Auto Insurance Claim Check: Will it be made out to me?

A car insurer may make a claim check out to you if you are the sole owner of your car but will likely issue checks in the name of both you and a lienholder if your vehicle is under finance.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to Remember...

  • Insurers may make a claim check out to you if you own the vehicle outright
  • If your car was financed by a lender, they’ll make the check out to both you and the lienholder
  • Sometimes, the company will make the check out to the lienholder and repair shop directly

If you have damage to your car and have submitted a claim to your insurance company that they’ve accepted, you may be expecting to receive a check. But you may not know whether they’ll make the check out in your name or if there will be any complications. There are several different scenarios here that determine who your insurance claim check will be made out to.

Who gets the insurance claim check?

In some cases, you may receive a car insurance claim check that they make out in your name alone. You can cash the check and use the money to pay for repairs in this situation.

If you have used a finance company or bank to part or fully fund the purchase of the vehicle, you are not the outright owner, which makes the situation different. The insurance company is likely to make the check out to both you and the lienholder or sometimes to the repair facility. 

The check is not valid until both parties endorse it to prove that the money will pay for the repairs. Remember, the lienholder has a vested interest in ensuring that the vehicle is in top-class condition at all times. They want to know that you use the funds to repair the damage and may also require that the repair facility uses original equipment (OEM) parts rather than aftermarket.

Can you cash an insurance claim check?

How and when you cash an insurance claim check will depend on how many parties appear on the face. Different insurance companies have their own procedures. For example, one may name the repair shop and you, which means that the shop will get the funds when you’re happy with the quality of the repairs. Both parties must endorse before money can flow from the insurance company’s bank.

Why wasn’t my insurance claim check made out to me? 

Some states insist on two-party checks to combat fraud, which means that the insurance company will always add the repair shop in those locations. Other states allow companies to make claim payments directly to the insured in a check. 

In this case, you might have some discretion. For example, if the damage to the vehicle was cosmetic (such as from hailstones), you might be able to keep the money without repairing it. You will not be able to claim for the damage again in the future, though.

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How Car Insurance Claims Work

When a car is damaged, the insurance company will want to send a representative to look before they provide an estimate for the repair cost. If you are only part-owner of the car, the policy will also name the lienholder, and the insurance company will address any check for repairs with this in mind. Sometimes, the insurer will issue a check that they make out to both you and the lienholder, or sometimes to the repair shop directly. Find out more about how car insurance claims work.

What about the insurance claim check endorsement?

If they make the check out to you and the lienholder, you will need to prove that the repair shop has completed work to their satisfaction before they will add a counter signature. You will then need to use the proceeds of the check to pay the repair shop directly.

You need to check the specific approach with your insurance company as policies may vary from organization to organization, and state laws may also come into the picture.

What can you do with a car insurance claim check?

If you own your vehicle outright you can use your car insurance check to pay for its repairs or cash the check if you have already repaired the vehicle. If the check is made out for a total loss, you can cash it. 

When the vehicle is under lien, usually because it is financed by a lender then the insurance check will usually be made out to the lienholder for a total loss. 

In the case of a repair claim, some state laws, and many insurance companies require a two-party endorsement, and so the check will be issued to you but only endorsed to pay the repair shop once your lienholder is happy that the repairs are completed. 

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