Knowledge is power. Car owners need to be informed about their rights when it comes to collision repair work. Don’t depend on insurance adjusters or car repair techs to tell you what you’re entitled to or how to save money.
As a car owner, you have rights. You have the right to:
- Choose the collision repair shop you prefer,
- Request high-quality replacement parts,
- Get parts and labor guaranteed,
- Receive payment or insurance coverage for related expenses,
…and more, depending on what state the auto body repair shop is located. Find out more about these crucial benefits to which car owners are entitled. Plus, learn what rights you have, particularly as a car owner in Pennsylvania.
What Are Your Rights Related to Car Collision Repair?
Take care of your car and be a smart consumer for accident repairs. Here are your rights as the car owner:
1. You Have the Right to Choose the Collision Shop Hired for Repairs.
If you’ve been in an accident, your insurance company may recommend an auto body shop. Insurers push customers to choose from the shops in their preferred network or list of approved service providers. These agreements are made simply to help insurance companies to save money because they have the power to negotiate prices. Unfortunately, this doesn’t result in savings for customers and can also lower the quality of repairs.
But, remember a list of preferred shops is only a suggestion. As the car owner, you get to make the final decision about which company will fix the vehicle. Don’t be pressured into the decision. Because not all repair centers are the same. You should only entrust your auto to qualified, experienced technicians who will provide top quality services.
For safe damage repairs, ask your friends and family to recommend a reliable body shop or request an estimate from a locally owned body shop.
2. You Have the Right to Request High-Quality Replacement Parts.
Car owners should know that they have a choice between aftermarket, used or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. And they have the ultimate say in which types of replacement components are installed on their vehicle. OEM parts are distributed directly from your car’s manufacturer to ensure proper fit, function and safety. Because they generally cost more, you should check that your collision insurance covers this higher quality replacement option.
Most states require auto body repair shops and insurance companies to inform consumers if anything other than OEM parts will be used for a repair. In any case, ask the shop specifically about the quality of parts used when requesting an estimate.
3.You Have the Right to a Guarantee for Repair Work and Parts.
Insurance companies may claim that only collision repair work and replacements done by their preferred shops is guaranteed. But a trustworthy collision shop will provide a lifetime warranty for all repairs and replacements.
4. You Have the Right to Coverage for Related Expenses.
Whatever type of crash the car was involved in, you are entitled to payment for restoring it to pre-accident condition, in terms of look, function, and safety. Depending on the damage, in addition to auto body repair, this may include dent repair, glass repair or replacement, and painting. In addition to that, any related medical bills associated with injuries from the accident should also be covered by insurance. If the accident was your fault, you may be responsible for paying the deductible fee, however.
If you were not at fault, you may also get the following expenses paid for by the insurance of the at-fault party. These include:
- Reimbursement for a rental car while yours is being fixed,
- Payment for any property that was damaged in the accident, such as child car seats and personal items,
- Diminished value claims,
- Out-of-pocket costs,
- Lost wages or lost income,
- Pain and suffering.
Consumer Rights for Automobile Repair in Pennsylvania
Each state has its own consumer protection laws. These regulations work to defend customers, like yourself, from unfair practices and defective products or services provided by companies hired to repair your vehicle. Generally, these laws help decrease the risk of fraud. Depending on the state, they may require collision shops to confirm estimates before going ahead with the work or certain provide information to customers. This may include the expected cost of repairs and the quality of the parts used to fix the vehicle.
In Pennsylvania, consumer laws and protection acts work to protect consumers from the very beginning. First, these laws regulate which businesses are authorized to fix mechanical problems, repair damaged vehicles, and perform regular car maintenance services. Next, they regulate business practices in the automotive industry. Trade practice regulations in Pennsylvania require shops to:
- Confirm repair expected repair work with the customer before charging.
- Get confirmation from owners before doing repairs that will exceed the estimated cost.
- Provide owners with information about the quality of parts used to make repairs: OEM, new aftermarket, salvaged or reconditioned.
- Finish the work within the estimated time period, or within one day from the time the car was dropped off.
- Return any replaced parts requested by the owner when the work is done.
- Give customers an itemized bill including parts and labor.
Get some more helpful Insurance Insight: Myths & Facts About Car Coverage and learn how to Avoid Getting Ripped Off for Auto Body Repairs.
Have Auto Body Repairs Done Right the First time – Badell’s Collision
Badell’s is your reliable, family-owned body shop. Our company is locally operated and focused on providing the very best services to meet car owners’ expectations. Badell’s Collision has performed accident and auto body repairs for customers throughout the Delaware Valley for more than 14 years. Call our office today or request a free estimate using our simple online form.