Knowing your rights when it comes to your vehicle’s repair is important. While Floridians do not have a “Bill of Rights” like California residents do, it is always good to know what you can and cannot control. If you live in West Palm Beach or Lake Worth, stop by our shop and we can explain further what your rights as a consumer are.
A California bill (A.B. 1179) establishing an “Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights” that outlines insureds’ rights relative to covered auto body repairs was signed into law on Aug. 7, 2009. The bill mandates that information regarding a consumer’s right to seek and obtain an independent repair estimate directly from a registered body shop, even when pursuing an insurance claim for repair of that vehicle, be included in the Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights.
The bill of rights, which insurers must present to consumers when they sign up for an auto insurance policy or in the event of an accident, will inform insureds of the following:
A Consumer is entitled to:
- Select the auto body repair 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.
- An itemized written estimate for auto body 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.
- Be informed about coverage for towing and storage services.
- Be informed about the extent of coverage if any, for a replacement rental vehicle while a damaged vehicle is being repaired.
- Be informed of where to report suspected fraud or other complaints and concerns about auto body repairs.
- Seek and obtain an independent repair estimate directly from a registered auto body repair shop for repair of a damaged vehicle, even when pursuing an insurance claim for repairing the vehicle.
The California Autobody Association and the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) both supported A.B. 1179.
“One benefit to this bill is that the CRA was able to demonstrate to lawmakers how some insurers try to convince the claimant to accept an insurer’s damage assessment as a settlement without obtaining a more accurate estimate of repairs from an automotive repair dealer,” said Allen Wood, CRA executive director. “We are pleased that the State Legislature gave this measure its overwhelming support.”
Originally, A.B. 1179 would have required insurers to inform consumers that an insurer’s damage assessment is not a written estimate of repair costs, but the bill was amended in the spring to create the bill of rights instead.