If you were recently involved in an accident, you are by law owed money. Everything else surrounding the events after a collision is incredibly confusing and can even be misleading, depending on who you speak to. We want to help set the record straight for New York drivers.
We know car owners usually feel that dealers, mechanics, and body shops are all trying to screw over their customers. This is mostly because their repair bills can be rather expensive, and you’re at the mercy of putting your trust in a body shop. However, rarely do you see a body shop nowadays that knows how to repair your shop the right way that has your safety as the top priority. This is not to say there aren’t some bad apples out there (because there are), but a real collision repair facility can be your partner in ensuring that you get every penny that is coming to you in your collision repair claim.
Let’s put it to you another way: auto body repair shops are not created equally.
When you get in an accident, your life can instantly change. From dealing with your insurance company, the body shop, your possible injuries, and the many inconveniences that come from being without your car, the days that follow a car accident are almost worse than the crash itself.
There has been a lot of change in the way cars are repaired nowadays, from the repair procedures laid out by your car’s manufacturer to the training technicians have (or lack thereof). It can be the difference in how safe your car will be to drive, even long after you get your car back from the body shop.
We at Mid Island Collision Center are here to let New York drivers know your legal rights for collision repair.
You Have The Right To Choose Repair Facility That Fixes Your Car
Despite what an insurance company may tell you or the pressure they give you, the right to choose a body shop remains in YOUR hands. Period. One thing that insurance companies are notorious for is getting you to go to their preferred shop, known as a DRP (direct repair partners) shop, which we’ll explain below. No matter what, the choice of repair facility is always in the customer’s hands, and that is protected by law.
With how advanced cars have gotten, this is a big reason why there’s been so much change in the automobile industry recently. If it’s been a while since you’ve got your car repaired, you might be thinking you can drop your vehicle off at the shop like you used to and pick it up when it’s done. However, this is forever in the past, as repair technicians need the training to know how to perform your car the right way, such as following the repair procedures laid out by your car’s manufacturer. These are known as OEM repairs, which are the safest and highest quality for your car.
However, a lot of auto body shops do not have the necessary tools and equipment capable of performing these types of repairs. Unless the body shop invests in training for the technicians, they will do whatever they want to your car in the repair process in the name of
“experience.” This is typically done at these DRP shops since they have unrealistic deadlines to meet laid out by insurance companies. To meet these deadlines, technicians will cut corners in the repair process to try to save time and money to keep the insurance company satisfied. They run on the philosophy:
Faster repairs = happy Insurance company = more cars = more money.
However, faster repairs do not mean safer repairs. No matter how much pressure your insurance company gives you to go to a DRP shop, it’s shops that are OEM certified that know how to properly repair your car and never cut corners in the repair process. Safe repairs should never be rushed. YOU have the right to choose where your car gets repaired.
You May Have The Choice Of Repair Parts
If the manufacturers had their way, there would be no such thing as an aftermarket part, which is an ill-fitting, cheap, inferior quality part that is nowhere near what you’d get with merely using an OEM part. However, because they are much less expensive than OEM parts, insurance companies will typically insist on body shops using them (depending on where you go).
Your policy will state what your coverage is and what parts are allowed. You have the right to use OEM parts, even if your insurance policy does not cover them. Depending on what’s stated in your policy, you may have to pay the difference for the use of OEM parts price out of pocket. There is also pending legislation that could require the use of OEM parts in cars three years old and newer, but that bill will probably never get passed because doing so would raise insurance rates. Non-OEM parts could also affect just how well the ADAS features operate in your car, or if they even can function at all in a rushed, non-OEM repair.
Currently, there is no law requiring a technician to follow OEM repair procedures and use OEM parts. Here in New York, there are no laws requiring technicians to have a license to work on your car. This means they can do whatever they want in the repair process and not have a collision repair officer monitoring them.
Most states will require shops and/or insurers to inform a customer when something other than OEM parts are used. This is typically part of the repair process. There are also a few states that need your consent before using these parts. However, some states don’t require any disclosure or approval on behalf of the customer. This is why it’s critical to ask the body shop questions and to check your policy. Knowledge is power, and your safety should always be a top priority.
Check Your Policy. It Is Your Legal Contract
All states have their insurance coverage minimums, so you want to check with your policy to know what you’re covered for since every policy is different. Thankfully, there are some policies out there that do allow the use of OEM parts, while others might have fine print or contingencies, such as what needs to be repaired and the age of the car. Specific policies might call for the shop to use parts that are “like kind and quality,” known as salvage parts. These are parts purchased from a nearby salvage yard and were previously used.
Certain repairs like a door or hood repair aren’t as critical in requiring OEM parts. However, salvage parts will almost always require repair of their own before they are “usable” for your car. They could need some metalwork and will require paintwork, depending on the condition of the actual part. Merely using an OEM part would eliminate any potential problems like this in the repair process. This is why it’s critical to check your policy to know what you’re covered for.
Your Repair Shop Can Be Your Ally In Getting What You Are Owed.
You also have the right to ask plenty of questions in the repair process. It’s your car, and you deserve to know how your vehicle will be repaired (parts, repair procedures, etc.), the technician’s training, and if a shop is “certified.” For those of you who don’t know, a certified repair shop knows the importance of following OEM repair procedures and has highly trained technicians capable of handling any repair that comes into their shop. These are the best body shops out there, hands down.
Your body shop deals with insurance companies and claims all day every day. As such, they know how to determine what you are owed in an insurance claim. Your shop can also help you if you have received sub-par collision repair and are looking for help in getting your car re-repaired. Most body shops have experienced this situation before, and a few shops will even perform a post-repair inspection on a car repaired by another shop. Often these PRI’s can help you sue for damages from the bad repair.
Why Trust Us
Here at Mid Island Collision Center, we only give the highest level of auto body repair. We know how confusing the repair process can be, especially when you feel the pressure from your insurance company. They want you to get your car back as soon as possible, but because they have a budget set in mind. However, can you ever put a price on having the safest and highest quality repair for your car?
We refuse to repair any vehicle that comes into our shop any other way but the OEM way because that’s the ONLY way cars should be repaired. No repair is ever the same, even if two identical cars were hit the exact same way. We would still complete a unique repair plan for each individual car and that’s the quality of service you should expect out of a car repair.
Our technicians are all highly trained in OEM repairs because they know the importance of these repairs. We feel quite confident we’d be able to provide you with the excellence in customer service and high quality that you deserve. If you’d like to schedule an estimate or to get a free online quote, click here to get started. Or, feel free to give us a call at anytime at (516)-766-0101. We look forward to hearing from you!