Do You Really Know Your Rights?
Here is how to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance:
- Go to the Texas Department of Insurance complaint page on the link we provided below.
- Look on the left-hand side near the center of the page.
- Click on “Online Form” and follow a simple set of instructions.
- You will receive a response, promptly and your issue will be addressed.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE
P.O. BOX 149091
AUSTIN, TX 78714-9091
Fax Number: 512-475-1771
Web Address: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/complfrm.html
The Law States:
“(I) The verbal notice at a minimum must consist of the following:
By law, you have the right to select where your motor vehicle 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 on August 17, 1998.
Know Your Rights and Be Protected
1.) As mandated by law, you have the right to have your vehicle towed to the shop of your choice and repaired at any repair facility you select.
2.) Only one estimate is needed in order to determine the amount of damage.
3.) Always check with your agent to determine if a rental car is available under your policy. Never assume anything.
4.) Make certain that the insurance company pays for all covered repairs without exception.
5.) Choose a repair shop carefully. The safety of your family depends on quality workmanship , do your due diligence and ask as many questions you have until you’re completely comfortable with the body shop.
Knowledge is Power:
Please Note: Contact your insurance company and tell them where you want to have your car repaired. Never be manipulated by whatever the insurer tells you.
Some insurers will make you feel that they have your best interests in mind, but in most cases, they don’t. In reality, they’re just managing their bottom line and trying to save money on your repair. Some insurance companies use carefully crafted scripts (also known as word tracks) that are illegal. It’s called “steering” and happens every day to customers who don’t know their rights.
Here is a list of common phrases used by some insurance companies when you decide to work with a body shop that isn’t on their preferred list. Here are a few of the word tracks used to manipulate the customer to coerce them into using a specific repair facility. Be careful, because it’s your vehicle and your investment, and you have the right to make a choice on who repairs your car, SUV or truck.
1.) “The shop you picked is not one of our network shops and they are not on our list, so we can’t guarantee the repairs.”
False: Every reputable body shop offers a Lifetime Warranty/Guarantee as long as you own the car.
2.) “If you use that shop, we can’t get an adjuster out there for several days, but if you take it to our network collision repairer, we will have someone start on it promptly.”
False: This is just another trick to steer you to another body shop. Most insurers are required to send adjusters out within 24-48 hours. If you’re the claimant or have rental coverage on your insurance policy, they are required to pay for your rental expenses while your car is being fixed.
3.) “If you use that body shop you will have to pay for your rental out-of-pocket.”
False: This is not true, but many insurance companies will try to force you into a rental reimbursement. This means that they will either try to get you to pay with a credit card and then reimburse you later, or offer to send you a check for the number of rental days in question. Most insurance companies have direct bill agreements with rental companies, but they don’t always disclose that information. Always keep in mind that as a claimant against a company, you also have specific rights that a policyholder may not possess.
- ) “If the body shop you’ve chosen charges more than the prevailing rate, you will have to pay the difference.”
False: All reputable body shops are fully aware of prevailing rates and will rarely make it an issue.
5.) “Claims will take longer to settle if you decide to use them.”
False: This is not always the case. Some insurance companies take longer to respond and won’t pay as quickly as they do for their preferred providers.
10 Important Things to Know Before Your Car is Repaired
1.) Your vehicle is the second most significant investment you’re likely to ever make. Preserve its value and stay safe by having your vehicle repaired professionally.
2.) Never get in a vehicle that could be unsafe because of damages.
3.) Some insurance companies might ask you to visit their drive-in claims center prior to having your car repaired, but you’re never required to do so.
4.) There are zero laws that mandate you to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
5.) You possess the right to go to the body shop of your choice, and no insurance company can ever require you to go to a particular shop.
6.) Differences in repair estimates are commonplace. A lower estimate might not include all necessary work.
7.) Select a body shop that has uni-body repair equipment and certified technicians, by the manufacturer, I-CAR or ASE, for example.
8.) Ask if any body shop will be using genuine factory OEM replacement parts.
9.) Insist that the body shop offers a repair warranty.
10.) Let the body shop of your choice negotiate your claim with the insurance company. It’s their job, not yours.