You can use the check from your auto insurance company in any way you want. Insurance companies compensate the loss incurred due to damages to your vehicle. The claims are based on indemnity that restores the property to its condition prior to the damage. They generally do not care if the vehicle is repaired. Their responsibility is to cash out the customers. They consider it more efficient to deal with than to get involved in the repair process. So once you have the check in your hands the insurance company does not have any say in how it is used.
One important thing to consider though is if you have a loan on the vehicle and if the lender is part of the settlement. The lenders require the borrowers to insure the vehicle so that their interest in the vehicle is protected if it gets repossessed. The insurance company usually includes the name of the lender in the check made out in settlement of your claim. The lender has to sign it off for you to cash it. But the lender would want to verify if the vehicle has been repaired. The claims check being equal to or less than the amount owed on the loan it is advisable to use it to pay off the loan. So you can discuss the situation with your lender before you actually go in for repairs.
There are some repairs that you cannot ignore as they can affect the legal and safe operation of your vehicle. These repairs include damage to suspension components, lights, wheels and tires, safety equipment such as seat belts and air bags and so on. They have to be repaired if you want to operate the vehicle again. You can give the insurance adjuster estimate of the repairs if required and ask for the check favoring you.
If you do not plan to get your damaged vehicle repaired by the repair shop and would do it yourself or get it done by your friend, you can request your insurance company and have the check made out in your name. It is up to you to repair the vehicle. If you were at fault and made a claim, your rate will go up anyway. But it makes perfect sense if you are claiming it from the other driver’s insurance company.