Did you know that a good percentage of people think insurance is a scam?
If your insurance carrier has refused to pay a repair shop’s quote for vehicle damage covered under your plan—you might be feeling the same way.
Having a quote rejected by your insurance can be frustrating and stressful. There are various reasons why an insurer might refuse a quoted price. Some of these are understandable, and others might be questionable.
If your car insurance refuses to pay a repair quote, the most important thing is to take action. Otherwise, you might be low-balled or forced into an unfair offer.
Keep reading to find out what to do if your auto insurance is refusing to approve a repair estimate.
Why Would an Insurer Refuse a Repair Quote?
Before we get into what to do if your car insurance carrier is refusing to meet a quoted price—it’s important to know about some of the reasons why this might be happening.
To begin with, keep in mind that auto insurance carriers have one main goal. This is to make a profit. It is in their interests to pay out the lowest claim amount possible, not the highest.
How low they are willing to stoop to carry out this aim depends on the carrier. Some will resort to underhanded tactics, and have no scruples in manipulating the insurance claim process to blatantly lowball the customers. Others will manage things more fairly, but, at the end of the day, all insurance companies have to look to their bottom line.
Therefore, they will inevitably be on the lookout for any quotes that are above average for certain repairs. If your shop of choice is inflating their prices, an insurance carrier will be sure to spot this.
But, if your car insurance rejects a quote, this doesn’t automatically mean the shop is overcharging. It could simply mean they’re using better parts, opting to replace rather than repair, doing a more comprehensive repair, or paying their employees better salaries.
OEM vs Aftermarket Parts
One of the common reasons for a carrier to reject a repair estimate is if the auto shop is quoting on OEM parts. OEM parts are usually better quality, and almost always cost more than after-market parts.
A lot of auto shops will automatically quote for OEM parts because they are considered more reliable. Many car manufacturers advise vehicle owners to only replace with OEM parts.
Because they cost more, a quote containing prices for OEM parts will typically be higher.
Insurance carriers invariably prefer quotes that don’t include OEM parts. If you think this is the reason why your carrier has rejected the quoted price, make sure you check your policy to see if it includes OEM parts. You should also check your state’s insurance code because some states require insurers to cover OEM parts for new vehicles.
As we said above, another reason carriers might reject a repair estimate is if they deem the labor costs too high. If your auto body shop is paying above-average wages, this could trigger a rejection from your insurer.
Alternatively, if the shops estimate the labor time to be higher than the insurer thinks is necessary, they might also reject the repair quote.
Another reason why a carrier might refuse to pay a quote is if the repair timeline changes. For instance, if the auto shop initially estimates a repair timeline of a week, but then changes this to 3 weeks, the carrier might refuse to pay the quote.
There are a few causes for this, but one can be that the carrier might be trying to reduce car rental costs. Some policies require the carrier to cover any rental car expenses you might need to incur while your car is in the shop.
Mistakes in a Repair Estimate
Finally, an auto insurance carrier can even reject a quote because it contains a human error. This could be something as simple as the wrong date or a misspelled name.
However, if an insurer rejects a quote because of a very small error, this could be a red flag that they are buying time or trying to push for you to select an “in-network” auto shop. Insurance carriers are notorious for deploying delay tactics, so keep your wits about you if you feel your insurer is unnecessarily holding up the claim process.
What to Do if Your Car Insurance Provider Won’t Pay a Repair Shop’s Quoted Price
If your insurance carrier is refusing to pay a repair quote, it’s important to get to the bottom of the problem as soon as you can. Here are a few things you can do to facilitate a fair claim process.
Gather Other Quotes
One of the first steps to take in the event that a repair estimate gets rejected by your insurer is to gather other quotes.
Once you have a few quotes to compare, assess the line items and ascertain why the quote you submitted might be higher than other options. Once you have determined what is causing the difference in price, you can then take further action.
For instance, if the price difference is due to OEM parts, you can check your policy to see whether original parts are included. If not, you can choose between opting for a cheaper quote, or potentially paying the price difference out of your own pocket.
Speak to the Repair Shop
Once you have compared multiple quotes, you might also want to speak to the repair shop of your choice and see if you can negotiate certain parts of the quote.
They might also be able to give you additional info about why their quote is higher. For instance, they might feel that more extensive or costly repairs are necessary to restore your car than another shop.
Get Legal Help
If it feels like your insurance provider is lowballing you or messing you around in any way—it’s usually a good idea to seek legal help. If you’re not careful, an unscrupulous provider could easily get away with paying the minimum possible to get your car back onto the road, even if your policy covers you for more.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
Is your car insurance provider refusing to pay the quoted price for your vehicle repairs? If so, they could have innocent reasons for doing so—or be actively trying to pay you out the very least they can get away with.
If your insurer is trying to make you accept a lowball quote or is employing delaying tactics, it’s time to get some legal muscle in your corner. Often, the simple act of hiring a lawyer can get insurance carriers to toe the line.