle, or you can refuse the payment and pay for the damages yourself.

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When you pay for your damages

If you are the cause of an accident, and you damage another vehicle, then your insurance rates are going to go up. You can, however, control the cost of that increase by paying for your repairs.

Your increase will be based on how much the insurance company has to pay for your claims, so paying for your repairs will reduce long-term costs. This increase might be a good idea for you if you have some cash in hand, but you don’t think that you can afford the long-term costs of a premium hike.

However, you could end up losing your collision coverage until you provide proof that the repairs are done on your vehicle to the satisfaction of your insurance company.

Especially if your vehicle is financed, this additional step could create problems if you were planning on holding off on the repairs.

Your lender requires that you carry comprehensive coverage and collision coverage (as an additional coverageto your liability coverage) on your vehicle until it is paid in full. When you purchase the vehicle, you sign an actual contract agreeing to this called an Agreement to Provide Insurance.

If you don’t have the coverage you are required to carry, your lender has the right to take your vehicle.

In most cases, however, they will simply purchase insurance for the vehicle and bill you for it.

You don’t want this to happen because they will purchase what is called a forced insurance policy, and the premiums can be two to three times more expensive than the premiums that you are getting from your current insurance company.

If your insurance company does continue to insure your vehicle, they will refuse to pay for damages that may have been caused by a prior accident if a future accident occurs.

For example, if you have an accident that damages the right front quarter of the car and you decide to pay for repairs yourself, you may decide not to do it, or you may not provide proof that the work was done.

If you have an accident six months later and your whole front end is smashed up, your insurance company can legally subtract the cost of repairing the right front quarter from the total repairs that they will pay for.

When to consider paying for your repairs

There are times when paying for your repairs makes sense.

Repairs less than deductible

When you file an insurance claim, you will pay a deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay out-of-pocket for the cost of repairs before the insurance company reimburse the money.

If you have a $500 deductible and $200 in repairs, your insurance company isn’t going to pay for those damages anyway.

Two coverages of your auto insurance policy have a deductible-collision and comprehensive coverage. This means that your deductible applies when you get in an accident and almost any other event that causes damage (theft, vandalism, falling objects, and glass damage).

There is no point in filing a claim (which will lead to increased premiums) when they won’t pay for the damages. Any claims you call in go on your record, even if no payment results.

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If you are in an accident that doesn’t include another vehicle

You aren’t required to report a one-car accident unless you damage someone’s property in the process.

It is considered insurance fraud to have an accident in which you don’t pay for repairs and then use a future accident to have the repairs made.

If you’ve already made several claims

If you’ve made a lot of claims on your insurance, and your insurance provider has warned that they will drop you if you have any further claims, then you will want to pay for your repairs if possible.

Having no insurance at all is not only against the law, but it can be financially disastrous should a serious accident occur.

Insurance protects you against an accident. A serious accident can cost thousands of dollars in repair and liability costs. However, if your car has a mechanical breakdown, your car insurance policy won’t cover the cost of repairs. For this purpose, you would need mechanical breakdown insurance.

How to save money on car insurance

If you are concerned about the amount of coverage that you currently have, you feel that you are paying too much for your current insurance policy, or you don’t have insurance at all, it is time for you to discover who can make you the best offer on your auto insurance premiums.

Buying auto insurance is much like any investment; you can and should check things out before you make a purchase.

The easiest way to do this is to get an auto insurance quote. Use our FREE quote tool today simply by inputting your ZIP code below!

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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