By law, you have the right to select where your vehicle is repaired and the parts used for repairs. However, an insurance company is not required to pay more than a reasonable amount for such repairs and parts. Your rights concerning motor vehicle repairs are explained in the Texas state insurance code, article 5.07-1. A copy of which will be mailed to you within 15 business days, if requested.
How to File a Complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance:
- Go to the Texas Department of Insurance complaint page. https://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/complaint-home.html
- Click “online complaint system” and follow the instructions.
- You will receive a response and your issue will be addressed.
10 Things To Know Before Having Your Car Repaired
- Your car is the second largest investment you’re likely to make. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally.
- Never drive a car that could be unsafe because of damages.
- Some insurance companies may want you to visit their drive-in claims center before having your car repaired. You can do this, or you may leave your car at the shop of your choice and ask that the insurance company inspect the car there.
- There is no law requiring you to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
- 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.
- Differences in repair estimates are common. A lower estimate may not include all necessary work.
- Choose a shop that has uni-body repair equipment and certified technicians. (e.g. by manufacturer, I-CAR, ASE, etc.)
- Ask if the shop will be using genuine manufacturer replacement parts.
- Ask if the shop offers a repair warranty. A warranty is like a promise.
- Let the shop of your choice help you negotiate your claim with the insurance company.
Know These Facts
- By law, you may have your car towed to and repaired at any repair facility you choose.
- Only one estimate is required to determine the amount of damage.
- Check with your agent to determine if a rental car is available under your policy.
- Make sure that the insurance company pays for all covered repairs.
- Choose a repair shop carefully. Your future safety depends on quality workmanship. Ask as many questions you can till you are comfortable with the body shop.
After you have chosen an auto repair shop, call your insurance company and tell them where you would like to have your vehicle repaired. Don’t be manipulated by any insurance company. Some companies make you feel that they have your best interest in mind. When in reality they are just managing their bottom line.
The reason some insurance companies use carefully crafted phrases is that the state does not allow insurance companies to “direct”, “steer” or “refer” customers to a particular shop. So they have come up with the following word tracks to intimidate the customer into thinking they have to do what the insurance company says.
These are common phrases used by some insurance companies when you select a shop that is not on their “list”, and what our suggested response is.
- “They are not one of our network shops and they are not on our list, we can’t guarantee the repairs.”
- All reputable body shops offer lifetime warranty/guarantee as long as you own the vehicle. It’s up to the body shop to guarantee the repairs, not the insurance.
- “If you use them, we can’t get an adjuster out for several days, if you take it to our network shop we will have someone start on it right away.”
- This is just another ploy to steer you. Most insurance companies are required to send adjusters out within 24 to 48 hours.
- “If you use that shop, you will have to pay for your rental out of pocket.”
- This is not true. However, some insurance companies will try to force you into a rental reimbursement. This means they will either try to get you to pay with a credit card and then reimburse you, or offer to send check. You should promptly refuse to do this. Most companies have direct bill agreements with rental companies, but they do not always disclose that. Always remember as a claimant against a company that you also have specific rights a policyholder may not have.
- “If they charge more than the prevailing rate, you will have to pay the difference in repair cost.”
- All reputable Body shops are fully aware of prevailing rates and there is rarely an issue.
- “Claims take longer to settle if you use them.”
- Only on rare occasions. The only thing that takes longer is they are sometimes slow to respond and they do not pay as quickly as they pay their preferred providers.
These are just a few of the phrases used to manipulate you into using a specific repair facility. Be careful. It’s your vehicle and your investment. You have the right to choose who repairs your vehicle.