Most vehicle owners do not know their rights. At Elmer’s Auto Body, we believe that such knowledge is power, and we want New Jersey drivers to know that they could be entitled to financial compensation for collision repair. These days, with New Jersey having some of the highest rates for auto insurance and vehicle prices, getting those costs covered is a tremendous blessing.
We understand if you are worried about repair shops raking you over the coals during such a distressing time. The truth is that, if you are seeking collision repair, you are protected by laws. If you are not aware of your rights, then auto body shops and insurance companies might try to pull a fast one on you.
Here is everything you need to know about your legal rights for New Jersey collision repair:
The Right To Choosing Who Repairs Your Vehicle
When your vehicle has been badly damaged in an accident, the insurance company will step in once the claim has been filed. During this time, the insurance company may try to push you towards their recommended auto body shop, also known as Direct Repair Facilities (DRP). There are agreements between preferred collision repair shops and insurance providers to save money, but this does not always work out in your favor. As a result of these partnerships, many consumers receive lower-quality repairs.
What you need to know is that the recommendations are only that—recommendations. You do not have to use your insurance provider’s auto body shop. Only trust qualified auto body shops with experienced technicians to do the job right.
The Right To Choose Your Repair Parts
If insurance companies could wish OEM parts out of existence, they would. Fortunately, you have the option to choose between aftermarket, salvaged, and OEM parts for your vehicle repairs—depending on the terms in your insurance policy. Yet, any respectable body shop is going to tell you this: aftermarket parts are cheaper, but they are not always better. Some are ill-fitting and not of the same quality as Original Equipment Manufacturer parts.
Every policy is different, so you will need to check. If it does not state anything against using OEM, you can ask for them. You may need to pay the difference of the cost, but at least you have peace of mind knowing that you are receiving high-quality items designed specifically for your vehicle’s make and model.
The Right To Coverage For All Related Expenses
No matter what happened in the accident, you are entitled to three things: the return of your vehicle to pre-accident condition, payment of any medical bills, and coverage for any further expenses as a result of the collision. In other words, insurance should pay for any dent repair, repainting, glass replacement and repair, and so on. If you were not at-fault in the accident, then you also getting the following expenses covered:
- Reimbursement of a rental car
- Reimbursement for personal property damage, such as your electronic devices or a child’s car seat
- Out of pocket expenses
- Diminished value
- Loss of income or wages
- Pain and suffering
The Right To Guaranteed Quality
Insurance companies may try to persuade you into using a DRP by saying work done at your chosen automotive repair shop is “not guaranteed.” However, any honest and trustworthy repair shop is going to provide you warranties for replacements and repairs anyway.
Prohibitions Under NJ Law
Aside from the above-stated rights, you are protected by the and from any of the following actions:
- Oral and/or written statements made by the auto repair dealer that purposely mislead the consumer.
- False promises that influence or persuade the consumer to authorize services or maintenance of their motor vehicle.
- Work that was done without authorization from the vehicle owner that is not clearly stated and is done outside of working hours.
- Work that is started prior to giving the consumer a written estimate.
- Failure to provide a consumer with documentation and receipts pertaining to any services rendered. These must be provided at the time of signing.
- Failure to return parts that were requested.
- Failure to record all repair work done by the automotive repair dealer for the customer. The invoice should clearly itemize every single service rendered, as well as the amount of labor and whether the parts supplied were new, used, or rebuilt.
- Failure to provide the customer with a contract that outlines all terms and conditions.
- Failure to post signage that informs the consumer that the auto body shop must give them a written estimate, copies of documentation and receipts, invoices, guarantees, and the right to return any replaced vehicle part.
Elmer’s Auto Body—Your Ally In Collision Repair
You deserve to know your rights. You also deserve the best collision repair available. Knowing what you can and cannot do, as well as what should be covered by insurance, is one step back towards normal. Along the way, make sure you choose to work with an honest and transparent auto body shop.
At Elmer’s Auto Body, every technician has certifications for OEM. You can trust us to restore your vehicle back to excellent condition. We do what is best for you and your vehicle instead of listening to the insurance companies. If you would like more information or want to schedule an appointment, pick up the phone, or fill out the contact form.