California Motorist Bill of Rights
1. Do I have the right to take my car to the shop of my choice?
Yes. You may select the repair facility of your choice unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise.
2. Should my insurance company be notified before repairs?
Yes. Your insurance policy generally states that, if requested, you must file a sworn proof of loss, exhibit the damaged property, and submit to examination under oath.
3. Do I need to contact more than one shop for an estimate?
No. One estimate from the shop of your choice is required, unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise. California State Law requires that you receive a written estimate before starting repairs.
4. Am I responsible for the cost of repairs?
Yes. You are usually responsible to the repair facility for payment of repairs unless your insurance policy specifies otherwise. Ordinarily, if you are insured your insurance policy states that the insurance company will pay you for the loss, less any applicable deductibles or depreciation. Any arrangements for payments by your insurance company are your responsibility.
5. Is the repair facility responsible for the repairs performed on my car?
Yes. The Automobile Repair Act of 1971 requires all repair dealers to be registered with the state of California and to post a sign. This Act [Section 9884.7(1)(g)] states that the Department of Consumer Affairs may invalidate the registration of the repair dealer for a number of causes: the making of any statement, written or oral, which is untrue or misleading; causing a customer to sign any work order which does not state the repairs requested by the customer; failing or refusing to give to a customer a copy of any document requiring his or her signature as soon as the customer signs such document; any other conduct which constitutes fraud; any willful departure from or disregard of accepted trade standards for good and workman like repair.
6. If I am having difficulties with my insurance company, do I have recourse?
Yes. First, consult with your insurance agent or broker. Then, if your problems still have not been resolved, consult with the Department of Insurance, State of California, at one of their offices in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, or telephone their toll free line: 1-800-927-4357.
7. If my insurance company does not agree with the amount of loss, do I have recourse other than No. 6?
Yes. Your insurance policy may provide that when the insured and insurer fail to agree on the amount of the loss, both parties are entitled to arbitration.
8. Can an insurer require, direct, suggest, or recommend that your automobile be repaired at a specific shop?
No. Unless the referral is expressly requested by you, or you have been informed in writing of the right to select the repair facility and the insurer that elects to repair a vehicle directs, suggests, or recommends that a specific repair shop be used, they shall cause the damaged vehicle to be restored to its condition prior to the loss at no additional cost to you other than as stated in the policy or as otherwise allowed by law.
9. Can my insurer require me to use non-original equipment manufacturer (non-OEM) replacement crash parts for the repair of my car?
No. No insurer shall require the use of non-OEM replacement crash parts in the repair of an automobile unless the parts are at least equal to the original equipment manufacturer parts in terms of quality, safety, fit, and performance, and insurers specifying the use of non-OEM replacement crash parts shall pay the cost of any modifications to the parts which may become necessary to effect the repair. Furthermore, insurers specifying the use of non-OEM replacement crash parts warrant that such parts are of like kind, quality, safety, fit, and performance as OEM replacement crash parts.