What insurance companies don't want you to know

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Steering by insurance staff and tow truck operators is illegal. Back room secret deals are made between body shops and insurance co's to cut corners and use junk yard parts.

 

Consumer Reports. Org. Reminds Car Owners to Avoid Insurance Preferred Shops and Aftermarket Parts. Be Safe!

ConsumerReports.org is again reminding consumers to avoid a claims-related problems should they be unlucky enough to have been involved in a auto insurance claim.

In the most recent survey, the ARRC said, 75 to 86 percent of claimants encountered a claims-related problem, depending on the carrier. So it pays to know the right procedures for filing a claim and how to deal with any glitches you might encounter.

According to the release, “Picking a top-rated insurer is also key to controlling your costs. An insurer can charge less in premiums but cost you more overall by low balling loss estimates, forcing the repair shop to cut corners, and making you pay extra for the manufacturer’s replacement parts if you choose them over cheaper knockoffs.”

We suggest that consumers turn to the Dealer’s Choice Insurance Buying Guide as their guide to Insurance Claims for advice on how to “get your due” from car insurance policies.

In the 2012 Consumer Reports Money Adviser, the group warns, “You might be pressured to take your car to a shop in the insurer’s direct – repair program or to use cheaper replacement parts instead of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. You’re under no obligation to accept either. Tests have found that some non–OEM parts fit poorly, are more prone to rust and corrosion, and might not meet safety standards.”

Consumer Reports notes in its Car Insurance Buying Guide that, based on its surveys, respondents’ satisfaction with repairs was significantly lower among those who felt pressured to use DRP shops and non–OEM parts. And respondents who said they were pressured to use non-OEM parts had significantly more problems with their repairs.

 

 

State Auto Body Shops Awarded $35 Million In Case Against The Hartford for Steering customers to discount/preferred body shops.

The Hartford Courant A Superior Court judge awarded $20 million in punitive damages – in addition to nearly $15 million previously awarded by a jury in compensatory damages – to Connecticut auto repair shop owners in their 10-year legal battle against The Hartford. The Auto Body Association of Connecticut, which comprises more than 1,000 auto body shops, filed a lawsuit in 2003 against Hartford Fire Insurance Co., which is part of The Hartford Financial Services Group. The association alleged that The Hartford engaged in a pattern of unfair and deceptive acts and practices, violating state law, by steering customers who had been in a crash to certain preferred auto body shops. The lawsuit also alleged that The Hartford provided incentives to its appraisers to establish artificially low hourly rates for auto body repair work.