Consumer Rights

Your Rights as an Insured Motorist
ALARISE provides the following information to assist you in the repair of your vehicle. This material is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice. Legal questions about your rights should be directed to an attorney specializing in automotive claim settlements.
Your insurance company wants your vehicle repaired properly and for you to be completely satisfied with their claim service. Your car is the second largest investment you’re likely to make. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally. You have specific rights and obligations that you should be aware of. Review your policy. Understand your rights. If an agreement cannot be reached between your insurance company and the repair shop, most policies have an “Appraisal Clause” whereby an independent appraiser can be called in to help resolve the matter.

Getting an Estimate:
Many people are under the false belief they MUST get several estimates of repair. Generally, this is not true. Unless your policy states otherwise, no one can tell you to obtain more than one estimate. You, as the car owner, have the option to do so if you wish.

Choosing a Repair Shop:
It’s your car and you can choose where you want to have it repaired. Unless your policy states otherwise, choose a repair shop that you trust and wish to do business with. No matter where your car is repaired, you are entitled to proper repairs from the shop and the proper compensation from the insurer. Choose a shop carefully, make sure they have the proper repair equipment and their staff technicians are certified. Industry accepted are I-CAR and ASE.

After the Accident:
Take your vehicle to the repair shop of your choice. Give the owner/manager your insurance information and ask them to call your insurance company and advise them as to the damage. You should also contact your insurance company and advise them where the vehicle is located.

Paying for the Repairs:
Remember that you are the insured and own the car and are ultimately responsible for paying the repair bill. You may wish to direct your insurance company to pay the repair shop directly, but the payment must be in the hands of the repair agency when you pick up your vehicle. The repair shop owner will look to you for payment and you should look to the insurance company for payment.

Guaranteeing the Work:
Generally, the repair shop is responsible for any guarantees of workmanship, another reason to choose your repair facility wisely. Request a copy of the “Written Warranty” including labor, materials, parts and paint, Do Not accept less than one year on workmanship and in most cases three to five years on paint! Most reputable repairers will offer a repair warranty for as long as you own your vehicle for workmanship including refinish, all part warranties will be provided by the part manufacturer (for new original equipment manufacturer parts) and or the insurance company on (used parts and quality replacement parts commonly known as aftermarket parts or reconditioned/remanufactured parts).

Getting Repairs Done:
Sometimes, the party at fault insurance company is slow to act in getting your vehicle repaired. Remember that you are the owner of the automobile and only you have the legal right to make arrangements for the repair of your automobile, not the insurance company.

Drive-in Claims Service:
Unless your policy states otherwise, it is not mandatory to take your vehicle to a drive-in claims service. Usually it will suffice for you to call your insurance company and tell them where a claims person can examine the vehicle.

Insurance Company Preferred Shops:
Generally, you do not have to use your Insurance Company’s preferred shop. If you decide to use their preferred shop, ask if your policy contains an “elects to repair” clause. This could cause your insurance company to be responsible for the quality of repairs and a host of other items.

State Insurance Commissioner:
If you’re having a problem with the insurance company, the Alabama state insurance commissioner’s office may be of some help. But the commissioner’s authority is limited. The Alabama state insurance commissioner’s website http://www.aldoi.gov/Default.aspx.

Giving Permission to Begin Work:
Only you, the owner, can authorize repairs on your vehicle. You should be presented an estimate to know what is being repaired on your vehicle before repairs are made, unless your policy states otherwise.

In Closing:
Do not be pressured into having repair work done by a specific shop simply because of lower price. Repair estimates will vary. A lower estimate may not include necessary things such as front or rear wheel alignments, re-aiming your headlamps, etc. Sign a release only when the repairs have been completed to your satisfaction. The vehicle is being repaired for YOU, the owner. It’s your car, make sure it’s repaired to your satisfaction.
You will be required to pay for the repairs upon completion. To avoid delays, it will be up to you to secure payment from your insurance company along with any necessary endorsements from lienholders. ALARISE repairers stand ready to assist you in any of these matters. We will work closely with you to minimize your inconvenience and maximize your satisfaction. This we pledge to you.

  • Information below is from the Automotive Education and Policy Institute website.
  • See entire Automotive Education and Policy Institute website at: http://www.autoepi.org

Consumers:
Did you know that the federal government does not oversee activities to ensure that your motor vehicle stays safe once it has been manufactured? 

Did you also know that the majority of states do not require collision repair businesses or their technicians to have any training, knowledge, or skill to be entitled to engage in repairs to your vehicle? 

Did you know that the insurance adjuster who tells you how much money it will take to repair your vehicle has likely never repaired a collision-damaged vehicle and often only had two weeks of training by the insurance company about how to write an estimate before being allowed to start determining repair costs for your vehicle?

As highly regulated as most professions are, there is very little regulation of collision repair businesses and even less regulation prohibiting insurers from interfering with the repairs your vehicle will receive.  Insurers often attempt to insert themselves into the repair process and the agreement you have with the repairer about the safe and proper manner of restoring your vehicle.  To be able to exercise as much control as possible over the repairs you will receive many insurers have created direct repair programs, those networks of "preferred collision providers" to which they actively urge you to patronize.  While these networks are dressed up to sound great for you, they really only benefit the insurer.  Some of these preferred shops have turned out vehicles that were unsafe to drive.

Don't just take our word for it.  Read the "Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster" at edmunds.com who recommends you ignore the insurance company's recommendation of a collision repair shop and choose your own.

 

Questions to ask about your vehicle repair:

Will your vehicle be repaired with genuine parts authorized by the maker of your vehicle?

Will the repairer utilize only those procedures recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer?

How safe are imitation parts?

Does your repairer adhere to a code of ethics that recognizes you as the primary party interested in the repair?

Does your repairer belong to an insurer's network of collision repair facilities that have signed an agreement to follow the insurer's requirements to reduce the cost of repair that may not be in your best interest?

Find out what your vehicle's manufacturer has to say about maintaining the safety and integrity of your vehicle.

If you drive a Ford manufactured vehicle, Ford offers answers to pertinent questions about the safety and costs associated with repairs made with imitation crash parts rather than genuine Ford authorized parts.
Questions to ask your insurer about automobile coverage.

Know your rights!  Laws that may affect you, your vehicle, and everyone else on the road.