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Fix The Car Or Cash The Check?

August 1, 2014, 10:06 PM by Angela Kennecke

Fix The Car Or Cash The Check?
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

An estimated 50,000 cars were damaged by hail in two June storms. Insurance adjustors are still assessing all the damage and body shops are backed up for months. 

While many people will fix their vehicles, others will just pocket the check. 

Contractor Rahn Pederson's company cars were hit by the first hail storm June 5. 

"We had our checks on the damage within a couple of days.  It went real smooth," Pederson said.

Then the second storm hit June 16th, causing damage to more vehicles, leaving Pederson with some $25,000 in damage in all, including this newer pickup. 

"The hood will actually have to be replaced and they're on back-order, so there's a little bit of a waiting game," Pederson said.

Pederson will fix his newer vehicles, but probably not the older ones in his fleet.

"You've got to decide on the vehicle, the value of the vehicle, how long you're going to own it, how bad the damage is, I wouldn't drive a vehicle all around that had marks all over it where it was embarrassing to drive," Pederson said.

"We get that question a lot, should I repair the car or should I just take the check?" Kouri said.

Insurance agent Bryan Kouri says if you have a bank loan on the car, you'll probably be required to fix it. 

"Insurance companies, once they total it, generally do not want to keep the full coverage on it. And since that is a requirement of your bank loan, you're probably going to need to repair those vehicles," Kouri said.

Kouri says owners of older cars will decide to just keep the money and forgo the repairs.  But they’ll most likely lose full coverage on their vehicle. 

"Those that don't require it to get fixed will note it in the system and if you have loss to that same area of the car, and you haven't repaired the car, they're probably not going to pay you twice for that damage," Kouri said.

It's a good idea to photograph or videotape the damage on your vehicle and don't get it fixed until your insurance company has inspected the damage and agreed to repairs.  And make sure you hold onto your receipt.

A lot of people are worried about their insurance rates going up.  Insurance companies adjust rate regionally based on overall risks and costs, not just a storm or two and the increase is shared by all customers.

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