Your Rights

Some Important Things To Know When Having Your Vehicle Repaired 

Readers are cautioned that this information is provided only as a guide to general principles involved in lien laws. You should consult your own attorney for specific legal advice or opinion.

Must I obtain more than one estimate?
No… There is no law requiring you to obtain more than one estimate. No person or insurance company can tell you to obtain more than one estimate.

Do I have to take my vehicle to a drive-in claims facility for an estimate?
No… You are not required to take your vehicle to a drive-in claims facility. It is your right as the vehicle owner to obtain an estimate wherever you choose. You are only required to notify your insurance company of the vehicle’s location so that the claims adjuster may examine it.

If I go to an insurance company’s drive-in claims facility, do I have to take my vehicle to one of its preferred shops for repair?
No… There are no laws or regulations requiring you to go to any specific repair shop. You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a particular shop. Keep in mind that you are the vehicle owner. “Don’t let your insurance company take away your freedom of choice”.

Am I required to notify my insurance company before repairs begin on my vehicle?
Yes…Your insurance policy requires you to notify your insurance company and make a claim report. Once a claim report has been made, you may proceed to leave your vehicle at the repair facility of your choice and notify the insurance company claim representative or adjuster where your damaged vehicle may be inspected. Once a claim representative or adjuster has had an opportunity to inspect your vehicle, you may authorize repairs to begin.

Can my insurance company authorize a repair shop to start repairs on my vehicle without my consent?
No…only the vehicle owner may authorize repairs. You must be presented with an estimate to know what is being repaired on your vehicle before repairs are started.

Who is responsible for payment to the repair shop?
You are…your insurance policy contract states that your insurance company will pay for the damages to your vehicle, less the deductible amount. You may instruct your insurance company to pay directly to the repair shop of your choice, however, full payment must be arranged prior to your vehicle being picked up.

Who is responsible for the guarantee of workmanship and safety of my automobile repairs…the insurance company or the repair shop?
The repair shop is responsible, not your insurance company. Your insurance company is not accepting the liability for the quality and safety of your vehicle’s repairs. Therefore, you and only you alone must control the fate of your vehicle’s repair by choosing a proper facility that is adequately trained and equipped to restore your vehicle back to its pre-accident condition. You have the legal right and authority to do so.

What should I look for when choosing a facility to repair my vehicle?
Referrals from other satisfied customers is a start. The shop owner/manager should be willing to take you around the shop to give you a first hand view of the equipment and procedures being used. Today’s vehicles are more complex and technologically challenging so auto repair has also become more complex so be sure to ask about employee training and certification. Notice the knowledge, attitude, and commitment of the shop owner/manager towards a quality repair of your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Ask about what kind of warranties they offer for paint and workmanship.