Wrecks happen daily. After an insurance claim has been filed, the claims adjuster will oftentimes encourage you to take your vehicle to one of the insurance company's preferred repair shops. You do not have to do this. Under Mississippi law, you have the right to have your vehicle repaired by your repair shop of choice.
You may be asking yourself (1) what is a preferred repair shop, (2) how do claims adjusters try to influence people to use these shops, or (3) how do I choose a repair shop?
Preferred repair shops are shops that have agreements in place with the insurance companies on vehicle repairs. The agreement between the shops and the insurance companies can involve lower labor rates, lower part prices, and agreements to use aftermarket or reconditioned (used) parts in the repair of your vehicle.
These parts are oftentimes not produced by the original equipment manufacturer and can create safety hazards with the operation of your vehicle.
Due to the business relationship between insurance companies and their preferred repair shops, the insurance companies have more influence over how the repairs are made. You need to ensure that the repairs are being made according to the original equipment manufacturer repair procedures.
Claims adjusters cannot legally tell you that you cannot use the repair shop of your choice. Oftentimes, the claims adjuster will use scare tactics to "steer" you towards using one of the insurance company's preferred repair shops. The tactics most often employed by the claims adjusters include telling you that:
The insurance company cannot guarantee the repairs.
You will find that most reputable shops guarantee the repairs they perform on your vehicle. Ask the shop of your choice whether or not it guarantees its repairs.
You will have to advance rental car costs.
If the insurance company tries to force you to advance payment for a rental car, refuse to do so. Most insurance companies have direct bill agreements with rental car companies.
The shop charges more than other shops, you will have to pay the difference
Mississippi law requires that the insurance company pay for a proper repair. This amount is based upon the prevailing labor rate in the geographical or trade area where the repairs are performed. If the insurance company tries to convince you that you will have to pay the difference for repairs, find out whether the repair shop is charging the prevailing hourly rate. If so, this is the price that the insurance company has to pay.
When choosing a repair shop, ask them about the warranty they provide for their work. Also, ask them about the repairs they will make to your car, make sure that they are going to repair your vehicle to OEM specifications using OEM repair procedures. When you are at the shop, look at some of the repairs that the shop has made and make sure that the shop is performing quality repairs. Also, ask friends and family members if they have had any repairs performed by the repair shop and look at some online reviews. Make sure that you will be getting a quality repair.
Knowledge is power. Remember, it is your car and it is your right to choose where to have your vehicle repaired.
If you feel like you have been a victim of steering and would like to discuss your rights, contact us today to see if we can help you.
If you would like to learn more about this topic, please watch the video below.