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You Have Rights Regarding Auto Accidents and Insurance Coverage

Question
If I've been in an auto accident, must I use one of my insurance company's "Approved" shops or a shop that was "Referred" to me by my insurance company?

Answer
No, you have the right to choose your own collision repair facility. Once you have chosen a repair shop, your insurance company cannot recommend a different shop. Remember, your insurance company is looking for the cheapest way to resolve your claim, that is why they want you to take your vehicle to one of their shops.

Rhode Island General law 27-29-4 (15)
The insured or claimant shall be promptly informed by the insurer of his or her free choice in the selection of an auto body repair shop. Once the insured or claimant has advised the insurer that an auto body repair shop has been selected, the insurer may not recommend that a different auto body repair shop be selected to repair the automobile. An auto body repair shop may file a complaint with the department of business regulation alleging a violation of this subdivision (15). Whenever the department of business regulation has reason to believe that an insurer has violated this subdivision (15), the department shall conduct an investigation and may convene a hearing. A complaint filed by an auto body repair shop must be accompanied by a statement written and signed by the insured or claimant setting forth the factual basis of the complaint, and the insured or claimant must voluntarily appear and testify at any administrative proceedings on the complaint.

Please see the RI Department of Business Regulations information regarding Auto Insurance

Question
Can I insist on "Original "(non-aftermarket) parts when my vehicle is repaired?

Answer
Yes!
...If you choose to, you can insist that your insurance company pay for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts if you vehicle is less than 30 months old.

Rhode Island General law 27-10.2-2 (b)  
  
 (a) Whenever an insurance company, in adjusting a first party claim for motor vehicle physical damage, intends to specify the use of aftermarket parts, it shall notify the insured in writing. Any auto body repair shop conducting business in the state of Rhode Island shall not use non-original equipment manufactured (OEM) parts, also referred to as aftermarket parts, in the repair of any person's automobile, without that person giving the repairer his or her express written consent.

   (b) No insurance company may require the use of aftermarket parts when negotiating repairs with any repairer unless the repairer has written consent from the vehicle owner to install aftermarket parts. The provisions of this section shall apply only to automobiles which are less than thirty (30) months beyond the date of manufacture.

   (c) For any automobile which is less than thirty (30) months beyond the date of manufacture, the insurer and the auto body repairs shop must provide a written notice to the vehicle owner that: (i) he or she may require the insurer to pay for and the auto body shop to install "original equipment manufacturer parts" or "OEM parts" in the repair of a motor vehicle body replacement; or (ii) he or she may require the insurer to pay for and the auto body shop to install "non-original equipment manufacturer parts" (non-"OEM parts") in the repair of a motor vehicle body replacement. To comply with this provision, written notice may be provided on the appraisal written on behalf of the insurer and the estimate prepared by the auto body repair shop.

Please see the RI Department of Business Regulations information regarding Auto Insurance

Question
If I was not at fault in an accident, must I use the coverage in my insurance policy to settle the claim?

Answer
No, If you were not at fault in an accident, you cannot be instructed by the other party to use your own insurance coverage


Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation 73 section 6D
Where liability and damages are reasonably clear, the Insurer shall not
recommend that a Third Party Claimant make a claim under his or her
own Policy

Please see the RI Department of Business Regulations information regarding Auto Insurance


Question
If my vehicle was declared "totaled" Is my insurance company required to pay me the replacement cost?
Answer
Yes! You are entitled to the actual retail value of your vehicle, please see sction below


Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation 73 section 7A (2)

Total Losses: Replacement Vehicles and Cash Settlement When the Policy provides for the adjustment and settlement of motor vehicle total losses on the basis of actual cash value or a Replacement Vehicle, one of the following shall apply:

(1) Replacement Vehicle. The Insurer may elect to offer a Replacement Vehicle. Said Replacement Vehicle shall be made available for the purpose of Claimant's inspection at a licensed dealer within a reasonable distance of the Claimant's residence.The Insurer's offer and Insured's acceptance or rejection must be documented in the Claim File.

(2) Cash Settlement . The Insurer may elect to pay a cash settlement equal to the actual cash value of the motor vehicle less any deductible provided in the Policy. In determining the actual cash value of a motor vehicle to settle motor vehicle property damage liability and collision damage claims, Insurers shall use as a guide, the average retail values indicated by the National Automobile Dealers Association official Used Car Guide ("Guide") or some service substantially similar (with appropriate adjustment for such factors as vehicle condition, high and low mileage, accessory options). Nothing herein shall preclude a deviation from the Guide in cases where it can be shown that the vehicle in question was of substantially greater or lesser value in a particular geographical location than the average retail values that the Guide indicates. When the cash settlement amount is affected by betterment or depreciation, the Insurer must support the deviation by documentation in the Claim File by giving particulars of the automobile condition that warrant said deviation. Any deductions or betterment from actual cash value from the Guide, including deduction for salvage, must be measurable, discernible, itemized and specified as to dollar amount. The basis for determining actual cash value shall be fully explained to the Claimant.All information that is the basis for such reduction shall becontained in the Claim File. If the Insurer in the process of adjusting a total loss makes a deduction for salvage of the Claimant's vehicle, the Insurer must furnish the Claimant with the name and address of a salvage dealer who will purchase the salvage for the amount deducted.

Please see the RI Department of Business Regulations information regarding Auto Insurance

 

 


 

 

 

 

 
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