It’s your right to choose where have your vehicle’s damage estimated and repaired, even though your insurer may suggest shops that they would prefer for you to use. If an insurance company recommends that you have a particular shop estimate your claim or provide repairs, they must also give you written notice that you can have your repairs estimated and completed by the shop of your choice.
It’s important to note however, that the insurance company may, by giving you formal notice in writing, assume complete control of the repair process and have the vehicle repaired where they choose. Insurance companies very rarely exercise their right to undertake repairs; since by doing so they assume final responsibility for a satisfactory repair job.
When you select a shop, the responsibility for a satisfactory repair job is up to you. Any dispute about the quality of the repair or the collision shop’s guarantee is a contractual matter between you and the collision repair shop.
If an insurance company states or implies that they guarantee repairs if you take your vehicle to a shop that they choose, make sure you ask about the details of that guarantee – in writing!
- Who sets the repair standards (you, the shop or the insurer)?
- Who decides whether a repair has been properly completed (you or the insurer)?
- If you are unsatisfied with the repair, who will re-do the work?
- Often, an insurance company’s guarantee is actually the repair shop’s guarantee. So the responsibility for a satisfactory repair job will remain a contractual matter between you and the shop, just as if you had chosen the shop in the first place.
So, it’s in your best interest to choose a collision shop carefully!
Look for a collision shop that has the appropriate technology and training to fix your car. Newer vehicles have unibody construction, aluminum and alloy components and sophisticated safety electronics that cannot be properly repaired on the same equipment that fixed your old firebird or the family K-Car from days past.
- Look for a shop that has a reputation for high quality work and a written guarantee.
- Ask friends and co-workers for references to shops where they have had excellent service.
- Check with the Automotive Service and Repair Association.
- Ask a certified Dealer that sells your make of vehicle who they would suggest.
- Provincial law requires that repair shops be licensed under the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council. If a shop is not licensed do not deal with them!
- The law also requires that collision shops hire only journeymen and registered apprentices to do repair work, so look for the journeyman certificates and other signs of ongoing training.
Once you have chosen a collision shop, advise your insurance company…
To ensure quality of service, check whether the shop you are dealing with is licensed. A list of licensed shops is available at the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council website.