Know Your Rights – An Accident FAQ

If you haven’t been involved in an accident before—or even if you have—you may not know where to send your vehicle to get repaired, how to complete your insurance requirements, what your insurance company is required to pay for, and what kind of parts should be used to complete your car’s repairs and return your vehicle to its original safety and engineering standards.

The fact is, insurance companies are required to pay for certain things according to your car insurance policy. That’s why you pay a premium. However, insurers would prefer to dictate the terms of your repair to save them money. Kilkeary’s has experienced employees who deal with insurance companies every day, and we can help you.

Here’s What You Need to Know

Can I choose the auto shop where my car will be repaired?
You have the absolute right to choose the auto repair shop that you prefer. It’s the law!

Will my insurance company pick a shop for me?
Your insurance company cannot pressure you to choose a shop that they prefer. If they do, you should know that it’s an illegal practice. It’s your right to choose.

What does my insurance company have to pay for?

Your insurance company pays for all parts plus the labor and materials that are required to return your car to pre-accident condition. If the accident was your fault, then you will owe Kilkeary Auto the deductible that’s listed in your car insurance policy. Read your insurance policy. Everything you agreed upon will be contained in your policy.

What does Pennsylvania state law say?
Your rights are protected by the PA Motor Vehicles Physical Damages Appraisers Act (Act of 1972, PL 1713, No. 367). This law states:
No appraiser or employer shall require that repairs be made in any specified repair shop.
An appraiser or his employee shall not attempt to directly or indirectly coerce, persuade, induce or advise you that the vehicle damage must be or should be repaired at any particular location or by any particular business.

Why should I choose my own repair shop?

Often, an insurance company will want your car repaired as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, even though you have fully paid into your premiums. At Kilkeary’s, we know that professional collision repair takes time and is an investment. Choose a shop that uses the proper repair equipment and technicians certified by your auto manufacturer, I CAR, or ASE.

What is Steering?
Steering is illegal. It’s when an insurance company tells a customer what body shop to go to when they are getting their car fixed.

Examples of steering include:
“We don’t work with that shop.” What your insurance agent means is that the shop will not work at a rate that’s negotiated with the insurance company.

An insurance company may say something like, “Our appraiser is busy and can’t look at your car for a while, but you can speed the process up by taking it to XYZ shop?” That’s how they get you to take your car to a shop that they work with regularly.

When you talk to your insurer, be sure to tell them that you know PA law states that you have the right to choose the repair shop.

What Should You Do After an Accident?

  1. Take your car to a repair shop that you choose.
  2. Give the owner/manager of the auto repair shop your insurance information.
  3. Only then do you call your insurance company to give them the location of your vehicle.
  4. The insurance company may send an appraiser to that location, or they may choose to have the shop submit a damage report. Then, your insurer will negotiate the repair with your chosen shop.

How Do You Choose a Repair Shop?
No matter where your car is repaired, you are entitled to proper repairs from the shop and appropriate compensation from the insurance company.

Here’s what we suggest:
Call us first.
Call the mechanic shop that you use and ask them for their recommendation. They will know the quality of the restoration that’s performed locally.
Choose a shop that has the proper repair equipment and technicians certified by your auto manufacturer, I-CAR, or ASE.
Choose a repair shop that is conveniently located for you.

Remember: It is your car and your choice under PA State Law