Amity Insurance, an innovator in the insurance industry since 1978.

We are dedicated to providing excellence in risk and insurance management

How to Avoid Spending More Money for Repairs and Insurance

| Posted in Newsletter Content | Comments Off

It is important for every motorist to work with a trustworthy repair shop. A good mechanic or team of mechanics can keep a vehicle running properly. They can also help consumers save money, prevent damages that could lead to dangerous crashes and protect both drivers and passengers from harm. While the majority of body shops are honest, there are still some that are lacking good intentions.

Beware Of Scams
There are several ways that repair shops scam customers out of their money. One of the most common ways is by padding charges. While shops may provide reasonable estimates, they often bill much more than that amount in the end. Another method they use is leaving the total blank and asking for a repair authorization, which gives them the ability to write in any amount they wish. One common way people are scammed out of their money is by receiving needless repairs. If a car needs a simple part, a mechanic may say that several other repairs must also be completed. In most cases, the suggested repairs are not essential.

Some repair shops sell counterfeit or used parts but charge prices that are normally assessed to new parts. While motorists are on the road, these parts may fail and cause serious damages to the car or even cause an accident. Some used parts may be acceptable for repairs, but a shop should always disclose when such an item is used. In addition to this, they should provide an explanation as to why the part is safe to use despite being second hand. There are also some shops that cut corners or do not perform the necessary work at all. They may provide cheap temporary fixes instead of the permanent solutions they write on the bill. For example, a dishonest mechanic may put powdered aluminum in a leaking radiator to temporarily stop the leak and make the owner think the radiator was actually been replaced. While incidents like this are rare, they do still occur. One of the most common dishonest techniques is recommending hook schemes or specials that are not necessary. When shops do this, they usually offer low flat-rate prices for routine services. However, workers at these places make money by telling customers they need important repairs, special services or various replacement parts. For customers who take the bait, a simple oil change can turn into a huge ordeal costing hundreds of dollars.

Effects Of Fraudulent Repairs
When repair shops cut corners or commit fraud, they put the people who will be driving or riding in the vehicle at risk. In some cases, these mistakes could cost people their lives. Another effect is stress. When a person must return to a repair shop repeatedly to fix the same issue, frustration emerges. Another effect people may experience is higher insurance premiums. If charges are inflated and repairs are completed that are not necessary, insurance rates can rise. This is true even for the most honest and careful drivers.

The best way to avoid fraud is to research local mechanics and repair shops. Find one that is trustworthy, and develop a permanent relationship with a good mechanic or shop. By doing this, consumers can avoid stress and find better prices. The most important benefit is that a reliable mechanic will help keep valuable passengers safer by providing safe repairs. Ask an insurance agent for recommendations about reliable repair shops. It is also helpful to check with the BBB for recommended shops. Before agreeing to any repairs, ask for a written estimate. Make sure all service agreements do not have empty spaces for the totals when signing them. If a shop worker asks to help recover a deductible, it is better to go elsewhere. Even though it may sound like a good deal to receive a discounted part, the shop will bill the insurance company for the full amount, which is insurance fraud. When the repairs are finished, ask to see them and have them explained. An honest mechanic will be happy to oblige. For answers to any other questions, discuss concerns with an agent.

Click here to return to Amity Insurance E-Newsletter April 1, 2013.