Insurance fraud isn’t always what you think it is.

Any day of the week you can open up a newspaper and read stories about insurance companies, and why not, the United States insurance industry is the largest in the world in terms of revenue exceeding $1.2 trillion in revenue annually.

Insurance companies contribute approximately 40% to GDP of the financial institutions and employs more than 2 million people.  The industry also represents a significant part of the S&P 500 index, with 15 companies in the index and several others listed on the US stock exchanges.

Now that we understand how rich the insurance companies are, you will have a better understanding of why it is important to protect yourself from insurance fraud when it comes to fixing your car following an auto collision.

Usually the term “insurance fraud” is used when someone files a false claim with the insurance company, but in this instance we are warning of the insurance company not paying to have a vehicle fixed properly following a car accident.  Unfortunately, the insureds are usually willing participants in this type of insurance fraud and here is how.

You get into an auto collision.  The first thing you do is call your insurance company.  The insurance company tells you not to worry then they send you to one of their shops participating in their Direct Repair Program which is basically an agreement between the shop and the insurance company to paid prearranged prices for repairs.  The insurance company tells you that DRPs cooperate with them to save you money.  This all sounds great to you because who doesn’t want to save money?  What the insurance company doesn’t tell you is that the money that is being saved isn’t being passed on to you by way of cheaper premiums.  Instead, it is being added to the insurance company’s bottom line.

And what of your car? At least it will be fixed at a lower price, so that is something.  Well, not so fast.  DRPs know that they are only getting paid a certain amount of money for the repairs so if something unexpected comes up, they will not be getting any more money from the insurance company. So who will pay for the cost overrun?  If you guessed the insured, you would be right. But not in cash exchanging hands, more like in the DRP cutting corners and perhaps overlooking something that needed to be repaired. You pay premiums on time every month so when you need to put in a claim you expect that the claim will be honored and the repairs done correctly, so when something is missed or when counterfeit parts are installed on your car, violating your vehicle’s warranty, who is responsible?  Well, if you complain to the insurance company they will tell you that you had every right to use whatever body shop you wanted to use so it’s not their fault that your car wasn’t fixed properly and if you talk to the body shop, they will tell you that they were only following the insurance company’s recommendation.  In the end, the insured is left holding the bag. Now that is a whole different type of insurance fraud.

Barry’s Auto Body knows the tricks insurance companies play to try to pay the least amount possible on a claim.  We have worked to help those who have suffered from insurance fraud have their car fixed properly at no additional cost to them.  If you were recently in a car accident and you think that the auto repair shop cut corners, call us at 718 948-8585 to schedule a post repair inspection.  Let us investigate whether you were a victim of insurance fraud.