How to enter insurance claims?

Beth Leonard beth at
Fri Jun 30 02:57:44 EDT 2006

On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 10:25:04PM -0400, Roland Roberts wrote:
> We recently filed a claim with our auto insurance company and received a
> payment.  Now I'm trying to figure out how to enter than item.
> Since the money is going straight into the car repairs, I thought of
> just entering it as a "reimbursement" for automobile repairs, but I'm
> not sure where the other half of the transaction should come from.  How
> do others enter this sort of thing?

When you say "straight into car repairs" do you mean that they paid
the shop directly?  Or that the amount they gave you equals the
amount you paid the repair shop?  For case 1, you almost don't need
to bother recording anything in gnucash because "real money" never
touched your bank account, although if you want your "expenses: car
repairs" account to reflect the dollars spent on fixing your car,
you can transfer the money:
From: Income:Insurance payments
To: Expenses:car repairs.

For case 2, where you paid the shop and the insurance company
reimbursed you, you make two transactions:
From: Assets:Bank Account (or Liabilities:Credit Card, etc.)
To: Expenses:Car Repairs

From: Income:Insurance payments
To:   Assets:Bank Account

If you want, instead of an account for income:insurance payments,
you could file it as income:misc non-taxable, as preferred, or you
could even put it as reimbursement in your Expenses:Car Insurance
account.  In some sense, that's what it is, money you finally get
back after paying car insurance for all those years.  Note that
case 2 also handles the situation where you have to satisfy a
deductible first, the two amounts of those transfers aren't
exactly equal.

Note that in both of the cases above, your yearly total for
car repairs increases.  If you don't want to account for it
that way, because you don't consider the accident to be part
of your routine car maintenance when you look at the question
of "what are my regular expenses?", then you can also add an
additional transaction 
From: Expenses:Car repairs
To:   Income:Insurance payments (or misc, or wherever you put it)
This basically "undoes" the transaction in case 1, but then again,
the reason you bothered to put a transaction in gnucash at all
for case 1 was that you wanted to increase your yearly total for
car repairs.

I believe you can replace the word "From" with "Debit" and
"To" with "Credit" in the above examples, but I frequently get
them backwards and I try not to be confusing.

+                             Beth Leonard                          +
+       O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave              +
+       O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?        +

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