Can the Insurance Company Require You to Use Certain Repair Shops?
You’ve just been in a car crash, and you’re having trouble figuring out what to do next. You need help with your insurance claim, and you don’t have time to deal with shady repair shops that might be trying to take advantage of you. You may be wondering: Why would an insurance company tell me where I can or can’t get my vehicle fixed?
It’s important to know your rights after being injured in an accident. 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 further questions about your rights after being injured in an auto accident, give Lorenz & Lorenz 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?
State laws surrounding insurance companies vary, and it’s essential to understand the rules of your own state. In general, there are two main things you need to know:
Texas state law is clear that you can choose your own repair shop. This means that even if the insurance company doesn’t tell you what shop to use, you can still go out and find one on your own.
State law also makes clear that the insurance company cannot force you to use a specific 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 and the parts used to repair your vehicle.
This notice must also say the insurance company is not required to pay more than a reasonable amount for parts or repairs.
The Texas Department of Insurance states that 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 may try to steer you to a repair shop that they have a relationship with. For example, an insurance company may tell you that they’re legally required to use certain repair shops or that the law requires them to refer your car to a specific shop because of its location or size.
However, these claims are probably false and simply an attempt by the insurance company to steer you toward one of their preferred vendors. 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. If you tell them you plan to use a repair shop that is not on their list, they may say something like:
- “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. Any reputable repair shop is going to offer a lifetime warranty or guarantee on the work, and insurance companies are often required to send an adjuster within one to two days.
Choosing the Best Repair Shop
We have four tips that we recommend you follow when choosing a repair shop after an accident:
- Choose a repair shop that is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
- Look for shops that are familiar with your make and model of car.
- Ask about the shop’s safety record.
- Ask about the shop’s warranty policy, if they have one.
While the insurance company may say you need more than one estimate, there is no such requirement. However, you may want a couple of estimates to make an informed decision — this is entirely up to you.
Lorenz & Lorenz is Here to Help After a Crash
If you have been in an accident and need help, Lorenz & Lorenz is here for you. We have been helping people in Austin, TX since 2001, and we treat our clients like family. Our team will fight for your rights and ensure you get the best possible outcome in your case.
We offer free case reviews with no obligation to hire us. Contact us today to get started!