After an auto accident, a driver may file an insurance claim in the belief that the necessary repairs are obvious. However, body shops and insurers frequently disagree over auto repairs, and owners should pay careful attention to these disputes. Here, drivers can learn which points cause the most disagreements during the auto insurance claims process.
Fix or Replace?
Many disagreements focus on whether parts should be repaired or replaced. For example, a collision center’s estimate may call for a replacement body panel, but the insurer may ask the shop to try a repair first.
Replacement Parts to be Used
In some cases, an insurer won’t pay for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts because they believe that aftermarket versions are good enough. Some drivers pay more for policies that guarantee the use of OEM parts.
The Duration of Repairs
A collision repair shop may estimate that a door dent will take five hours to fix, but the insurer might think the work can be done in three. Every extra hour increases a job’s labor cost and increases the rental car bill if such coverage is included in a policy.
Labor Rates and Estimate Errors
Many disputes arise because of shops’ labor rates. Some auto body shops have per-hour costs that are higher than an insurer wants to pay. Estimate errors are another factor to consider. Some estimates may call for unnecessary body shop supplies or replacement parts, and others may omit things that need to be fixed.
Where Customers Fit In
Disagreements are often quickly resolved because repair shops and auto insurers must frequently work together. However, these situations are rare for drivers, who may have their own opinions of how repairs should be handled. It’s the customer’s job to find out what the auto body shop recommends, whether the insurer disagrees with those recommendations, and to make his or her wishes known to all involved parties.
It’s in the customer’s interest to see that things go smoothly, and they can do so by closely monitoring the repair process. For more information, consult a local collision repair center or insurance agent.