What if My Insurance Check is Less than I Need for Repairs?

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What if My Insurance Check is Less than I Need for Repairs?

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Insurance

Dealing with car repairs after an accident can be a daunting task, but what if the insurance check is less than the repairs? You may have insufficient coverage for necessary expenses. Insurance companies, driven by a desire to minimize costs, may sometimes clash with repair shops over the scope and cost of repairs. 

In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind disagreements between insurance companies and repair shops and discuss the steps you can take if your insurance check doesn’t match the repair estimate.

Why Do Insurance Companies And Repair Shops Often Find Themselves In Disagreement?

Insurance companies and repair shops frequently find themselves in disputes due to a range of factors, driven by the insurers’ motivation to minimize costs:

  • Pre-existing damage: Insurance companies, in adherence to legal standards, are not obligated to cover damage that occurred prior to the insured accident. This becomes a common point of contention when assessing the extent of repairs needed.
  • Repair options: Conflict arises when the insurer leans towards repairing a damaged part, while the repair shop insists on a complete replacement. This variance in approach often results in significant differences in cost estimates, creating a source of disagreement.
  • Choice of parts: Insurers may advocate for the use of cheaper aftermarket parts as opposed to original manufacturer parts. This preference for cost-effective alternatives impacts the overall repair costs and is a frequent point of contention during negotiations.
  • Repair duration: Discrepancies in the estimated repair time required can cause conflicts between repair shops and insurers. The repair shop’s assessment of the duration may exceed the insurer’s expectations, leading to disagreements over the necessity and extent of the repairs.
  • Hourly rates: Disputes may arise when the repair shop’s per-hour repair cost differs from the insurer’s predefined hourly service rates. This variance in labor costs often becomes a sticking point during negotiations, contributing to disagreements between the parties involved.

What if My Insurance Check is Less than I Need for Repairs?

Let the insurance company and repair shop negotiate.

Your car insurance contract mandates coverage for restoring the vehicle to its pre-loss condition. During negotiations, both the insurance company and the repair shop discuss the required repairs and the parts to be used. While disagreements may arise, most are resolved without involving the policyholder. The insurer ensures the repairs are valid and do not inflate costs, leading to a fair resolution. If there are discrepancies, it’s crucial to communicate openly with both parties to ensure your vehicle receives the necessary repairs.

Allow the insurance company and the dealership to work it out.

If your car is leased or financed, the insurance company may negotiate directly with the dealership. While this ensures full coverage, the downside is that the insurance company must select and approve the repair shop. The claim amount may be determined based on the evaluation of a trusted mechanic chosen by the insurance company, or the dealership can negotiate with any insurance company on your behalf even after you receive a claim check. It’s essential to stay informed about these negotiations, ensuring that the chosen repair facility meets your standards for quality.

Consider the offer presented by the insurance company.

You have choices if negotiations between the insurance agency and the repair shop hit a roadblock. You can opt for a cheaper repair shop suggested by your insurance company or stick with the original repair shop and cover the difference out of pocket. The decision depends on your priorities and the level of trust you have in your chosen repair facility. Remember that a cheaper repair option may not always guarantee the same level of quality, so carefully consider the implications before making a decision.

Initiate arbitration with your insurance company.

Every insurance contract includes an arbitration clause, allowing you to dispute the initial estimate if the company refuses to cover the full repair cost. Arbitration is a less formal legal proceeding that takes place out of court. While it can be time-consuming, the decision and award issued through arbitration are legally binding and cannot be appealed. Prioritize documenting all communications and providing thorough evidence during this process to strengthen your case.

Call your car accident attorney.

If your car insurance company refuses to fully reimburse you for repair costs, consulting a car accident attorney is a viable option. Experienced lawyers understand insurers’ tactics to minimize payments and can represent you, fighting for your rights. Legal representation can lead to solutions involving court appearances and actions that could be more costly for the insurer than covering the repair expenses. Attorneys often have insights into insurance law’s intricacies and can guide the best course of action.

Call the Office of Pacin Levine, P.A.

Now that we have explored the challenging scenario of an insurance check costing less than repairs, it is time to seek the legal help you need. For residents of the Greater Coral Gables Area, including Miami, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Pinecrest, and beyond, the legal team at Pacin Levine, P.A. is dedicated to evaluating your case, providing expert guidance, and fighting for your rights. 

Contact us at (305) 760-9085 or 1-800-24-7-CRASH (2727) to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t let an insurance dispute stand between you and the repairs your vehicle needs. Professional legal assistance can significantly influence the outcome of your case, ensuring that you are adequately compensated for the damages incurred.

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