Your rights and choices after an auto accident.
Where Can You Go:
California law allows all owners to choose what facility they go to for repairs. No insurance company can require a customer to go to a specific location or prohibit their customer from going to any other location. You have the right to go where ever you choose, and your insurance company will follow and work with that body shop.
The Paper work:
- By Law, the auto repair shop must provide a written estimate before doing any work. Ask if there is a charge for the estimate. After you have received the estimate, feel free to go to another shop for a second opinion.
- A written estimate must include the total estimated price for parts and labor for a specified repair or service. The estimate must also itemize the parts to be used and the method of repair. The repair shop must stick to the method of repair and the parts listed unless you agree in advance to any changes.
- In addition to the total amount, the estimate may itemize the parts to be used and the method of repair. If so, the repair shop must stick to it. They may not legally substitute parts or change the repair method without your consent.
- The technician will ask you to sign the estimate/work order, which gives the shop permission to proceed with the work. If you want any of the parts returned to you, be sure to say so when the technician gives you the estimate.
- o Before you sign, be sure you understand the work the technician will do. Your signature means you agree to pay for the repairs up to the amount specified. Do not sign a blank work order.
- Newer cars often need a diagnosis before repairs can be done. A diagnosis uses procedures established by the auto manufacturer to determine the cause of the malfunction. The estimate may cover the cost of the diagnosis alone, or the cost of diagnosis and repair.