Survey: More Auto Body Shops Being Paid for Seat Belt Inspections

Survey: More Body Shops Being Paid for Seat Belt Inspections

Shops are increasingly billing for — and being paid for — seat belt inspections, according to the latest "Who Pays for What?" survey.

The percentage of shops getting paid for the labor involved in inspecting seatbelts (and their associated components) has more than tripled since the question about it first began to appear annually in the “Who Pays for What?” survey series in 2016.

Mike Anderson of Collision Advice said this “not-included” repair operation — for which every OEM has a very specific procedure — is a necessary and required part of a safe collision repair, adding he will not be satisfied until 100% of shops are performing it.

“I know I have been saying this for years, but of the 100-plus ‘not-included’ repair procedures we cover in the surveys each year, this is the one that keeps me awake at night,” said Anderson, who conducts the “Who Pays” surveys with CRASH Network. “Anything less than 100% on this question is very concerning because it indicates to me that too few shops are researching OEM repair procedures and are thus not aware of this requirement.”

The industry does appear to be headed in the right direction on the procedure, according to CRASH Network. In 2016, 63% of shops acknowledged they had never included it on a final invoice (that’s fallen to about 33% today), and of those who had in 2016, more than half (56%) said that insurers would never pay for it. Today, one-third still believe that insurers won’t pay them for the procedure, even while 44% of the shops that do charge for it say they get paid all or most of the time by the eight largest national insurers, and another 27% are paid at least sometimes.

“I am glad to see the big improvement, but more is needed,” Anderson said. “As an industry, we must accept responsibility for researching and following the requirements for this on every single vehicle we repair.”

The latest quarterly “Who Pays for What?” survey is now open through the month of July. It focuses on “not-included” frame and mechanical labor operations. Shops can take the survey here.

Survey participants receive a free report with complete survey findings along with analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented.

The survey can be completed in less than 15 minutes by anyone familiar with their shop’s billing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each shop’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released.

The results of previous surveys are also available online.

Collision Advice (CollisionAdvice.com) is an independent training and consulting firm featuring some of the most respected and experienced experts in the collision repair industry. CRASH Network (CrashNetwork.com) is a subscription newsletter offering news and information not available from other industry sources

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