Approving Body Shop Repairs – You Are the Customer
Even though the insurance company pays the repair bill, please remember you are the owner of the vehicle and you indeed are the body shop’s customer. You had the ultimate choice of repair facility, so you granted the job to the shop. Thus, you should be happy with all repairs. When your vehicle is ready, take the time to inspect it carefully to make sure that all damages were addressed, paintcolors match, all pieces are properly attached, and the vehicle functions exactly as it did before the accident. Body shops typically are happy to allow you a test drive to ensure that the vehicle performs properly. Also, ask for a written copy of the body shop’s warranty policy. Repair defects sometimes surface only after the vehicle is driven for a brief time. If problems do appear, immediately notify the body shop and the insurance adjuster. This will document repair defects early and ensure that responsible parties pay any remaining costs necessary to properly complete all repairs.
Paying the Shop
In most cases, the insurance adjusters handle the initial estimate and will then send the repair check directly to you. If the vehicle is financed and you collect for repairs under your collision policy, they may list the bank/lien-holder as co-payee on the check. The bank will gladly co-endorse, and this extra step is taken simply to ensure that repairs are completed. You are not able to pocket the repair money and forego repairs because this would deplete the value of the vehicle, which is collateral to support the bank’s auto loan.
The repair check will typically be for the amount of the initial estimate. If the body shop finds additional damage, they will notify the insurance adjuster and collect for the additional repairs directly. Thus, even though the repair cost may exceed the amount of the insurance company’s repair check, that check will be all you need to pick up your vehicle and pay for all repairs.
The best way to control the insurance payment and approval of the shop’s repairs is to hold the insurance check until the vehicle is ready. Do not endorse the check or deposit it. Instead, when repairs are complete and you have inspected your vehicle to confirm that all repairs are proper, you can endorse the insurance check as “payable to” the shop. This approach will help you control repair funds until the vehicle is ready, and the shop will walk you through the simple process.