Can I build a patio rather than repair a deck with the insurance payout? My deck suffered pretty severe structural damage due to a fire and was built in 1991. Frankly, I don't like the upkeep of a deck. Can I use the insurance claim payout to build a patio? As a follow up assuming the answer is yes, the insurance company withheld part of the claim as recoverable depreciation. Can costs associated with building the patio be submitted and qualify to receive the withheld funds?
Yes. As a general case, insurance proceeds are repaying you for the damage that you have already incurred, not specifically for fixing anything.
Since you have the legal right to sell the house as-is, without fixing it up at all, then you have the legal right to spend the insurance proceeds how you see fit. You can upgrade, downgrade, alter or replace your deck in any reasonable way... or do nothing.
You should call your agent and make sure that there is nothing unusual in your policy, but this kind of homeowner decision - what materials or methods to fix damage to a home... is very normal and unremarkable, so your agent will probably reassure you and end the conversation without a second's thought.
Once you accept payment for an insurance claim, the insurance company has discharged its obligation to you. You could burn the money in a barrel and they would not care. There is no expectation or requirement that you repair or restore the insured item. You can do whatever you wish with the money.