Last Updated on November 23, 2021
Your insurer is required to restore your car to the condition it was in before the incident.
If your insurer does not live up to that requirement, however, then you may need to take action.
Sometimes, the repair shop does a bad job repairing your vehicle. In other cases, the insurer cuts corners to reduce costs as much as possible.
What should you do if your car is not fixed properly after an insurance claim? How can you make sure your car is fully restored to pre-loss condition? Keep reading to discover your options.
Your Insurer Must Repair Your Vehicle to Pre-Loss Condition
When you buy car insurance, you’re signing a contract with your insurance company. You pay the premium, and your insurer takes the risk.
Under the terms of that insurance contract, your insurer must cover the value of your vehicle after a covered incident. If someone collides with your vehicle, for example, then your insurer must restore your vehicle to pre-loss condition via your collision coverage.
Your insurer has an obligation to repair your vehicle to the state it was in before the loss. If your insurer fails to live up to that obligation, then your insurer is violating your insurance contract.
The First Steps
If you are not satisfied with the way your vehicle was repaired after an accident, then take the following steps:
- Inspect the vehicle for damages (look at the vehicle, listen to the vehicle when driving, and take it for a test drive to verify it feels the same way it did before the accident)
- Talk to the repair shop about your concerns
- Contact your adjuster
You may want to start by contacting your insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster can advise you on the next steps. You may not want to take your car back to the original repair shop, for example, and you may want to take it to a third-party repair shop.
Contact Your Adjuster
When you start a claim, your insurer assigns an adjuster to your claim. You work with your insurer throughout the repair process. If there are problems with your repairs, then start by contacting your adjuster.
If the problem is obvious, then the adjuster should be willing to work with you.
Your car was not repaired to pre-loss condition, and your insurer needs to cover repair costs until repairs are complete. If the body shop needed to replace your bumper, for example, and the body shop did not replace your bumper, then the adjuster should authorize more repairs.
Authorized Repair Shops Versus Other Repair Shops
Regardless of where you repaired your vehicle, your insurer is obligated to repair your vehicle to pre-loss condition.
However, depending on where you repaired your vehicle, you may have different options.
When you file a claim, your insurer may recommend certain repair shops. You are not obligated to take your vehicle to these specific repair shops. However, taking your vehicle to an authorized repair shop may give you additional options.
If you take your vehicle to a repair shop approved by your dealership, for example, then your insurer will likely guarantee the work. The insurer has verified that the repair shop does good work, so the insurer will issue some type of warranty or guarantee for the repairs.
If you took your car to a third-party repair shop, then that’s okay: your insurer still needs to cover the cost of repairing your vehicle to pre-loss condition. In this case, the insurer may cover the cost of taking your car to another repair shop.
How to Check Your Vehicle for Improper Repairs
When you get into an accident, you expect the shop to repair your vehicle properly. You should be completely satisfied with the repairs. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
If your car has not been properly repaired after an accident, or if you suspect something is wrong, then take the following steps:
Scan your Vehicle for Physical or Visible Damages: Start by inspecting your vehicle for visible or physical signs of damage. If you filed an insurance claim for body repairs, for example, then the body of your car should be restored to pre-loss condition. There should be no dents, scratches, or other physical damage to your vehicle.
Listen to Your Vehicle: Does your vehicle make a funny sound after the accident? Does your vehicle sound differently than it did before? While some sounds may be normal, other sounds are not. Listen to your vehicle after the accident for any strange or new noises.
Check the Feel of Your Vehicle: You know how your vehicle drives better than anyone. Does your vehicle feel different after the repairs? Does something feel “off”? Does it handle, brake, steer, or accelerate differently? These could all be a sign of shoddy repairs.
What to Do When Accident Damage is Not Properly Repaired
If your accident damages have not been properly repaired, then you can take steps to ensure it gets fully repaired.
Talk to the Repair Shop: Your first step is to talk to the repair shop. Ask to speak to the manager, for example, to discuss specific issues. Explain what you noticed, heard, or felt when driving your vehicle after the repairs. In some cases, there’s nothing wrong with your vehicle. In other cases, the manager may ask to take another look at your vehicle to verify the repairs were done correctly.
Request a Post-Repair Inspection: A post-repair inspection verifies the original damage was fully assessed and repaired. Some states provide no-cost inspections for collision repairs. In other states, you may want to order an inspection from a knowledgeable third party. Or, ask your insurance company’s adjuster for a post-repair inspection.
Contact your Car Insurance Company: If an inspection verifies that the repairs were done incorrectly, then you need to contact your insurance company. The insurance company is required to repair your car to pre-loss condition regardless of where it was repaired. If the repairs were not done correctly, then you are entitled to more repairs under the insurance claim.
Other Ways to Challenge an Insurance Claim
After working through the steps above, your car should have been restored to pre-loss condition. Your car should work, look, and feel just like it did before the accident.
However, if your insurer denies your requests for further repairs, and if the repair shop denies any wrongdoing, then there are other ways to challenge your insurance claim.
File a Complaint: Contact the Department of Insurance in your state to file a complaint against your insurance company. Or, contact the Bureau of Auto Repair in your state.
Contact an Attorney: For costlier insurance claims, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney specializing in insurance disputes. The attorney can challenge the claim and force the insurer to pay the compensation you are owed according to your insurance contract.
Final Word – Making Sure Your Vehicle Is Fixed Properly
If your car is not fixed properly after an insurance claim, then the insurer needs to continue paying for repairs until the car is restored to pre-loss condition.
Contact your insurance company and request a post-repair inspection. As long as the damages were legitimate, and as long as the car genuinely needs more repairs, your insurer should cover all remaining costs to repair your car properly.