After a car accident in which you have not been injured, your biggest concern becomes repairing your vehicle. And while you certainly hope that your insurance company will be able to reimburse the costs of property damage, there are many potential challenges you might stumble across when getting your automobile repaired at a repair shop.
And our Riverside auto accident attorney at JML Law strongly suggests that you get familiar with the limitations and requirements that apply to auto repairs after car crashes in California.
Regardless of how convincing your insurance company might sound when trying to pressure you into getting your car repaired at a specific repair shop, be warned that you may be dealing with a fraudulent insurer. Under California law, insurance companies are prohibited from requiring their policyholders that their vehicle is repaired at a specific auto repair shop.
When insurance companies can recommend a specific repair shop
“If your insurer, on the other hand, merely recommends some repair shop without being too pushy about it, it is not necessarily a reason to be concerned,” says our experienced car accident attorney in Riverside. However, an insurer can recommend a specific repair shop after a car accident only under the following conditions:
- The policyholder requests a recommendation from the insurance company to find a repair shop
- The insurer has informed the policyholder in writing that he or she has the freedom to choose a repair shop on his/her own
- If the policyholder agrees to get his or her vehicle repaired at the recommended auto repair shop, the insurer assumes the responsibility to restore the damaged vehicle to its condition prior to the car crash with no additional cost unless otherwise stated in the policy
- If an insurance company makes an oral recommendation (not in writing), and the policyholder accepts the recommendation to a specific repair shop, the insurer must follow up with written notice within five calendar days
Limitations and requirements that apply when repairing damaged vehicles at repair shops
When it comes to getting your vehicle repaired at an auto repair shop after a car accident in Riverside or elsewhere in California, other limitations and requirements also apply:
- If the policyholder selects a repair shop of his or her own choice, then the insurance company cannot object or refuse to pay the reasonable costs to repair the damaged vehicle
- An insurance company is prohibited from giving its policyholder any incentives to encourage him or her to get their vehicle repaired at a specific repair shop (more often than not, insurers offer discounts or otherwise limit repair costs to motivate the consumer to choose a recommended repair shop)
- An insurance company is obliged to ensure that the vehicle is repaired properly if it is not repaired properly, it will be responsible to return the vehicle to the repair shop to get it repaired properly
- A policyholder must receive a written repair estimate of the cost of repairs from the auto repair shop before agreeing to initiate repairs to the vehicle
- After repairs to the damaged vehicle have been completed, the auto repair shop must provide the car owner with a written repair invoice, detailing the costs of each repaired and replaced a component and part
If your vehicle has been damaged in a car accident and you are looking to get your vehicle repaired at an auto repair shop, consult with our Riverside car accident attorney to find out about all the potential challenges you might run into. Contact JML Law to get a free consultation today. Call at 818-610-8800.