Car accident and insurance question

Someone backed into me and did minor damage to my front bumper in more than one place. Insurance has said that the other person is definitely at fault. We don’t plan to have the bumper repaired (it’s mainly scratches that can probably be buffed out some, and the car is 8 years old.) I understand that we are due some compensation since the accident was someone’s else’s fault, and I also understand that we are not obligated to repair the car unless there is a lien on it (which there isn’t). However, I am wondering if it would be dishonest to have the other person’s insurance adjustor assess the damage and write us a check for what the repairs would have cost (even if we don’t plan to repair it.) I hope I am making sense. Or should we say we don’t plan to repair the car, but we would like a check for the value that the damage has taken off our car’s resale value?

If the money is for repairs and you don’t use it for that but just spend it on something else, I think it would be a venial sin. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to get it repaired? As you said the damage will lessen the car’s value when you want to sell it in future years. May as well get the repairs now than years later when trying to sell it.

You seem to be misunderstanding the purpose and scope of car insurance. It pays for actual damages to repair the car, it does not pay you “compensation”.

Yes. And I don’t know of any insurance companies that will do that anyway. They will require several estimates and will pay the car repair company, not you.

That’s not the way car insurance works.

Thank you, 1ke–that’s what I wanted to know. Something has been niggling at me about this, and now I know it is not a scruple. I think the proper thing to do is get an estimate and get the car repaired. It’s been a month since the accident, but I don’t think that will be a problem because the police and insurance were both called immediately after the accident.

I always thought that in cases like that, the cheque goes to the company that does the repairs and not the insured. Maybe I’m wrong. But if that is the case, the temptation to spend the repair money on something else is removed entirely. :slight_smile:

Oops! I apologize. I see now that what I said was already stated in the previous post.

Actually, in the USA it can work either way - the check might go to the car owner. That happened to me.

And yes, I spent the money on something else!:wink:

As long as you are honest and the insurance company is willing to give you a payment there is nothing wrong with it.

I have to disagree with the other posters. I’ve been hit by other people in three cases and in all of them, the money was given to me. However, in the instance where I was at fault, my insurance company paid the body shop directly. I don’t think it is a sin to spend the money how you wish, if you are given that option.

I am inclined to think this is true. However, in what I’m reading on the internet, the problem might come if you were to have a second accident which does damage to the same area and you have already been paid once for that area.

Utter nonsense. If someone damages your property it is their duty to make restitution. How in the name of good fortune could spending YOUR money on “something else” be a sin, venial or other? Please illustrate your answer from the Church’s centuries long theological tradition that spending insurance money on something other than repairing a bumper is a sin.

To me it is similar to a grandpa writing a check to their grandson for their college education, but the grandson then spends it to buy a new car instead of the education. Yes, the money was the grandson’s. He could do whatever he wanted with it, but it would not be pleasing to his grandpa. The grandpa probably wouldn’t have given the money if the grandson wasn’t going to spend it on education. To me that would be deception on the grandson’s part. He knew what the money was for but deliberately spent it on something else.

I can understand that many (or most) people wouldn’t care about the car insurance company. Who cares what the recipient spends the money on, right? But I would feel bad doing that. If I got money for repairs, I think I should spend it on repairs. Maybe if I donated the money to charity it might be fine, but if I just spent it on a new smartphone or some other frivolous item, I didn’t really need the money, did I? I shouldn’t have filed a claim if I didn’t need the money. So to me it’s a venial sin, but you are free to disagree. =)

See, that’s kind of how I feel too. I understand that we are owed something from the other driver or his insurance company b/c restitution demands it. If I damaged someone else’s vehicle, I would expect to pay for the damage whether they chose to repair their car or not. On the other hand, I do not feel quite right about getting a check for several hundred dollars and then paying about $20 for the car wash to buff out the scratches. And then if I we ever get hit in the front bumper again, I expect that we may have to pay all or or part out of our own pockets to repair the damages b/c we did not repair the damages from the first accident. The car is 8 years old, but we plan to drive it another 5 or 6 years.

This is a completely different situation. If a grandfather gives money to pay for a grandchild’s college education and the child spends it on something else, then the child did wrong, the same as if a parent gives their child money for food and rent and they instead use it to buy beer and cigarettes.

