What to Do When Your Insurance Company Disputes a Repair Quote

3 Minutes Read

Getting back on the road after an accident can take longer than expected if the insurance company disputes your repair quote. The last thing you want to do after an accident is take your car to a shop that you don’t think will deliver quality work. Knowing how auto insurance works and why these disputes happen can give you an edge during negotiations to receive the best repair work possible for your vehicle.

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Why Would an Insurance Company Dispute Your Repair Quote?

In the best case, the simplest reason why your insurance company and the auto body repair shop you’re considering would disagree is because they each have different goals. Insurance companies want to make the minimum payment necessary to fulfill a claim. On the other hand, a quality repair shop will want to do the best job possible to repair your car.

Even though repair shops and insurance companies work toward different goals, they don’t need to conflict. However, when they do, it’s usually due to some common disagreements.

Repair or Replace?

Repairs typically cost less than a full part replacement, which makes them highly attractive to insurance companies. However, a repair may not be enough to fix the damage to your car and could even make it less safe. 

OEM or Aftermarket Parts?

Original equipment parts are created by the car manufacturer and tend to carry a premium over aftermarket parts, which are made by third-party manufacturers. Many car manufacturers recommend the use of OEM parts for repairs for safety and compatibility reasons. Auto body shops also tend to prefer to use OEM parts while insurers prefer aftermarket parts.

Higher Labor Costs

In many cases, the insurance company will put a cap on the hourly labor wage they’re willing to cover. This rate may also be discounted from what most shops typically offer. If the shop you’re looking at pays their workers more, you may have to work with a different one or cover the difference in price yourself.

The Timeline Changes

Your insurance company will receive an estimated timeline for repairs, but if this changes, so too will the amount they’re expected to pay. As a result, you can expect the insurance company to dispute any changes to the repair timeline.

There's More Damage

Accidents are messy and chaotic, and taking a full inventory of the damage can be highly challenging. As a result, it’s common for more damage to be discovered during your car’s inspection at the auto body shop that the insurance company missed. This can raise the final bill you’ll pay for repairs, as well as questions from your insurer. They may claim that the new damage was in some way pre-existing and not covered for repairs under your policy.

The Estimate Was Wrong

Sometimes an estimate for car repairs has some mistakes due to human error in some form. The insurance estimator might misidentify a part or say that something needs to be repaired when it actually needs to be replaced. The insurance company could dispute any changes to your estimate, at least at first.

What Happens if Your Repair Shop and Insurance Company Disagree?

Insurance companies and repair shops often have pre-existing relationships, so disputes are typically resolved quickly. Insurance companies are legally obligated to restore your car to a pre-crash condition, but they don’t want to overspend to do so. They’ll negotiate over what kinds of parts to use, the price of labor, and even what type of repairs are necessary. If they can’t come to an agreement, you may have to cover the difference yourself, dispute with your insurance company, or visit another repair shop that's covered.

Should You Dispute Your Insurance Company?

If your insurance company isn’t willing to pay the price of your repair that you believe they owe, you can dispute their offer and take them to arbitration. However, it’s important to note that just because your insurance company won’t pay what the shop requests doesn’t mean you won’t receive quality work elsewhere. When your insurance company disputes the amount they want to pay for your repairs, it may impact the shop more than you or your vehicle. 

If you decide to move forward with a dispute against your insurance company, this process can take a few weeks to complete. Unfortunately, this means you’ll likely have to pay for your repairs out-of-pocket as you await a decision. However, it’s possible that the arbitrator will rule against you, meaning you may not receive payment to fully cover the amount you paid for repairs.

Related: How to Dispute Fault After a Car Accident

An Auto Body Repair Shop in Flagstaff You Can Trust

If you’ve been in an accident in the Flagstaff area, you need a trustworthy auto body shop to repair your car right. At Flagstaff Collision Center, we use skilled labor in the form of ASE-certified technicians and factory-grade equipment, with an emphasis on OEM parts. We offer free estimates and contactless delivery to ensure your health and safety. Contact us today so we can discuss your repair needs and the best way to get you back on the road!

Michael Whittemore