Can the Insurance Company Require You to Use Certain Repair Shops?
It is important to know your rights after being injured in an accident. For example, you can decide where to take your car for repairs, no matter what the insurance company may tell you. While there can be advantages to using a repair shop recommended by the insurance company, ultimately the decision rests with you.
Below, learn more about choosing a repair shop after a crash. If you have questions about your rights after being injured in an auto accident, give our firm a call to schedule a free legal consultation. There are no upfront fees or obligations and we do not get paid unless you do.
What Does State Law Say About Choosing a Repair Shop?
According to Title 28, Section 5.501 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), insurance companies are required to provide notice to insured persons who make a claim for damage to their vehicle. The notice must explain that you have the right to select the establishment that repairs your vehicle, along with the parts used to repair your vehicle.
The notice must also say the insurance company is not required to pay more than a reasonable amount for parts or to make repairs.
The Texas Department of Insurance also asks insurance companies to review all notices provided to claimants to be sure they do not conflict with the TAC or the Texas Insurance Code (TIC).
The Texas Department of insurance says insurance companies may be in conflict with the law if they make verbal or written statements implying you may be responsible for certain repair costs if you choose a repair facility that is not on the insurance company’s list.
How Insurance Companies May Mislead Crash Victims
Insurance companies want you to take your car to a repair shop they work with regularly. They are protecting their bottom line: they have good reason to believe their approved repair shops will not overcharge for parts or repairs.
Working with approve repair shops is also more efficient for the insurance company, as there are likely to be fewer hiccups with paperwork. In fact, there might even be less paperwork, which means less time spent on the claim.
While there is nothing wrong with the insurance company recommending a repair shop, they are not allowed to pressure you into choosing one. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters often disregard this. There are various things they may say to steer you toward the repair shop they prefer. For example, if you tell them you plan to use a repair shop that is not on their list they may say:
- “We cannot guarantee repairs since that shop is out of network.”
- “It may take several days for us to get an adjuster out there, but if you use our shop we can send someone immediately.”
- “You will end up paying rental car costs out of your own pocket.”
- “If they charge more than usual, you will be responsible for the difference.”
These statements are not accurate. For instance, any reputable repair shop is going to offer a lifetime warranty or guarantee on the work. Insurance companies are often required to send an adjuster within one to two days.
Choosing a Repair Shop
A car is often the second largest investment people make. You need to make sure it is reliable and safe, particularly after suffering damage in a crash. You need to find a repair shop you can trust and do your research to be sure.
People often rely on recommendations from friends or family members. You can also look up online reviews of different shops to learn more about the experiences other customers have had. When you go to a shop, ask about their repair warranty. You should also find out what parts they plan to use.
While you do not want to be overcharged, you also do not want to pay too little and find out all necessary work was not completed.
While the insurance company may say you need more than one estimate, there is no such requirement. However, you may want a couple estimates – this decision is entirely up to you.
Lorenz & Lorenz is Here to Help After a Crash
For more than 20 years, Lorenz & Lorenz has been securing compensation for Texas car crash victims. We have the resources to thoroughly investigate the accident to determine fault and the value of the damages you suffered.
There is no risk in contacting us because we work on contingency. There are no upfront fees or obligations and our Austin car accident lawyers do not get paid unless you get paid.