Question: Can a car be repaired after the Jaws of Life have been used on it?
Answer: I’ve read claims where car insurance companies have decided to repair cars after the Jaws of Life were used on them, so I know it does happen. But I wouldn’t say it’s the normal response.
For an auto insurance company to repair a vehicle after an accident, it has to make economic sense, and mechanics have to say it’s possible to do.
However, the Jaws of Life normally are used in dire situations where rescue crews need to extract a vehicle’s occupants without regard to what damage is done to the car. If support beams are cut and the structure of the car is compromised, it normally isn’t safe to repair the car, or it’s too costly.
If the damage from the accident and the rescue equipment is extensive, then the car insurance company will usually have to total out the vehicle because the cost of repairs is more than the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle.
If the insurer believes it can be repaired, you should discuss any concerns you have, such as structural issues, with the insurance company and see if they are guaranteeing the work and safety of the vehicle. You can check with your state’s insurance regulator to see if the insurer must warranty the work and safety of the vehicle once the repairs are made.
You may also want to see if your state allows you to claim for diminished value if your car is repaired instead of totaled out. Your car will be worth less due to the accident and repairs, and depending upon if you’re making a first-party or third-party claim (and state laws), you may be able to ask for compensation for your car’s loss of value.