Do I Have to Take My Vehicle to the Repair Shop the Insurer Chooses?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Jun 21, 2022 in Car Accidents News
If your vehicle was damaged in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you may be wondering where your vehicle should be taken for repairs and who should cover the costs. It is important to understand your rights in a situation like this because the liable insurance company may try and steer you in the wrong direction to try and save themselves money.
Our experienced car crash lawyers in New Jersey are prepared to help you through the legal process of filing a claim so you may recover maximum compensation not just for the repairs of your vehicle, but also to cover the costs of your medical expenses, lost wages and other damages you suffered in the crash.
The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
What Are My Rights When It Comes to Vehicle Repairs?
When your vehicle is damaged, but not declared a total loss, you may have several options for getting it repaired and having your costs covered by an insurance company instead of paying out-of-pocket.
Your first option for repairing your vehicle is to file a claim through your own comprehensive or collision coverage policy. However, this option will require you to pay the deductible on your policy. If you were not at fault for the accident, you may be able to recover your deductible through insurance subrogation.
A better option for covering the costs of vehicle repairs when a collision is not your fault is to file a third party claim with the at-fault driver’s property damage liability insurance. This could help you avoid paying a deductible and having an open property damage claim on your record, which could result in an increased premium when you renew your policy.
After you have established which insurance company will cover the cost of vehicle repairs, you need to determine where to take your vehicle. Under New Jersey law, drivers have the right to choose their preferred licensed repair shop. Claims cannot be denied because you chose a repair shop the insurance company does not normally work with.
However, the insurance company footing the bill must come to an agreement on pricing. If no price agreement is reached, the insurance company may provide you with the names of licensed repair shops where your vehicle may be fixed.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Choosing My Own Repair Shop?
Because you are allowed to choose the repair shop where you take your vehicle, you should know what the benefits and drawbacks of doing so may be.
One of the pros of choosing your own repair shop is that you may have an established relationship and trust the quality of the work. Perhaps you know that the repair shop offers fair pricing and does not try to scam customers out of their money by doing poor work for a greater cost. This could help you when negotiating with the insurance company on pricing.
Choosing a repair shop may even be a necessity if there are no insurer-approved repair shops close to you.
When choosing your own repair shop, the insurance company may try to push back on your choice if the costs are not to their liking. If this happens, you may be required to get multiple estimates from other repair shops. This will delay the repair of your vehicle, leaving you without reliable transportation for an extended period.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Allowing the Insurance Company to Choose a Repair Shop?
Just as there are pros and cons to choosing your own repair shop, there are some good and bad things about going with the insurance company’s selection.
The pros of choosing an insurance-approved repair shop include:
- Saving time – You do not have to search for a quality repair shop if you do not already know of one.
- Less paperwork – Since the shop is already pre-approved by the insurance company there is no need to submit proof of appropriate licensing or certifications.
- Lifetime guarantee – Insurance companies typically use larger, national companies that offer extended warranty for the work done to your vehicle.
- Cutting out the middleman – The insurance company and the repair shop already have an established relationship so there is no need for you to be the go-between for the two companies.
While there are plenty of benefits to choosing an insurer-approved repair shop, the cons may be of more concern to a vehicle owner, including:
- Lower quality work
- Cheap parts
Since the repair shop and the insurance company regularly work together, you may not be the shop’s priority for customer satisfaction. Instead, the repair shop may be more interested in satisfying the insurance company's needs than yours.
You should not let the insurance company bully you into choosing a place you are not comfortable with.
Hurt in a Crash? Call Us Today for Legal Guidance
If you were injured in a crash caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you have the right to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property repair and other damages.
We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim to see what legal options may be available to you.
Call (800) 518-0508 to learn more.
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