The Facts About Collision Repair

11/4/2014
Michael R Gadd

Don't be steered into another accident by your insurance company or the other parties' insurance company. Did you know some insurance companies have ownership in some shops? Makes you wonder who the customer really is.

Here is what the State of Texas says:
(I) The verbal notice at a minimum must consist of the following: By law, you have the right to select where your motor vehicle / RV 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 insurance code, article 5.07-1, a copy of which will be mailed to you within 15 business days on request. Section 5.501 was adopted to become effective August 17, 1998.

Contact The Texas Department of Insurance
PO Box 149091, Austin, TX 78714-9091
Telephone: 800-252-3439 - Fax Number: 512-475-1771
Web Address: www.tdi.state.tx.us
    Know These Facts:
  1. By law, you may have your car towed to and repaired at any repair facility you choose.
  2. Only one estimate is required to determine the amount of damage.
  3. Check with your agent to determine if a rental car is available under your policy..
  4. Make sure that the insurance company pays for all covered repairs.
  5. Choose a repair shop carefully. Your future safety depends on quality workmanship today.

Choose a body shop carefully. Ask as many questions you have, until you are comfortable with the body shop. Call your insurance company and tell them where you would like to have your vehicle repaired.

It's Your RV, Your Choice
If you have any doubts about what to ask your insurance company feel free to contact, Mike Gadd. He will explain the common procedures of your insurance company. If you need any help deciding on which insurance carrier to buy your policy from, ask or call your local body shop. We can tell you which insurance companies are customer service friendly and will help with your insurance claim meets every step of the way. Some insurance companies make you feel that they have your best interest in mind. When in reality they are just managing their bottom line.

Remember It's Your RV, It's Your Choice
The reason insurance companies use carefully crafted word tracks is that the state does not allow insurance companies to "direct", "steer" or "refer" customers to a particular shop (or they are not supposed to). Some companies also have bonus programs for employees that steer claims to the networks, so don't think that they have your best interest in mind. Most of these claims people have never seen a particular shop, nor have any knowledge of any of the staff, they are just directing claims to whoever their company has a "deal" with so that they hit a bonus quota. Whether you choose to use us or another repair shop, Don't be manipulated by insurance companies' word tracks.

The Un-Truths

Insurance companies have come up with the following word tracks to intimate the customer into thinking they have to do what the insurance company says, or they will not pay the claim. These are often heard phrases when you want to bring your vehicle to Pro Touch Auto & RV Paint Systems or any shop that is not on their "List", and our response is:

  1. "They are not one of our network shops and they are not on our list, we can't guarantee the repairs". We are not on everybody's list, which is because we do not want to be. We identify the vehicle owner as our primary customer, not the insurance company. As for guaranteeing our work, they do not need to, as we have our own nationwide lifetime guarantee. When have you ever seen an insurance company with a car being repaired in their office? Truth is they will send you back to whomever you selected off their list.
  2. "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, we have heard insurance companies tell our customers how busy they are and they can't get someone out for 7 or 8 days, when we know their staff appraisers have little to do. Most companies are required to appraise a vehicle within 72 hrs.
  3. "If you use that shop you will have to pay for your rental out of pocket". This is not true, but some insurance companies will try to force you into a rental reimbursement, which means they will either try to get you to pay with a credit card and then reimburse you, or offer to send check for x amount of rental days(which you should promptly refuse to do) . 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 that a policyholder may not have.
  4. "They charge more than the prevailing rate and you will have to pay the difference in repair cost". There are very few cases where we have charged a customer the difference between what the actual costs were and what the insurance company was willing to pay. We will say that each customer collected the difference from the insurance company after a few phone calls. The laws states that the insurance company will pay the cost of repairs and case law has already determined that labor rate differences of $2-$4 an hour in a given market area is reasonable and competitive. Sometimes when there are discrepancies in the repair cost because a carrier is trying to force us to do something that is not in your best interest we can assist you in filing the complaint with the State Department of Insurance. It is a simple form that we will fill out for you and e-mail it.
  5. "Claims take longer to settle if you use them". Well, we do look after everything for you, including making rental car arrangements and dealing with the appraiser. The only thing that takes longer is they are sometimes slow to respond and they do not pay us as quickly as they pay their preferred providers.

Pro Touch Auto & RV does not participate in many of the repair networks because of the concessions or stipulations in the contracts which generally leads to a lower cost/lower quality repair. We believe we have a responsibility to the vehicle owner who is ultimately our customer not the insurance company.

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