No one wants to get involved in an accident with another vehicle. If it happens to you it can be a very stressful situation. You could be stuck without a vehicle for up to a week while the insurance company adjusters inspect the damage done and repairs take place on your vehicle. You may also have to visit a doctor in case you were injured during the accident. If you’re not seriously injured or your’e not injured at all you will definitely want to get your life back to normal as soon as possible. As you’re probably aware, a big part of that is getting your vehicle repaired. It’s important to know you have certain rights during the collision repair process and its important to know what those rights are. By exercise these rights you can ensure your vehicle will be repaired in a safe, complete, and expedited manner.
Here are a few of your rights regarding collision repair of your vehicle. Some of these may vary according to the state in which you live so check with your state’s department of insurance to find out if there are any deviations from or additions to these rights.
You have the right to decide where your vehicle will be repaired.
You have the right to have your vehicle towed to any repair shop you choose. Choose an auto body/collision repair shop carefully.
You have the right to require the insurance company to pay for all repairs within reason, minus any deductibles, to bring your vehicle to the condition it was in before the collision.
You have the right to an alternate form of transportation (such as a rental car) until all repairs are completed in full if the accident was not your fault.
You are only required to obtain one estimate to determine the amount of damage sustained by the vehicle.
In many states the law prohibits your insurer from requiring you to use a particular body shop.
You retain the right to request original equipment to repair your vehicle. Original equipment means the same equipment your vehicle’s manufacturer makes. This can help ensure that the replacement parts fit properly, work like they’re supposed to, and are safe. It’s wise to check your insurance policy to find out whether original equipment can be used and in which circumstances. Some insurance policies mandate that only original equipment be used to repair collision damage, and some policies give the option for original equipment to be used. Still, other policies state that parts “of like kind and quality” be used. “Like kind and quality” means parts that are made by someone other that the vehicle’s manufacturer. They have to look the same, fit the same, and have a similar level of quality as the original part did. They have to function the same and be just as safe as the original part was.
Most states require insurers and body shops to inform the customer whether original equipment or “like kind and quality” parts will be used. This information is usually disclosed while the damage to the vehicle is being estimated. There are a few states that have “no disclosure” or “no consent” rules in place original equipment. Check your policy and know what rights you have regarding collision repair before beginning repairs on your vehicle.
By knowing what rights you possess during the collision repair process for your vehicle you can make certain your vehicle is repaired to its original condition at a fair cost to you and in a timely manner. Those rights will protect you from things like misleading estimates, substandard parts, or poor quality body work.