Many people have car insurance issues when trying to get compensation for crash losses after an accident. If you are involved in a collision caused by another motorist, the insurer who represents the negligent driver is obliged to pay you if you sustain serious injury and/or property damage. This is because the motorist who causes the crash must have liability insurance. If you are the cause of your own collision, you may still be able to make a claim because Michigan is a no-fault insurance state and you can receive coverage for injuries (and if you have collision coverage, you can get your property damage to your vehicle paid for as well).
Insurance companies, however, do not simply write the checks crash victims need to get their medical bills paid and to get their cars repaired. Insurers routinely use a number of devious techniques and dishonest business practices to protect their bottom line at the expense of customers.
Claims Journal warns of some instances in which insurance companies have actually been caught in practices that endanger consumers. Because you cannot trust your insurer, it is imperative to understand your rights and to have an advocate on your side who can help you throughout the auto insurance claims process.
Is Your Car Insurer Putting You at Risk?
A dangerous practice auto insurance companies are engaged in involves steering consumers to "preferred" auto body shops to get repairs done on their vehicles after accidents happen. These "preferred" auto body shops save the insurance company a significant amount of money, without letting the consumer know costs are being cut. The mechanics don't save the insurers money simply by providing bulk discounts -- they do cheap, quick repairs rather than following manufacturer standards and accepted guidelines for safe and long-lasting vehicle repairs.
Preferred auto body shops may use salvage parts, aftermarket parts, or other substandard parts in repairing consumer vehicles, without telling the customer they are getting low quality parts. This can void the warranty the consumer has with the manufacturer of the vehicle, which can cause problems down the line for the car owner. The aftermarket parts may also be likely to fail more quickly, or to never work right in the first place -- especially if the parts do not meet the standards set by the manufacturer of the vehicle. If these parts malfunction or fail, the consumer could become involved in a subsequent accident in the future.
This technique of referring consumers to specific body shops is not an isolated bad act. The Louisiana Attorney General filed a suit against State Farm for engaging in the practice in its state and the Oklahoma Attorney General has issued a warning to consumers within the state about the practice (as well as announced an intent to look into insurers and shops participating in the scam).
This scheme is further proof insurers don't look out for you and don't care about getting you back on track after a crash. You need someone to fight for your rights and look out for you when dealing with the insurance company.