Choice of Repair Facility
Choosing the body shop where your vehicle will be repaired is an important decision, you have the right to make that decision. Not all shops are alike, however, when it comes to having properly trained technicians, the equipment, and facilities needed to fix your vehicle right, making a well informed choice is key.
Your insurance company may suggest or direct you to use one of its “direct-repair facilities”—these are shops with which the insurer has a contractual agreement, including both dealership and local independent shops. If you don’t already have a favorite body shop in mind, this may be a good choice. However the decision of which shop to use is yours. Trinity Collision Center is the direct-repair facility for almost all major insurance companies but extends it “lifetime” warranty to all customers.
Family and friends who have gone through the repair process also can be a great source of advice.
Remember, the body shop is fixing YOUR vehicle for YOU, and it’s important you’re comfortable with the shop you choose. If you’re making an insurance claim, your insurer pays the bill, but most provinces prohibit the insurer from requiring you use a particular shop—that means, ultimately, no matter what you hear, the body shop is YOUR CHOICE.
Choice of Repair Parts
As a consumer, you have the right to request that your vehicle be repaired only with Original Equipment (OE) collision replacement parts. These are the same parts that your vehicle manufacturer distributes to ensure proper fit, function, and most importantly, safety.
Two factors influence whether your request will be honored: your insurance policy limitations and local provincial laws and regulations regarding collision repair.
Insurance Policy Limitations
Prior to being involved in an accident, check your policy to see what allowances may, or may not be, made for certain part types.
Some policies may allow for OE parts in all circumstances, while others may allow for OE parts depending on the age of the vehicle. Some may specifically call for use of parts that are “like kind and quality,” (LKQ) usually indicating salvage parts or aftermarket parts. In other cases, insurance companies may offer two auto policies; one that specifies that only OE parts be used, and another specifying the use of only alternative parts.
Protect your family and your vehicle investment, and know your rights BEFORE YOUR VEHICLE IS REPAIRED. Ensure the shop you choose is properly trained and even certified for certain types of repairs. Now with the use of aluminum in many vehicles the shop you choose needs to be certified and trained to work with aluminum. Special, exclusive aluminum tools must be used with these repairs.
The Right to a Safe, Properly Repaired Vehicle
Everyone deserves to drive or ride in a safely repaired vehicle; one that will perform properly in the event of a subsequent collision. But don’t leave safety to chance.
Ask questions about the parts that will be used, and how your car will be repaired. Ask about the technicians’ training and if the shop is “certified” or “recognized” within the collision repair community. You have rights, but rights must be exercised. Get involved in the repair of your vehicle.