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I tried to get the $500 mini tort, but they say if I don't acutally fix the car, they wont pay the whole $500.

Standish, MI |

I have made the claim with the other insurance company. Now they called me and they want to pay the body shop directly, but I dont really want my car fixed there. I was just going to drive the car with the damage and not fix it. Aren't they required to pay the full $500 if their party was 100% at fault?

I want the check to be written to me but they are refusing. They will pay the body shop or nothing. They cant do that, can they? He still hit my car whether I get it fixed or not, it is still owed to me, right?

Attorney Answers 4


Insurance companies can pay a body shop directly, however, you can insist that they pay a body shop which you choose.

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That doesn't really answer my question. I want the check to be written to me and they are refusing. They will pay body shop or nothing. That is not legal is it?

John K Lassen

John K Lassen


Terrific website car accident lawyer Philadelphia


There really are no Michigan cases that hold that the repair work actually has to be done in order to collect the $500 mini-tort amount. All you have to do is prove that damage exceeds $500 and that the other person was at fault. This doesn’t mean that a particular insurance company or Judge will have the same opinion. What you should do is tell the insurance company that if they don’t pay the $500 based on the reasonable proof you have provided, that you will sue their insured (in Small Claims Court). If they do not pay, then proceed with your lawsuit. If the driver and car owner are not the same, sue both.

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Steve Gursten's answer above is 100% correct. No surprise given his stature as a leading authority on Michigan auto law. Following up on his answer, get a few estimates from body shops to present to the insurance company. If they still deny, file your suit but be prepared to have the estimators come to court or get a certificate that indicates the estimate is a business record prepared and kept in the ordinary course of their business. This is a another example of an unreasonable insurer, and why this State so badly needs bad faith insurance laws to punish these greedy insurers who deny meritorious claims.

Of course, this is not meant as legal advice nor does it establish any professional relationship.

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small claims court is a good option here.
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