Although you never hope to find yourself in an auto accident that requires bodywork, you’ll be glad to have an auto insurance policy that helps you cover your losses. When you make a claim against your policy, you usually have to pay a deductible, which is a fixed amount that you’re liable for in the event of a loss. Typically, you have to pay that amount before your insurance company will make any payments for your damages. You may ask yourself, “Can the body shop waive the deductible?”
Can the Body Shop Waive Deductible?
In the simplest terms, yes it can. A body shop can enter into any agreement with a customer for repair, but this is a situation where the adage “no free lunch” proves its worth. Auto body shops that waive deductibles are going to make their money back somewhere else in the process. If the shop is working with your insurer, then they are most likely already working at a discounted rate, and unless they’re feeling uncharacteristically generous, why would they eat into their profits to save you money?
What About Fraud or Shoddy Work?
Your collision repair company cannot make this deductible back by overcharging the insurance company or writing a work order that is different from the work that is actually performed. This constitutes fraud and you should avoid doing business with a body shop that waives deductibles in this way. Any agreement for a body shop to waive deductible has to come out of the shop’s profits. The only way this makes sense for the shop’s bottom line is to save costs by cutting corners. Do you really want to cut corners when it comes to bringing your vehicle back to pre-accident conditions?
Is Saving Money Worth Jeopardizing Your Freedom?
In many jurisdictions, you’re required to pay this fixed deductible before your insurer pays for the repair. This amount isn’t dependent on the total cost of the repairs. If you’re wondering aloud “Do I pay my deductible to the body shop?”, the answer is yes. Getting the body shop to waive the deductible could be considered a type of insurance fraud that may land you in jail. The company providing the repairs can’t afford to absorb your deductible. If you really need to save money, you should talk to your insurer about accepting a level of repair that is less than a pre-accident condition. Depending on the terms of your policy this may be an acceptable, ethical, and/or legal way for you to save money without shortchanging the body shop.
For many policy owners, the deductible is not necessarily an insignificant amount of money. It’s neither right nor reasonable to expect a body shop to waive the deductible. They’re either inflating the true cost of repairs which is a fraud, or they’re not fully providing the repair that your vehicle needs, which doesn’t serve you as an owner. Your policy may allow you to knowingly accept less repair to save money, but be upfront about this and discuss it with your insurer. The last thing you want to do is be facing serious fines or worse, jail time for committing insurance fraud just because you wanted to save money.