Common Question about Waiving Deductible at Chico Auto Body Shop
I was at the Collision Pros in Chico, CA the other day and overheard a customer asking, “Can you waive my deductible”? That made me realize that this question is still common with customers and it would be a great blog post.
The simple answer is “Yes”. Any agreement between a private party and the body shop is between them. But, it’s a lot more complicated than just that.
Most auto body shops that work with insurance companies are already working off of a discounted rate and cannot or will not take an even deeper discount. Saving a customer their deductible would appear unethical, since it would seem that they would just add the cost onto the final bill to cover your deductible amount leaving the insurance company to end up paying the full amount for repairs. That would be unethical since you agreed to a deductible amount in your policy.
Body Shops Waiving Deductibles Often Add the Cost to the Final Bill
Let’s say the body shop did not over-inflate the estimate to cover the deductible, but instead took your deductible amount out of their profit. It would seem likely they would then cut corners to make up for the amount that they gave as a discount or their cost started too high.
Let’s just say that the body shop didn’t cut corners and didn’t add onto the bill to the insurance company. You would then have to question why a reputable company would want to do the work for little to no profit. You would want to question are they just poor business operators or just desperate. Neither is a company that you would want to have a long term warranty with.
Would You Be Willing to Go to Jail to Save Your Deductible?
If you were to read your insurance policy, you would see that it says you will pay the deductible prior to any other part being paid. If the cost of repairs comes in less than the estimate, you are still responsible for the amount of the deductible. Any savings from the repair work clearly belongs to the insurance company. By keeping the deductible you are violating your insurance policy and could be committing insurance fraud. Penalties for insurance fraud are very severe in California.
Insurance appraisers are well aware of the true cost of repairs and are not likely to be fooled by inflating an estimates. You should be very careful of any auto body repair shop that offers to save you your deductible. They may be taking short cuts in your repair, which could depreciate the value of your car and/or repair it in an unsafe manner. You really should ask yourself, “Do I really want to do business with a company willing to commit insurance fraud?” and “Do you want to commit fraud for such a small amount of money?”
Accidents are unfortunate and no one wants to pay their unexpected deductible. However, it’s much safer and less complicated to just do business with an ethical business that is going to be around for years to honor their warranty for the repairs that they do. If you really need to save something, talk to your local shop about local shop or insurance company about, “betterment”. This is a common practice where the insurance company will allow you to take some of the money and leave some of the damage. Let’s say your wheel has a scratch that you can live with. You are entitled to some or all of the cost of that wheel. You’ll need to ask because not all accidents have the right kind of damage and not all policies allow for this.
Auto Body Shop Profit Margins Can’t Absorb Deductibles.
To be in the body shop business and to do it correctly is an enormous investment in tools, training and infrastructure to repair your car correctly and to be there in the future, should you have any warranty issues. The body shop business doesn’t operate off of profit margin that would allow to discount to the level of waiving deductibles. A shop waiving deductibles is a sure sign that this shop is unethical or desperate.
If you are in Northern California and would like to discuss ways to save on auto body repair work, stop by a Collision Pros in Auburn, Chico, Woodland, Red Bluff or Paradise.