Test Your Car Accident Repair Knowledge

Imagine you’ve been in a car accident. When it’s time to have your car repaired, do you know what your rights are? Find out. Take this simple true or false test.

  1. You must take your car to the auto body shop the insurance company wants you to go to?
  2. The auto body shop only needs to provide a general written estimate for repairs at the beginning of the job and the total price of repairs upon completion?
  3. Towing and storage of your car is part of the auto body shop’s service?
  4. A rental car provided by the body shop is part of the repair costs?
  5. An auto body shop must provide all customers the California Department of Consumers Affairs telephone complaint number?
  6. It’s the job of the insurance company to get an estimate for the repair of your vehicle?
  1. False: While there may be some benefits to taking your car to a body shop that’s part of your insurance companies direct repair program, you are entitled to select any “licensed” auto body shop to repair auto body damage covered by the insurance company. An insurance company shall not require the repairs to be done at a specific auto body repair shop.
  2. False: You are entitled to receive an itemized written estimate for auto body repairs prior to the start of repairs, and upon completion of repairs, a detailed invoice. The estimate and the invoice must include an itemized list of parts and labor along with the total price for the work performed. The estimate and invoice must also identify all parts as new, used, aftermarket, reconditioned or rebuilt.
  3. True and false: While the auto body shop needs to inform you about free coverage for towing and storage services, not all shops offer these services. Most do charge for these services and expect to receive payment from you or your insurance company.
  4. False: Hardly any auto body shops will provide free rental cars to their customers. In a recent survey by Bodyshopbussines.com, only 6 percent of auto body shops surveyed offered this service. If your body shop is one of the 6 percent offering free rental cars, make sure to learn if there is insurance on the rental car and if not, find out if your insurance will cover you and the rental car when driving it. Please note, you can get rental car coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. By making a small payment now for this benefit, you could save hundreds of dollars later.
  5. True: You should see California Department of Consumers Affairs phone number on the estimate and it should be clearly posted on the auto body shop’s wall or in plain sight on a counter. If you suspect fraud or have other complaints or concerns about the auto body shop, you have the right to call, and should call, the California Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Automotive Repair at 1-800-380-8080.
  6. False: It’s your job to get an estimate for the repair of your vehicle. While your insurance company can recommend a licensed direct repair body shop which may be able to send the estimate electronically to the insurance company, it’s your responsibility to seek and obtain an independent repair estimate directly from a registered auto body repair shop, even when pursuing an insurance claim for repairing your vehicle—whether the claim is being made against your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company or both companies.

How well did you do? I hope you got 100 percent.

To read the complete Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights,and to learn more about other insurance issues, visit the California Department of Insurance.

Please remember, if you’ve been hurt in a car accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you get your auto body shop bills paid and your car properly repaired. Your lawyer can also deal with the insurance companies and their adjusters, and take a huge amount of aggravation out of the experience.

Robert M. Cohen

Attorney at Law

Walker & Walker Attorney Network at 1-800-THE-LAW2

The information within the blog is not to be construed as legal advice.