Things to Remember…
If you own your vehicle outright, then you should be able to get a check cut in your name
When a lien is still on the car, the check will be made with both your and the body shop/lein holder
Be sure you get your car appraised for its damages by a third party auto body shop, which they will do for free
Whether or not the auto insurance company will make out a check to you once a claim is made is going to depend on a variety of factors. The company, policy and circumstances surrounding the accident are all involved.
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Issues an auto insurance company deliberates over before issuing a check to the rightful party or parties are the following:
Is there a lien on your vehicle or not?
Whose fault is the accident?
What type of coverage do you have?
What is your deductible?
Read on for more specifics of how this decision is made.
What if I own the vehicle outright, can’t I get a car insurance check in my name only?
adobestock_25180969-1600x1600Yes, if you own your vehicle outright, then you should be able to get a check cut in your name. So, if your insurance company doesn’t do this, you should simply go back to them and let them know you own your car free-and-clear and that you would like a check cut in your name.
The insurance company may ask for proof of your ownership of the car before doing this, but otherwise, there should be no issue. You should have no trouble proving you truly own the car.
If you decide not to use the check to fix your car, that is your legal right when you fully own your vehicle. But understand that if you try to get the same part fixed later on and submit a claim then that is deemed as fraud.
Moreover, if you get into another car accident and the same area of your car is damaged, the insurance company may or may not issue a check if they find out that you never applied the first check towards repairs to that part or area of your car.
What if there is a lien still on my car?
Then there will be both your name and the lien holder or the body shop on the check. Sometimes, the body shop will only be on the check.
The reason why the insurance company does this is that when you financed your vehicle, the lien owner required you to have a certain level of insurance to protect their investment the auto you are in the process of paying off.
So, because you have not paid off the vehicle, then the insurance company is obligated to either cut a check in the lien holder’s or auto shop’s name as well as yours.
Sometimes, if you only owe a few more payments to your vehicle, and you really don’t want to get your car fixed, you can ask your lien company if you can apply the insurance payment towards what you owe on the car sometimes the company will accept these terms.
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What if I don’t want to take it to the auto shop my insurance recommended?
That is fine. You may have to get a new check re-issued to the auto shop you have chosen. You may find that the auto shop you have chosen has a better rate than the one the insurance company recommended.
Be sure you get your car appraised for its damages by a third party auto body shop (which they will do for free).
If for some reason, the amount the auto body shop is quoting and the insurance company adjuster is claiming don’t match, then you should definitely negotiate that with your company before you sign any paperwork letting the insurance company off from the liability of this claim.
Once you or the auto body shop that you have chosen has negotiated an amount with your insurance provider, make sure that everything that is supposed to be fixed will be, and then you should be good to go.
What if the check is being issued by the insurance company of the other driver who was at fault?
AdobeStock_65081221-1600×1600 (6)Then a check can be put into your name because the insurance company should not care if your car has a lien on it or not.
An insurance company in this situation is simply paying out for the damages caused by their insured driver; therefore, whether the car is owned free-and-clear by you is inconsequential to them.
But realize that this is usually a lengthy process if you wait for the other party to admit wrongdoing and if you do that you may be out of a car for a while.
What usually happens, because people mostly need their cars fixed as expeditiously as possible, is that one will go through his insurance company first once an accident occurs.
Therefore, the individual is back to the issue of whether his car has a lien or not.
If and when the other insurance provider accepts responsibility for the accident, it will simply reimburse your insurance provider all money it has paid out thus far (plus your deductible, which your insurance company didn’t cover).
What if I don’t own my vehicle and only my name is on the check?
Although tempting as it may be to cash the check and use the money for something else, this is fraudulent and not recommended.
Also, usually sooner or later the insurance company or your lien company will realize a check was issued to you, and wonder what repairs you had done to the car.
If you have no proof of repairs, you will be forced to get that money back to your insurance company, and my face legal problems.
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After tearing open a check from your auto or home insurance provider, you may be surprised to find two names listed on the “Pay to the order of” line. If an insurance claim check includes your name and the name of a second party, you have indeed received what’s known as a two-party insurance check. It can be a bit more complicated to process these checks, so we’ve covered common scenarios where you’ll get a two-party insurance check and how to get the funds.
For more information on where to cash a two-party check, see our article, Where Can I Cash a Two-Party Check?
