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Survey Says More Shops Getting Paid for Seatbelt Inspection

The latest “Who Pays for What?” survey indicates that more collision repair facilities are getting paid for inspections of seatbelts in vehicles that have been involved in a collision.

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Given that automaker procedures often call for inspections of seatbelts in vehicles that have been involved in a collision, industry trainer Mike Anderson of Collision Advice is glad to see continual growth the past four years in the percentage of shops being paid for this procedure. But he also says he would feel better if the pace of growth was even faster.

“This is one of the procedures I’m most concerned about,” said Anderson. “The data from our ‘Who Pays For What?’ survey in July, while heading in the right direction, still indicates to me that too few shops are researching OEM repair procedures and so are unaware of the need to inspect seatbelts.”

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About two in five shops now say they are paid “always” or “most of the time” by the eight largest insurers when they perform and bill for the procedure on behalf of their customers. That’s up from just one in four back in 2016, and up even from just last year when about one-third of shops reported being paid regularly.

Part of that change is based on a decline in the number of shops that acknowledge they had never sought to be paid for the procedure. Back in 2016, more than 62% of shops said they had never billed for inspecting seatbelts. That has fallen to 41% this year.

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“I think the ‘Who Pays’ surveys are helping raise awareness of the need for this procedure,” said Anderson. “One of the things I’ve learned in researching OEM procedures is that many automakers include two procedures related to seatbelt inspections. One may be a seatbelt precaution, generally a list of what you need to look for if a vehicle has been in an accident. The other is a seatbelt inspection, procedures required when you reinstall a seatbelt removed as part of repairs.”

The latest quarterly “Who Pays for What?” survey is now open through the month of October. It focuses on scanning and ADAS calibration procedures, but also surveys shop labor rates and their billing practices relative to shop supplies, like plastic repair materials and seam sealer. Shops can take the survey by clicking here.

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Survey participants receive a report with complete survey findings at no charge, broken down by region, insurer and DRP vs. non-DRP. The report also includes analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented.

Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15 to 25 minutes, can be completed by anyone in a shop familiar with the 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 available here.

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