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Auto Body Consumer Bill of Rights Signed into Law in California

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A California bill (A.B. 1179) establishing an “Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights” that outlines insureds’ rights relative to covered auto body repairs was signed into law on Aug. 7. The bill mandates that information regarding a consumer’s right to seek and obtain an independent repair estimate directly from a registered body shop, even when pursuing an insurance claim for repair of that vehicle, be included in the Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights.

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The bill of rights, which insurers must present to consumers when they sign up for an auto insurance policy or in the event of an accident, will inform insureds of the following:

• A consumer’s right to select an auto body repair shop for auto body damage covered by the insurance policy and that an insurer may not require this work to be done at a particular auto body repair shop.

• The consumer’s right to be informed about auto body repairs made with new OEM crash parts, new aftermarket crash parts and used crash parts.

• The consumer’s right to be informed about coverage for towing services, and for a replacement rental vehicle while a damaged vehicle is being repaired.

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• Toll-free telephone numbers and Internet addresses for reporting suspected fraud or other complaints and concerns about auto body repair shops to the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

• A consumer’s right to seek and obtain an independent repair estimate directly from a registered auto body repair shop for repair of a damaged vehicle, even when pursuing an insurance claim for repair of that vehicle.

The California Autobody Association and the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) both supported A.B. 1179.

“One benefit to this bill is that the CRA was able to demonstrate to lawmakers how some insurers try to convince the claimant to accept an insurer’s damage assessment as a settlement without obtaining a more accurate estimate of repairs from an automotive repair dealer,” said Allen Wood, CRA executive director. “We are pleased that the State Legislature gave this measure its overwhelming support.”

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Originally, A.B. 1179 would have required insurers to inform consumers
that an insurer’s damage assessment is not a written estimate of repair
costs, but the bill was amended in the spring to create the bill of
rights instead.

Click HERE to read a story about the bill before it was amended.

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