Insurance companies usually consider direct repair shops as their trusted partners who follow strict standards and timelines for repairs. They also often have premade agreements with these shops to save time and money for both parties. Insurance companies may also offer guarantees or warranties for repairs done at direct repair shops. On the other hand, insurance companies may scare customers by highlighting the potential risks of using uncertified or independent repair shops, such as longer wait times, uncertain warranties, or higher repair costs. While these risks may vary depending on the shop, insurance companies may try to discourage customers from taking a chance and encourage them to choose a direct repair facility instead.
Insurance companies are bound by laws and regulations that prohibit them from engaging in deceptive or unfair practices. If an insurance company is using scare tactics to discourage you from using an independent repair shop and paying for repairs out of pocket, it may be considered unfair or deceptive depending on the jurisdiction. It's important to review your insurance policy and contact the insurance company to clarify your options and rights. You may also want to seek legal advice if you believe that the insurance company has engaged in any illegal or unethical practices.
When you get into an accident and file a claim with your insurance company, you trust and expect that they will treat you fairly and settle your claim in good faith. However, there are circumstances where insurance companies may not act in good faith, such as when they refuse to work with your certified independent collision center that is not on their DRP program but follows OEM repair guidelines. Let’s look at some unethical practices that insurance companies may engage in when not settling claims in good faith.
1. Intimidation tactics
The insurance company may use intimidation tactics by suggesting that you will not receive full coverage for the repair costs if you choose to use a certified independent collision center instead of their DRP program. They may also try to convince you that you are making the wrong choice by not choosing their recommended repair shop, taking advantage of your lack of knowledge about the repair process.
2. Delaying tactics
The insurance company may intentionally delay the processing of your claim to the point of frustration, hoping that you will give in and use one of their recommended repair shops. By utilizing delaying tactics such as “losing” documents or not responding to calls or emails, they may drag out the process until you give in.
3. Failing to recognize OEM procedures
When it comes to repairing your damaged vehicle, it’s important to follow the OEM repair procedures to ensure that your vehicle is returned to pre-accident conditions. However, some insurance companies may not recognize these procedures or suggest their preferred methods. This can result in your vehicle not being repaired correctly or safely, which can put you and your passengers at risk.
4. Interfering in repair decisions
The insurance company may interfere in the repair process by insisting that certain parts or techniques are used that are not recommended by the certified independent collision center. By doing so, they may compromise your safety and the integrity of the repair.
5. Offering low-ball settlements
An insurance company may offer you a low-ball settlement rather than a fair and reasonable amount. They may try to convince you that it’s their best offer while ignoring the true value of your claim.
These are just some examples of unethical practices that insurance companies may deploy when settling your claim. Always remember, you have the right to choose the collision center of your choice, and the insurance company should not interfere with that right.
If you encounter any of these unethical practices, consider contacting a legal expert or filing a complaint with the state’s insurance regulator. By doing so, you can protect your rights, ensure that you receive a fair settlement, and help prevent others from experiencing the same issues that you did.