Insurance money is different. If someone damages your car or any other property, they have a duty to make restitution. Either they can fix it themselves or give the money to you to square things. If you choose to decide to spend the money on something else, that is your right. There is no moral obligation to have your bumper repaired anymore than there is a moral obligation to paint your house or cut your grass. You say, “perhaps I didn’t really need the money.” It isn’t a question of need; it is the duty and obligation of the one who did the damage to make restitution. I don’t understand why you think this is a dirty situation and I certainly don’t understand how it could possibly be a sin. Exactly what sin would one be committing if they spent insurance money on something else?

This situation is absolutely nothing like getting a free gift from a grandfather. The insurance company isn’t giving the money out of the goodness of their hearts. Their insuree damaged property and they are morally and legally required to make the victim whole. If the victim decided to fix the car, buy a new car, trade it for a motorcycle, or spend it on taquila, it’s not their problem.

[quote=Jared2914] Quote:

Originally Posted by Timothysis

Utter nonsense. If someone damages your property it is their duty to make restitution. How in the name of good fortune could spending YOUR money on “something else” be a sin, venial or other? Please illustrate your answer from the Church’s centuries long theological tradition that spending insurance money on something other than repairing a bumper is a sin.

To me it is similar to a grandpa writing a check to their grandson for their college education, but the grandson then spends it to buy a new car instead of the education. Yes, the money was the grandson’s. He could do whatever he wanted with it, but it would not be pleasing to his grandpa. The grandpa probably wouldn’t have given the money if the grandson wasn’t going to spend it on education. To me that would be deception on the grandson’s part. He knew what the money was for but deliberately spent it on something else.

I can understand that many (or most) people wouldn’t care about the car insurance company. Who cares what the recipient spends the money on, right? But I would feel bad doing that. If I got money for repairs, I think I should spend it on repairs. Maybe if I donated the money to charity it might be fine, but if I just spent it on a new smartphone or some other frivolous item, I didn’t really need the money, did I? I shouldn’t have filed a claim if I didn’t need the money. So to me it’s a venial sin, but you are free to disagree. =)
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Grandpa was not bound by a legal contract to his grandson to pay restitution.

And the payment does not come with a caveat that bit must be used for repairs.

There is no sin in using the money for repairs, and no sin in not using the money for repairs, unless your policy you signed specifically states otherwise.

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I work for an insurance company. The stance of the company is, the money is due to you for compensation. However I myself would feel bad not taking the money. If the other person has not had any claims, that payout will most likely be able to cause rate increases for them.

If you do not want to have it repaired and can live with the damage, I would not take any money.

If the damage bothers you, by all means get it fixed.

The insurance settlement is to make you whole for lowering the value of your car whether you fix the bumper or not. I SUGGEST YOU FIX THE BUMPER AS THE BROKEN BUFFER FOAM WILL NOT BE AS PROTECTIVE AS CRACKED FOAM! Get the foam replaced even if you do not paint the bumper! Blessings!

If the driver has a rate increase, it is due to his/her poor driving, not the victim expecting to be made whole. The only reason I would feel bad about it is if I knew the accident wasn’t entirely the driver’s fault. (ex. I cut him off too close, there was ice on the road, etc.)

Newsflash - I’ve been paying for car insurance for 25 years, never filed a claim and the rates still go up. Its what insurance companies do.

Okay, I’m not so sure it’s a sin to take the money and not repair the car; however, I’ve been thinking that it may not be the smartest thing to do in this case. The car is worth maybe close to $9,000 and we plan to drive it another 5 or 6 years. We currently have collision insurance on it, so if we would have another accident and did additional damage to the front bumper, we may have to pay for all or part of the repair ourselves because we would have already been paid for damage from the first accident. My husband wants to take the money and pay for necessary repairs to another, older car we have that’s not worth much money. We can afford to pay for these repairs without this check. He thinks we can just buff out the scratches on the bumper. I already told the insurance adjustor that we’d like to have it repaired, and he or she is coming on Friday to look at the car and fax the estimate to the repair shop I’ve chosen. My husband isn’t happy about it. So, I’m in kind of a quandry as to whether to “obey” my husband or do something that I’m not sure is the best decision. Any thoughts?

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