Collision insurance can save your bank account from ruin if you need expensive car repairs following an accident, whether you're counting on your own policy or that of the at-fault driver. Once you get your estimate from the insurance company detailing the expected cost of repairs, the insurer will write you a check for that amount. You can then sign it over to the collision repair shop to take care of your balance.
Get the Check
An insurance company can make the check out to the body shop directly, but if you haven't chosen who you want to repair your vehicle it may issue you the check instead. The body shop either develops an initial estimate of the damage and repair costs, or reviews the estimate provided by the insurer. There might be times when the body shop finds more damage than the initial inspection indicated. Should that happen, the shop may contact your insurer about supplemental work orders to complete the repairs. If the insurance company makes the check payable only to you, or to you and your spouse, you can sign it over to the repair shop at any time. It's a good idea to wait for the repairs to be completed satisfactorily before doing so.
Lien Holder Permission
If you are still financing the vehicle, particularly if it's via a lease, the insurance company may place your lien holder on the check as well. If that's the case, call your lien holder's customer service department to get it to endorse the check as well. In some cases, the lien holder will need you or the shop to submit proof that the repairs took place before endorsing. This may delay the return of your car if the shop insists on being paid first.