Last week, River City Auto Body introduced you to the topic of steering: When an insurance carrier ‘suggests’ you use a certain repair shop for your covered auto. It’s worth repeating: Your insurer may suggest, but cannot require, you have your car repaired at a specific auto repair shop. After an accident, you are under no obligation to take your vehicle to the shop of their choosing. In order to help YOU stay in control, here are a six tactics you might hear from an agent or appraiser (neither of which are auto repair pros – they’re doing their jobs as employees of the insurer):
1. "We can't give you a rental if you go to River City." If you have rental reimbursement on your policy, take advantage of it. If you are hit by someone else, they have to put you into a rental.
2. "River City Auto Body won't agree with our appraiser." Shops that often ‘agree’ with appraisers are trying to remain friendly with the insurance companies. YOU are the customer.
3. "They are not on our preferred list." ‘Preferred’ can mean the insurance company trusts the quality of the shop – and we’ve earned that status with many companies. Preferred also may mean the shop has signed an agreement to pre-negotiate your repairs by giving the insurer discounts, using inferior parts, and possibly not doing all necessary processes to repair your vehicle properly. In those cases, it sounds sketchy, and in fact the insurer is the customer, not you.
4. "If you go to a non-preferred shop your repair will be delayed waiting for our adjuster to inspect the vehicle." Delays are a scare tactic. Most state insurance regulations require insurers to respond within a reasonable amount of time.
5. "If you go to our shop we can pay them directly and it will be faster." It is your money, the check should be written to you!The sixth one is an odd but common tactic: "We won't warranty the repair if you go there." Ask the insurer for a copy of said ‘warranty’ and ask who will do the re-repairs. Insurers don't actually repair anything. So they can’t do warranty repairs. More on repair warranties and River City Auto Body’s guarantee in next week’s article.
Photo by Monkeybusiness, used with permission.