Will my car insurance company ever guarantee repair work?
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Car accidents can cause a major inconvenience and many drivers are primarily concerned with getting their vehicles back as quickly as possible. In most cases, the body shop will restore your vehicle to the condition it was in before the accident, but this does not always happen.
Body shops sometimes fail to repair vehicles correctly. The workmanship may be poor quality, or the body shop may have missed some damages when completing repairs. This situation doesn’t occur often, but if it does you may be left wondering whether your insurance company can help you get the vehicle repaired correctly if the initial repairs are not to your liking.
Do Insurance Companies Provide Repair Guarantees?
Auto insurance companies are rarely responsible for the quality of your repairs. When a vehicle is involved in a collision and you have the coverages to pay for it, the insurance company will provide you with a settlement based on the cost of repairs. Once the settlement check has been cashed, the insurance company is no longer responsible for anything that happens to the vehicle. There are three primary exceptions to this:
1.) Your vehicle is damaged by the body shop
If the vehicle sustains new damages during the course of repairs, you can file a second claim to have those repairs addressed. For example, if the vehicle falls off of a lift and damages its suspension or if the car is broken into while in the shop’s care, you can file a claim for those damages.
As long as you have the coverages that apply to the loss, your insurance company will handle these additional damages. The body shop may also be held liable for the damages, so you may have your deductible reimbursed. You also have the right to pursue subsequent repairs at a different shop if you wish.
2.) Your shop discovers additional damages and requests a supplement
Whenever you file a claim, the insurance company will complete an estimate on the vehicle and provide you with an initial settlement. Once the vehicle goes into the shop, additional damages may be found. As long as those damages were caused by the same incident, they will be handled under the original claim.
In order to get these damages paid for, the body shop will need to submit a supplement request form to the insurance company. The insurer will review the request and may send out a new adjuster to complete a secondary inspection. If the damages seem consistent with the claim, the insurance company will issue the supplement amount directly to the body shop.
3.) Your body shop was recommended to you by the insurance company
Some insurers are partnered with body shops. These shops may be owned by the insurance company itself, or they may be independently owned and simply choose to affiliate with the insurer. Either way, the insurance company will recommend a body shop to complete the repairs. Insurance companies generally pay these shops directly rather than issuing you a check for your repairs, and the company will guarantee all work that the body shop completes.
If your vehicle is repaired at a recommended auto body shop and you are dissatisfied with the repairs, you can inform your insurance company of the concern. The insurance company will then act as a liaison between you and the body shop to ensure that the repairs are completed to your satisfaction.
Otherwise, if you have your repairs completed at a shop of your own choosing, the insurance company cannot intervene on your behalf if the repairs are done incorrectly. Most body shops do offer a guarantee on their work, but it will be your responsibility to ensure that the guarantee is honored.
Depending on your circumstances, it may be in your best interests to choose a recommended body shop to complete the repairs of your vehicle. Knowing that the insurance company will be on your side in case something goes wrong with the repair process can provide peace of mind. If you do not already have a positive relationship with a body shop, having the vehicle repaired at a recommended shop can expedite the claims process and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Of course, you are under no obligation to use a shop that the insurance company recommends, and you can use a trusted body shop you feel more comfortable working with. The body shop you already use may even be one of the affiliate shops in the insurance company’s network. If the shop isn’t affiliated already, it may be able to even contact the insurance company and join the affiliate program.