Your Collision Repair Bill of Rights
After the crash, you have six basic rights under the law in getting that wreck repaired.
Benchmark Autobody, your #WiseChoice for auto collision repair in the Mid-South, helped me put this together. As a consumer in need of a collision repair, you are guaranteed these rights not only under the law, but also under the ethics of the auto repair and auto insurance industries.
- THE RIGHT AGAINST INSURANCE STEERING. “Insurance steering is when the insurance company tries to tell you what body shop you should get your vehicle fixed at,” said Alyssa Smith, customer care coordinator for Benchmark Autobody. “Under the law, you have the right to choose which body shop to get your vehicle repaired at.”
- THE RIGHT TO AN ITEMIZED WRITTEN ESTIMATE AND A DETAILED INVOICE WHEN REPAIRS ARE COMPLETE. “Both must include parts, labor and a total price for the work performed,” said Benchmark Autobody Service Advisor Michael Neal. “Both must also identify whether the parts are new, original equipment, recycled or after market parts.”
- THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED ABOUT TOWING AND STORAGE SERVICE COVERAGE. “You have the right to know whether your insurance company covers any towing or storage fees while your car is being repaired in the shop,” Ryan Diffee, Benchmark Autobody‘s owner, said.
- THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED ABOUT REPLACEMENT RENTAL VEHICLE COVERAGE. Diffee added, “You should check your insurance policy and with your insurance agent to see if your policy covers the use of a rental car, if needed, while your car is in the shop.”
- THE RIGHT TO REPORT FRAUDULENT BEHAVIOR, COMPLAINTS OR CONCERNS ABOUT ANY BODY SHOP. That can be to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), your state’s attorney general’s office, your state’s consumer protection division, your county or city business license office or local law enforcement.
- THE RIGHT TO SEEK AND OBTAIN AN INDEPENDENT REPAIR ESTIMATE DIRECTLY FROM A REGISTERED BODY SHOP. “This includes all estimates for all repairs, whether the consumer intends to pay out of pocket or to file an insurance claim,” Neal added.
If you’re ever denied any of these, share this article with the insurance agent or body shop employee who tried to deny your rights. If they don’t budge, drop that body shop immediately. File a complaint with your state’s insurance regulator, the BBB and your state’s consumer protection division against both your insurance company and the offending body shop.
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