Accidents happen in life. Sometimes the accident is figurative, other times it’s literal, such as in the case of a vehicle collision. These accidents are both damaging and stressful to deal with. With this being the case, and most people not even knowing their rights, insurance companies are taking advantage. They may try to impose conditions on you, or tell you what you can and can’t do with regards to your claim. This info is often false!
Thankfully we’re going to tell you what rights you DO have today. Oh, and if you need a little more info on getting started with an auto claim, check out this page at the DMV.Now let’s take a look at some of the common tactics used by insurers to squeeze claimants.
Not Allowing You to Choose Your Repair Garage
Some insurers will insist they can’t accommodate your local garage, or the one you trust and have already used. Reasons for this will include “not being able to guarantee the work” or “having to use an approved garage”.
Firstly, you have the right to have your car moved to a garage of your choosing. The insurer can not legally make you choose any garage other than the one you want. As long as the garage offers lifetime warranty on their work, and reputable shops always do, then they can be used through your insurance policy.
Applying Pressure via Delays & Costs
The insurer might also try to affect your decision by threatening to delay your accident claim by saying things like “the adjuster can’t get to your chosen garage for a few days” or that you’ll have to pay any extra charges for storage/rental or any extra over the “standard cost” of your repair. None of this is true.
Firstly, never accept a payment up front which should cover costs, because it might not. Also don’t accept payments which are for a set number of hours or days, whether for work or rent. Finally, don’t pay up front out of your own pocket and expect the insurer to reimburse you. They might ask you to do this – refuse anyway.
No part of your repair or claim can be legally delayed by the insurer. Although there are some variances by state, generally your insurer has to provide an adjuster to any garage within 48 hours. Not doing so is illegal. They also cannot delay any claim, payments or assessments because of garage choice.
Telling You Once Repair is Done, Their Part is Over
Now this part is a little more tricky. Once your car is repaired, that part of your claim is over. To be sure the repair is actually done to a good standard, ask as many questions about what parts will be used, warranty coverage and experience levels before selecting the garage to do your work.
From here on, the repair is supposed to be covered by regular consumer laws. That means if the insurer is telling you they can’t trust the work, they’re lying. Should something go wrong, consumer laws will cover you to go and have the work re-done or put right at the expense of the garage. Your insurer can actually help you with this part, as they have paid for a service which hasn’t been accurately provided.