In This Article
What Is a Two-Party Insurance Check?
How to Cash the Four Most Common Types of Two-Party Insurance Checks
What Is a Two-Party Insurance Check?
Two-party insurance checks are the same as regular checks except that they feature two names on the “Pay to the order of” line instead of one. The names are typically written out in one of two ways:
Party A and Party B. If the word “and” is written between the two names, that means both parties must sign in order to deposit the check into either person’s bank account.
Party A or Party B. If the word “or” is written between the two names, that means either party can endorse the check and deposit it into his or her personal bank account.
Insurance providers issue checks to two individuals or entities in several situations, such as to a car owner and a lienholder, a car owner and a body shop, or a homeowner and a mortgage company. Below, we’ll discuss common scenarios involving two-party insurance checks.
How to Cash the Four Most Common Types of Two-Party Insurance Checks
Here are the most common types of two-party insurance checks, and how you can cash them:
1. Two-Party Auto Insurance Check to You and Your Lienholder
Let’s say you file a claim with your auto insurance company for damages to your car. If there is a loan on your car, the insurance provider may make the claim check out to you and your lienholder. Since your lienholder still has an interest in your car, your insurance company is legally obligated to include them on the check.
How to cash it: You have several options to cash this type of check:
Get a signature from your lienholder. Once you have a signature, you can cash the check and pay the auto repair shop directly.
Take the check to your auto repair shop. In some situations, your repair shop may be able to cash your two-party insurance check. This practice is generally accepted because these businesses are legally required to send any unused funds to your insurer. However, many auto body shops will not cash two-party insurance checks because of the associated risks — namely, they may be held liable if the check is misplaced.
Send the check to your lienholder. You also have the option to deliver the check to your lienholder along with the repair shop’s estimate. You can request that the lienholder send you a check for the estimate and use the remaining funds toward payment of your loan.
Use the check to pay off your loan. If you don’t want any of the funds to be used toward repairs, you may also send the check to your lienholder and ask that all the proceeds be used toward your loan. This may be your only option if the vehicle is deemed a total loss.
2. Two-Party Auto Insurance Check to You and Your Repair Shop
If you still owe money on your vehicle, your insurance company may issue a check to you and an auto body shop rather than you and your lienholder. The auto body shop included on the check may be a business in your insurance’s network of auto body shops and car repair centers.
How to cash it: You can take your check directly to the auto body shop named on your two-party insurance check. If you’d rather use a different repair shop, most insurance providers will reissue a check for another body shop upon request — as long as the estimates align with the estimates of your claims adjuster. If the check includes an “or” between you and your repair shop’s names, only your body shop will be required to sign in order to cash the check. If the check includes an “and” both of your signatures may be required.
3. Two-Party Homeowner’s Insurance Check to You and Your Mortgage Company
If you have a mortgage on your home, the mortgage company will generally require you to obtain homeowner’s insurance to protect its asset. Because the lender still has an interest in the property, your insurer must send you a check made out to both you and the provider.
How to cash this type of check: As with two-party auto insurance checks, a two-party homeowner’s insurance check will require you to work with your mortgage company in order to cash it. After signing the check, you must send it to your mortgage lender. Depending on the amount, your mortgage company may deposit the proceeds into an escrow account and issue funds to your contractor upon completion of repairs. In some situations, the company may issue funds in increments, but require a home inspection to verify completion before paying out all the proceeds. If the work is completed to satisfaction and comes under budget, you may receive the remaining funds.
4. Two-Party Insurance Check to You and Your Contractor
In rare occasions, your insurance company may issue a check to you and an approved contractor if you have a mortgage on your home.
How to cash this type of check: If you receive a two-party insurance check to you and your contractor, you can work directly with the contracting company to cash the check. If the check includes an “or” between your names, only your contractor will have to sign to endorse the check. If the check includes an “and” both you and your contractor will need to sign. Make sure work is done completely to your satisfaction before endorsing the check.
If you owe money on your vehicle, there’s a good chance your insurer will write your claim check out to you and your lienholder or repair shop. Similarly, if you have a mortgage on your home, your insurance providers may issue a check to both you and your mortgage company or contractor. With any of these scenarios, a slightly different approach is necessary, but, generally, both parties’ cooperation and signatures are needed to cash the check. If your lender signs your check and returns it to you, you are responsible for cashing the check to pay the other party.