Using Insurance to Pay for Auto Body Repairs: Consumer Rights You Need to Know
If you’re ever involved in a collision and find yourself needing major or minor auto body repairs, it’s important to understand your rights when using your insurance policy to pay for service. Knowing those rights will help ensure you get the coverage you deserve (and pay for), your vehicle gets repaired promptly, and most importantly, the repairs are performed to the highest quality standard. Read on to learn what you need to know about consumer collision repair rights.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR PREFERRED AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP
When you file a claim for auto body repairs with your insurance company, they’ll likely recommend you go to one of their preferred shops. While you can certainly follow their recommendation, you don’t have to. You have the right to get your auto body repairs at any shop of your choosing, and doing so will not bar you from getting coverage.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN ESTIMATE
An auto body repair shop cannot force you to waive your right to a repair estimate. If you attempt to get an estimate at a shop that asks you to waive that right, do not get your vehicle repaired there as that’s a glaring red flag that fraud may be afoot.
THE SHOP CANNOT CHARGE YOU SIGNIFICANTLY MORE THAN THE COST STATED ON THE ESTIMATE
Once an auto body repair shop gives you an estimate for the work, they generally may not exceed the cost stated on the estimate by more than 10% without your authorization. The shop must contact you to let you know that the stated repairs will cost more, and you must give them the go-ahead to proceed with the job.
AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOPS CANNOT PERFORM UNAUTHORIZED OR UNNECESSARY REPAIRS
If you don’t authorize a repair, the auto body repair shop cannot perform it. If the technicians determine your vehicle needs additional work after the repair process has already commenced, they must notify you.
Only after they’ve provided you with a revised estimate and you sign off on the additional work can the shop proceed with the additional repairs. If you do authorize additional work, the shop may not charge you more than 10% over the revised total estimate cost.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR REPLACED PARTS BEFORE REPAIRS COMMENCE
If you want any parts from your vehicle that the shop plans to replace, you have the right to ask for those parts before repairs commence. However, if the parts you want are under warranty or have other restrictions, you may not be able to keep them. Typically, such parts are required to be returned to the manufacturer or distributor.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CANCEL REPAIRS AT ANY TIME IF THEY EXCEED THE ESTIMATE
If the cost of your auto body repairs exceeds 10% over the stated cost on the estimate, you have the right to cancel repairs and the shop must reassemble your vehicle. If the shop wants to tack on an additional charge for tear-down and reassembly (many do), they must have already provided you with a notice of those charges on your estimate.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO A FULL BREAKDOWN OF THE REPAIRS AND ASSOCIATED COSTS
After repairs are finished, you have the right to request an invoice detailing every repair that was performed along with the associated costs. The invoice should state:
● Date and odometer readings for before and after work
● Parts, labor, and any other costs involved
● The type of parts that were used (OEM, used, rebuilt, etc.)
● Whether the work comes with a guarantee and what that guarantee entails
MINNETONKA COLLISION CENTER: PLYMOUTH’S LEADING AUTO BODY REPAIR SHOP
Need auto body repairs near Plymouth, MN or the surrounding Twin Cities metro? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Minnetonka Collision Center to schedule an estimate! We’ll help you with your insurance claim from start to finish to make sure you get the coverage you deserve. To schedule an appointment, feel free to request a free estimate online or give a call today at 763-230-7805.