Insurance claim greatly exceeds excess wear charge on my lease. Payday?
December 11, 2017 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Insurance claim: $5,000. Lease inspection report says I'll only need to pay $600. What happens now?

My car was moderately damaged by hail - no plastics or glass were damaged, but the car is coated in dozens of golfball-like bumps. Since it's a lease, I make an insurance claim to get the car repaired. After the adjuster comes out, I get a check made out to me and my leasing company for aorund $5,000.

However, I've been unable to get into a reputable dent repair shop in the area due to the influx of time-consuming hail jobs. Since my lease is coming up soon, I decided to just go through with the lease pre-inspection to see if I could just turn the check over to the leasing company by using my claim to pay for the 'excess wear and tear' of a billion hail dents.

After I got my lease inspection report, I noticed that the inspector tallied up 20-30 "small dings" instead of doing a full census of every dent on the car. The total amount of excess wear and tear was a grand total of $600.00.

What happens now? I assume I have to turn over my insurance claim check to my leasing company, as they are co-payees on the check (along with me). Once I do that, though, will they refund me the difference? From what I understand, as long as a car is in the same condition on turn-in day as it was during the pre-inspection, the excess wear and tear amount can't change (AutoVIN took over a dozen photos as part of the official report, so this is provable).
posted by speedgraphic to Work & Money (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Call the insurance company that issued the $5,000 check. At the very least, I expect they would be interested in knowing that the leasing company only wants $600. Hold on to the $5,000 check pending advice from the insurance company.
posted by John Borrowman at 2:56 PM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

At the very least, I expect they would be interested in knowing that the leasing company only wants $600.

Nah. Hail damage is the classic example of the insurance payout making you whole, whether or not you care about your car looking like a golf ball. You aren't obligated to use insurance money to actually fix anything.

Theoretically, you could return the car, pay the $600, and on your way out the door, say "Hey, insurance sent me a check for the hail damage, can you just sign that over to me now that we're square?" and be all set. But the kicker is, as you ask, what the lease company thinks about the $4,400 difference between the damage appraisals.

It could be worth asking the insurance company if they can reissue the check to you once the car is turned in - you're trying to arbitrage here, not commit fraud, so I think it's worth being upfront with the insurance company in that regard.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2017

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