Know Your Rights

Here is what the state says:

The verbal notice at a minimum must consist of the following:

By law, you have the right to select where your motor vehicle is repaired and the parts used for repairs. However, an insurance company is not required to pay more than a reasonable amount for such repairs and parts. Your rights concerning motor vehicle repairs are explained in the insurance code, article 5.07-1, a copy of which will be mailed to you within 15 business days on request.
Section 5.501 was adopted to become effective August 17, 1998

Know your rights... Know these facts

  1. By law, you may have your car towed to and repaired at any repair facility you choose.
  2. Only one estimate is required to determine the amount of damage.
  3. Check with your agent to determine if a rental car is available under your policy.
  4. Make sure that the insurance company pays for all covered repairs.

Call your insurance company and tell them where you would like to have your vehicle repaired. Don't be manipulated by insurance companies’ word tracks. Some insurance companies make you feel that they have your best interest in mind. When in reality they are just managing their bottom line. The reason some insurance companies use carefully crafted word tracks is that the state does not allow insurance companies to "direct", "steer" or "refer" customers to a particular shop (or they are not supposed to), so they have come up with the following word tracks to intimidate the customer into thinking they have to do what the insurance company says.

The Un-Truths

These are common phrases used by some Insurance Companies when you select a shop that is not on their "List", and what our response is.

  1. "They are not one of our network shops and they are not on our list, we can't guarantee the repairs." - All reputable Body Shops offer lifetime Warranty/Guarantee as long as you own the vehicle.
  2. "If you use them, we can't get an adjuster out for several days, if you take it to our network shop we will have someone start on it right away". - This is just another ploy to steer you, most insurance companies are required to send adjusters out within 24 to 48 hours. If you are the claimant or have rental coverage on your own policy, they are required to pay for your rental expenses in the interim.
  3. "If you use that shop you will have to pay for your rental out of pocket" - This is not true, but some insurance companies will try to force you into a rental reimbursement, which means they will either try to get you to pay with a credit card and then reimburse you, or offer to send check for x amount of rental days(which you should promptly refuse to do) . Most companies have direct bill agreements with rental companies, but they do not always disclose that. Always remember as a claimant against a company, that you also have specific rights that a policyholder may not have.
  4. "If they charge more than the prevailing rate, you will have to pay the difference in repair cost" - All reputable Body shops are fully aware of prevailing rates and rarely is there an issue.
  5. "Claims take longer to settle if you use them" - Only on rare occasions. The only thing that takes longer is they are sometimes slow to respond and they do not pay as quickly as they pay their preferred providers.

These are just a few of the word tracks used to manipulate the customer into using a specific repair facility. Be careful it's your vehicle, your investment; you have the right to make the choice on who repairs your vehicle.

Ten Things To Know

Ten Things To Know Before Having your Car Repaired
This is valuable information that we freely give in order to offer the best possible advice.

  1. Your car is the second largest investment you're likely to make. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally.
  2. Never drive a car that could be unsafe because of damages.
  3. Some insurance companies may want you to visit their drive-in claims center before having your car repaired. You can do this, or you may leave your car at the shop of your choice and ask that the insurance company inspect the car there.
  4. There is no law requiring you to obtain more than one estimate or appraisal.
  5. You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a particular shop.
  6. Differences in repair estimates are common. A lower estimate may not include all necessary work.
  7. Choose a shop that has uni-body repair equipment and certified technicians. (by manufacturer, I-CAR or ASE, for example)
  8. Ask if the shop will be using genuine manufacturer replacement parts.
  9. Ask if the shop offers a repair warranty. A warranty is like a promise.
  10. Let the shop of your choice help you negotiate your claim with the insurance company.


P.O. BOX 149091, Austin, TX 78714-9091

Telephone: 1-800-252-3439
Fax Number: 512-475-1771
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