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How proper repair documentation leads to proper payment

Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 07:00
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“Because I said so.” “Everyone knows you have to do it.” “Isn’t it obvious?” These are simple phrases to answer the constant question of “Why are you billing me for this?” We’ve all heard it — “You’re the only one asking for this,” or “My boss says you don’t actually have to do that.” Nearly every month I read another article of another shop opening a suit against an insurance company that refused to pay for something. Many times, I read these articles and wonder if the evidence that will be presented in court was ever presented before. I also wonder if those situations truly warranted the items being requested. Were those items reinforced with some sort of proof?

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We train our writers to first analyze the vehicle and determine which major parts are going to be removed/replaced/repaired. We start with the big items and work to the smaller researching all available repair procedures.

In our industry, like everything in life, we have extremes. There are shops that cut every corner they can to reduce costs, decrease cycle time, and make it easier for their technicians. On the other hand, there are shops that seemingly go out of there way to add everything they can to increase the cost, increase cycle time, and make the repairs as hard as possible. I am not trying to disrespect either end, but ultimately, we have to be responsible for our actions. Successful shops are those that first and foremost repair the car to OEM guidelines and the first question they ask is “What is the safest way to repair the vehicle?” Once that is determined if there is more than one option then they consider what is best for the customer, insurance company, and their employee.

Armed with the chosen repair method an estimate can be written to accomplish that desired repair. The estimate is the manual the technician will use to fix the car. If the manual is missing steps (labor and/or parts), then the vehicle may not be repaired per the desired repair method or delays will arise to create a supplement. Proper estimating and proper repair planning are imperative for proper repairs. We train our writers to first analyze the vehicle and determine which major parts are going to be removed/replaced/repaired. We start with the big items and work to the smaller items, researching all available repair procedures. Printing the repair procedures in order to have them available while you write the estimate is a must to ensure the estimate will include everything needed to follow them.

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As important as the OEM repair procedures are, documents from the material and equipment suppliers are also crucial. Paint companies have guidelines and requirements and adhesives have instructions which must be followed. You may have limitations with tools that are available. Considering all constraints and requirements while developing the repair plan is extremely important. When the blueprint for rebuilding the vehicle is completed then the estimate has to get approved. Pretend like you are sitting in a court room having to explain to a judge, who knows nothing about cars much less repairing them, why you need to do what you wrote to do.

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