5 reasons insurance company may reject car repair estimate

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By Aubrey Cohen

After an accident, you might think it would be obvious what’s wrong with your car and what repairs are necessary. But it turns out auto insurance companies and repair shops routinely disagree over repairs, and you should pay attention to such disputes.

In many cases, insurance companies do not accept a body shop’s estimate of what a repair will cost, industry officials said. In other cases, the insurer will generate the original estimate, and a repair shop might disagree.

“In either case, we work with shops to come to an agreed-upon price to repair the vehicle,” says Thomas Hambrick, assistant vice president of media and public relations at insurance company The Hartford. The Hartford has applied for a patent on an automated system to review such estimates.

Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the industry group Insurance Information Institute, notes people can disagree on several variables, adding, “In most cases these are resolved after an amicable negotiation.”

  •  Whether a part can be fixed or needs to be replaced. 
  • •  What kind of replacement part to use. 
  • •  How long repairs should take. 
  • •  The labor rate.
  • •  Whether there are errors in the estimate.

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