This all happens in California.

Driver D has an accident clearly caused by responsible party R. (No one disputes that R caused the accident.) There is some damage to D's car. A claim is filed with R's insurance. D gives them the contact information for his mechanic M.

R's insurance provider writes a check for several thousand dollars to M, enough to cover the repair and a rental car for the duration of the repair.

In the meantime, D has a mishap while parking, further damaging his car (in another area than the damage from the accident above), but causing no damage to anyone else's property.

D turns out not to need a rental car for the duration of the time his car will be repaired. D would like to get all the damage to his car repaired, and possibly some additional unrelated improvements. The check received by M is more than enough to cover this work.

The question: Would there be any sort of illegality (i.e. insurance fraud) or repercussions for either D or M if the money is used to fund repairs/improvements beyond the damage actually caused in the accident for which the claim was originally filed?

  • Did an insurance adjuster not review the claim?
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 20:30
  • @RonBeyer yes, but that was all between the insurance company and M, with no involvement by D.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


If you get insurance money to fix your car and have another wreck, you can use the money for the second wreck if there is enough to cover it.

However, any insurance company I have used just pays the mechanic unless that is not possible, so you may not ever receive the money personally.

  • Right, the question is whether the money that is paid directly to the mechanic can be used to cover other repairs, assuming the mechanic is willing.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 23:20

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