You have rights under your insurance policy

Like most people, you probably shop around for auto insurance, looking for the best coverage for the best price. You get a general understanding of coverage, but knowing the ins and outs of your policy typically don’t become an issue again until an accident occurs. Accidents as minor as a fender-bender can bring about a flurry of unanswered questions, red tape, confusion, and runaround.

Some major points to consider:

  1. Obtaining three repair estimates is not necessary, unless it is stated in your policy.
  2. You can go to any repair shop, unless your policy specifies a list of repair shops to visit.
  3. Before work is done to your vehicle, you should be presented with an estimate to know what is being repaired on your vehicle, unless a policy states otherwise.
  4. When you do choose a shop, the shop management should contact the insurance company and advise on damage. You should also notify your insurance company to confirm your vehicle’s location.
  5. Unless stated by your policy, it is not necessary to take your vehicle to a drive-in claims service. Usually, the vehicle can be examined by a claims person at the repair shop.
  6. Whether your insurance company is paying the shop directly or you are paying the shop, unless payment has been made to the repair shop, your car will not be released to you.
  7. Insist on having your vehicle restored to its most original condition.
  8. Do not let price be the determining factor of where your car gets repaired. Lower prices may not always mean quality work.
  9. Ask for a copy of your shop’s code of ethics, which is designed to protect you and your property.
  10. If you are having problems with either your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company, a lawyer, though costly, will often speed up processes.
  11. If you feel that you have been wronged by an insurance company, see the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act for Arizona for specific details. Visit the Arizona Department of Insurance to learn more about insurance.