What is Owed
If your vehicle is damaged in a collision, the responsible insurance carrier owes the full cost of repairs at a repair shop you choose. They also must cover rental car expense during the course of necessary repairs, tow charges arising from the collision, and payment for diminution of value. We review each of these cost elements in detail.
When determining the cost involved to properly repair your vehicle, most insurance carriers will send their own appraiser to handle the initial damage repair estimate. These estimates can be done at your home, at the tow yard, or at the repair shop. Typically, the initial estimate is not enough to cover all costs of repairs. This is because the first estimate only covers visible surface damage and obvious necessary repairs. Insurance companies are forcing the body shop to identify all hidden damage before they pay. When the repair process begins and the vehicle is dismantled, any underlying additional damage will be claimed directly by the body shop. This is known in the industry as a supplement.
Please understand that the body shop will push for the full cost of repairs. They make money selling parts and labor service time. They also understand that they are responsible for faulty repairs. Thus, they are motivated to point out all hidden damage to ensure that the repair process is completed perfectly. If they do need additional repair money through a supplement, they will contact the property damage adjuster directly and give the adjuster an opportunity to revisit the shop or otherwise determine the necessity of additional repair costs. The responsible insurance carrier typically makes these additional payments directly to the body shop. Thus, when you pick up your vehicle, your repair invoice will typically exceed the amount of the initial repair estimate.