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Daily Q&A: What car repair help should I expect from my auto insurance company after an accident?

What are my rights and expectations from my auto insurance company when getting my car repaired after a car accident?

First of all, know that your insurance company has responsibilities to perform during the repair.

For example, Sean Shaw, the state's consumer insurance advocate, says policyholders can choose where they want to have their cars repaired after an accident.

Shaw noted in a recent report that, "insurance companies can recommend a collision repair shop, but cannot require the policyholder to use that shop."

Here are some other tips Shaw offers:

• The insurance company must repair the vehicle with parts at least equal in kind and quality to the original parts. The repair work must restore the structural integrity of the vehicle.

• In the event a consumer's vehicle is deemed a total loss, insurance companies are required to pay the policyholder the value of the vehicle at the moment before the accident. Policyholders should always independently research the value of their car before agreeing to a settlement. In the event the consumer does not agree with the insurer's offer, consumers should try to negotiate the value of the settlement.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: What car repair help should I expect from my auto insurance company after an accident? 04/02/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 2, 2010 10:32am]
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