Consumer Rights

Your Rights as an Insured Motorist

The GCIA provides the following information to assist you in the repair of your vehicle. This material is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice. Legal questions about your rights should be directed to an attorney specializing in automotive claim settlements.

Your insurance company wants your vehicle repaired properly and for you to be completely satisfied with their claim service. Your car is the second largest investment you’re likely to make. Preserve its value and your safety by having it repaired professionally, and collecting for any and all loss of value.You have specific rights and obligations that you should be aware of. Review your policy. Understand your rights. If an agreement cannot be reached between your insurance company and the repair shop, most policies have an “Appraisal Clause” whereby an independent appraiser can be called in to help resolve the matter.

Getting an Estimate:

Many people are under the false belief they MUST get several estimates of repair. Generally, this is not true. Unless your policy states otherwise, no one can tell you to obtain more than one estimate. You, as the car owner, have the option to do so if you wish.

Choosing a Repair Shop:

It’s your car and you can choose where you want to have it repaired. Unless your policy states otherwise, choose a repair shop that you trust and wish to do business with. No matter where your car is repaired, you are entitled to proper repairs from the shop and the proper compensation from the insurer. Choose a shop carefully, make sure they have the proper repair equipment and their staff technicians are certified. Industry accepted are I-CAR and ASE.

After the Accident:

Take your vehicle to the repair shop of your choice. Give the owner/manager your insurance information and ask them to call your insurance company and advise them as to the damage. You should also contact your insurance company and advise them where the vehicle is location.

Whose Fault and Who Pays:

Generally, if the accident is your fault, your insurance will cover you, your vehicle and the other party and their vehicle. If it wasn’t your fault, the other parties’ insurance company should cover you and your vehicle; so, try to collect from the other party because you will not have to pay a deductible. Remember that if you use the other person’s policy, you could be entitled to a rental car. In addition, if the accident was not your fault, it should not be charged against your policy.

Paying for the Repairs:

Remember that you are the insured and own the car and are ultimately responsible for paying the repair bill. You may wish to direct your insurance company to pay the repair shop directly, but the payment must be in the hands of the repair agency when you pick up your vehicle. The repair shop owner will look to you for payment and you should look to the insurance company for payment.

Guaranteeing the Work:

Generally, the repair shop is responsible for any guarantees of workmanship. Another reason to choose your repair facility wisely. Request a copy of the “Written Warranty” including labor, materials, parts and paint, Do Not accept less than one year on workmanship and in most cases three to five years on paint!

Getting Repairs Done:

Sometimes, the party at fault insurance company is slow to act in getting your vehicle repaired. Remember that you are the owner of the automobile and only you have the legal right to make arrangements for the repair of your automobile, not the insurance company.

Drive-in Claims Service:

Unless your policy states otherwise, it is not mandatory to take your vehicle to a drive-in claims service. Usually it will suffice for you to call your insurance company and tell them where a claims person can examine the vehicle.

Insurance Company Preferred Shops:

Generally, you do not have to use your Insurance Company’s preferred shop. If you decide to use their preferred shop, ask if your policy contains an “elects to repair” clause. This could cause your insurance company to be responsible for the quality of repairs and a host of other items.

State Insurance Commissioner:

If you’re having a problem with the insurance company, the Georgia state insurance commissioner’s office may be of some help. But the commissioner’s authority is limited. Contact the commissioner’s office so they can describe the scope of their authority.

Giving Permission to Begin Work:

Only you, the owner, can authorize repairs on your vehicle. You should be presented an estimate to know what is being repaired on your vehicle before repairs are made, unless your policy states otherwise.

In Closing:

Insist on having your vehicle restored to its pre-accident condition and look into the possibility of recovering Diminution of Value. Do not be pressured into having repair work done by a specific shop simply because of lower price. Repair estimates will vary. A lower estimate may not include necessary things such as front or rear wheel alignments, re-aiming your headlamps, etc. Sign a release only when the repairs have been completed to your satisfaction. The vehicle is being repaired for YOU, the owner. It’s your car, make sure it’s repaired to your satisfaction.

You will be required to pay for the repairs upon completion. To avoid delays, it will be up to you to secure payment from your insurance company along with any necessary endorsements from lienholders. GCIA shops stand ready to assist you in any of these matters. We will work closely with you to minimize your inconvenience and maximize your satisfaction. This we pledge to you.

Be sure to review all of the additional links we have provided through the menu tabs at the top of this page. There’s a wealth of information available here, including what to do after an accident, and much more. We hope you have found our site useful and welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can improve our efforts. Contact us through phone or eMail at: 770-367-9816 or gcia@gcia.org.