is the at faults insurance responsible for repairs even if is a shop not approved by them?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 31, 2010

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Insurance Question from Citrus Heights, CA

Asked on 08/31/2010

is the at faults insurance responsible for repairs even if is a shop not approved by them? my girlfriend was in a non injury accident and the other guy was at fault. she took the car to a repair shop and when she got it back the car is in bad shape. she called the guys insurance and they said take it to another shop. the new shop looked at it and said that they wouldn't touch it because it was in such poor shape. the insurance is now saying that they wont pay to fix it because the first shop wasn't approved by their company. can they do that and what can we do legally?

Answer given on September 04, 2010

In California you are allowed to take your car to any shop you choose. However, most insurance companies have “preferred” shops that agree to certain costs for repair.  By taking your car to a preferred shop your repairs are usually guaranteed and settlement is easier. 

Your girlfriend should have been advised of her choice.  Presuming she was, she accepted the fact the repairs and out of pocket costs could be affected.  If the car was not acceptable to her, she should not have accepted the car from the shop, instead insisting that they properly repair the car.

If the damages were poorly repaired, it is not necessarily the responsibility of the insurance company to make good on them, since your girlfriend chose the repair shop.  She needs to go back to the repair shop and have them make the repairs to her satisfaction. Her insurance agent may be able to assist her with the shop and asking that they go back and fix the car.  However, if the shop refuses, then she may have to seek legal action against that shop. 

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