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While the physical well-being of you and or your passengers are your primary concern immediately after a collision, often the second concern is “what is going to happen with my car?” Those of us who have planned ahead and purchased full coverage all believe that the collision repair shop we “choose” to evaluate and eventually repair our vehicle is on our side. We all believe that repair shops are there to return our damaged vehicles back to normal, to our satisfaction. Most are NOT.
First, all major auto insurance companies direct their customers to a “circle” of preferred or approved repair shops that the insurance companies lead us to believe are the best shops. These shops are on the companies’ short list because they keep the repair costs low, try their best to not declare the vehicle a total loss, and always do the repairs for less than it costs to replace the vehicle. Most customers don’t know that repair shops know in advance, even before your car arrives, that if they are asked to appraise the damage to a vehicle that, unless it is absolutely impossible to repair the vehicle, the shops are pressured to keep the initial damage appraisal to less than 70% of the car’s value.
The pressure comes from the need to get repeat business from the insurance companies (by keeping repair costs low) and the shops’ interest in repairing vehicles instead of just estimating vehicle damage for free. A combination of experience of appraising vehicle damage on a daily basis, what insurance companies tell them is the “total loss threshold” and the damage appraisal software provided to them by the insurance industry, these preferred repair shops learn what it takes to keep repair estimates at less than 70% of the vehicle’s value.
The customer is the only one suffering in this scenario. Often only cosmetic repairs are fixed, while structural damage which is the most expensive to repair or replaced is ignored. The result is a cosmetically repaired vehicle that is no longer safe to drive and is far from the precision designed vehicle you started the day with.
The other consequence is that the insurance companies who evaluate your bodily injury claim all point to the minor cosmetic damage to your vehicle, and the low repair bill as evidence that the occupants of the vehicle could not have been hurt. Most repair shops do not have the customer’s best interest at heart and the customer suffers the consequences of cheap repairs which do not return the customer’s car to its pre-collision condition, and cheap repairs that do not fairly reflect the actual damage done to the car.
The solution is to ask friends and family for referrals to repair shops who they have had good experiences with, or take your vehicle to the dealer for repairs.
Have you or a loved one suffered damage to your automobile and then suffered again because of a dishonest auto repair shop? Contact Frank Penney Injury Lawyers for more information and help.
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