My insurance company and the vehicle manufacturer (OEM) disagree about how my car should be repaired – what do I do?

If you’re reading this article, you may find yourself in the following situation…

You’ve been in an accident. You’ve brought your car to Dorn’s Body & Paint for a Factory Certified Collision repair. The technicians at Dorn’s, certified by 19 vehicle brands, including yours, have put together a repair plan based on the manufacturer’s requirements vetted procedures. Then your insurance adjuster calls, and has a very different opinion on what the repair plan should be.

You may be asking yourself…

Why has this happened? Shouldn’t there be one method for doing a job correctly, especially when it comes to something as complicated as repairing my vehicle after an accident?

The answer is “Yes” – there is one method for repairing your vehicle correctly. That method has been specified, in detail, by the same engineers who designed your vehicle when it was first built. Your manufacturer has created extensive documentation on the equipment and procedures that must be followed to restore your vehicle to the condition it was in before the accident. Certified shops like Dorn’s are required to follow these procedures, or they can’t claim to have provided a certified repair, and could risk losing their certification.

However, your insurance company may disagree, putting you in a difficult position. You pay your insurance premiums, so you naturally expect your insurance company to hold up their end of the bargain if you have an accident. How do they justify a repair that is considered incorrect, and can’t be certified by the manufacturer? Some insurers still want to repair vehicles the way that they were 5 – 10 years ago to simply keep the repair costs down. These repair methods cannot be used with today’s vehicles due to the amount of “light-weighting” or the use of advanced materials like Aluminum, Carbon Fiber, Magnesium Ultra High Strength Steel to meet strict fuel economy and safety standards. These old antiquated methods will cause irreparable harm to your vehicle and could cause you and your family safety and financial issues in the future.


No one in the market performs these kinds of repairs.

At Dorn’s Body & Paint, we make sure we have all of the equipment and technical training necessary to follow the manufacturer procedures for every vehicle we repair. In many cases, we are the only collision facility in our state who has necessary tools or training. For example, this is why Tesla Tyson’s Corner, Tesla Rockville, Tesla Baltimore, Tesla Richmond, Richmond BMW, Crown Mini, Land Rover of Richmond, Brown’s Jaguar/Volkswagen, Flow Audi/Porsche, West Broad Audi, Checkered Flag Audi/Porsche/Land Rover/Jaguar, Audi Roanoke, Berglund Land Rover/Jaguar, Nissan of Richmond, Sheehy Nissan, Ferrari of Washington and Maserati of Washington refers all of their clients to us for repairs. We are the only facility in our market with the Factory Jig Fixture based “Frame Rack” which is the template on how your vehicle was manufactured. These very specialized tools are required by BMW, Tesla, Mini, Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar and many others to repair any of their vehicles. Seems logical, doesn’t it?

Some insurance companies don’t see it this way. They argue that because no other facility in the market has the training or equipment required by these manufactures, it shouldn’t be necessary to follow those requirements? Following that logic, some insurers say they shouldn’t have to cover all of those procedures.

In other words, if it can be done cheaper at another shop and they are willing to do it, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t repaired correctly. We know it sounds odd, but some carriers really only look at the bottom-line and when things go wrong, blame the repairer. In our experience, most of our clients strongly disagree with this logic.

Don’t take a chance with your investment.

[su_spoiler title=”What are the consequences of not following these procedures?” style=”fancy”]
Consequences for the safety of your vehicle:

  • Remaining damage means your car may be unsafe
  • Your crash management system may not react the way it was designed in a subsequent accident

Financial Consequences:

  • If your car is fixed against manufacturer requirements, your vehicle will not qualify as a certified repair. When you go to sell or trade in your vehicle, you will suffer repair-related diminished value. This can cost you thousands of dollars toward your next vehicle.

If you’ve leased your vehicle

  • You still have to pay the same monthly payment even though your car is now worth considerably less (and is possibly unsafe)
  • You may be held liable for the amount of diminished value when you go to return your vehicle at the end of your lease.

We demonstrate to insurers and vehicle owners how and why vehicle safety is at stake.
Unfortunately, some insurers refuse to cover a proper repair, even after we have made every possible argument.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”What are the options?” style=”fancy”]
When all arguments have been exhausted, the vehicle owner is sometimes faced with a choice. They can cover the difference to make sure that a proper, certified repair is done. While this does create an out of pocket expense, it is often the best long-term financial decision. Most importantly, it keeps your vehicle safe.

Then you can choose if legally going after the carrier is an option. Depending on the amount of differences, some clients will take the carrier/insurers/claimants to small claims court and be reimbursed. Some will use third party adjusters to argue your needs to the responsible carrier. These experts can also help you will diminished value claims and verify what we as the repairer have to do in order for you to receive a Certified repair.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”What if paying out of pocket is impossible?” style=”fancy”]
We advocate for more consumer protection in our industry. Clearly this practice needs to change, and no vehicle owner should be put in this position. If you choose not to cover the difference, we aren’t able to certify the repair. You’ll be required to sign a hold harmless for choosing to have your vehicle repaired against manufacturer guidelines.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”I’m comfortable following my insurance company’s alternative recommendation, and choose to have my vehicle repaired at another shop.” style=”fancy”]
Sometimes vehicle owners choose to follow their insurance company’s differing guidance. We understand. You expect your insurance company to hold up their end of your policy agreement. You may agree with your insurer – that a repair that doesn’t follow manufacturer guidelines is adequate. If you do follow this course of action, we would ask that you allow us to perform a free inspection after the repairs have been completed. For no charge, our certified technicians will examine the vehicle to make sure it’s still safe and let you know of any issues that we uncover during the inspection process.