Can I repair my car myself after filing a claim and keep the money?

I have heard many people ask that question. Answer: yes you can. The insurance company will usually recommend a shop which they will pay directly for the repairs. But what if you happen to be a good mechanic yourself? In this article, I will examine this question, and try to give a comprehensive answer.


Lien is the right to possess property belonging to someone until they pay their debt. If you have a lien on your car, doing it yourself is not an option. Your agreement will require you to have the car repaired by a certified shop that guarantees its work. It could even require you to take it to only the shop that the lender has approved.

No Lien

If you completely own the car, you can do whatever you wish with the insurance payout. So you may repair the vehicle yourself, take it to a mechanic of your choosing, or to the shop the insurance company recommended. However, be careful because this is not guaranteed. Contracts differ, and yours might forbid you from either repairing the vehicle yourself or taking it to a mechanic other than the one recommended by the insurance company. So read your contract carefully before you act.

What effect will doing it yourself have on your coverage?

You must understand the insurer’s viewpoint. When they recommend a certified repair shop, they have confidence in the repairs. To them, the certified shop guarantees quality. But you doing the repairs yourself  complicates matters. You cannot guarantee quality. It is then understandable if they grow wary of your repairs, and begin to show an unwillingness to provide you with comprehensive or collision coverage. You see, their job is to ensure the integrity of your automobile, and after you do the repairs yourself, they can no longer credibly do that. It’s too big a risk for the company. When you get into a future accident, it is very likely that the insurer will decline to pay for any damage done to a car that was repaired by you rather than the trusted certified repair shop,

Last Word

Have an adjuster appraise the damage and give an estimate before you can commence any work. The insurance company might insist on this because it will provide a definite idea of what is a reasonable settlement of the damages, which will prevent any future misunderstandings between you and the company. Overall, though doing it yourself and pocketing the insurance payout may be cheaper, in the long run, it could cost you a lot if the insurer refuses to pay for any future accidents. Cheap can be expensive. Safe auto insurance will  be better for you.