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A third party claim is where the other person’s insurance is involved as opposed to your own. Please understand that your claim is actually against the at fault party or person and not their insurance company. As such, the insurance company cannot dictate anything – not the repair shop, not the repair methodology, not how much is paid – NOTHING. This is because there is no contract in force.
The other person’s insurance becomes involved because of the liability portion of their Contract of Insurance. Generally, this part of the “policy” will say something like “The company will pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured becomes obligated to pay as damages arising from: a) bodily injury; b) injury or destruction of property; which are payable under the terms of this policy.” In layman’s terms, insurance protects the person who purchased the contract. The insurance company is obligated to pay the damages up to the limits of the coverage. If someone causes damage to your property due to negligence, they are personally responsible to the injured party. If they have an insurance contract that covers this loss, the insurer must protect them financially and pay for the damages.
In the case of an automobile collision, it may seem as if the claimant is at the mercy of the insurance company. This is not the case. A person cannot be bound by a contract they were not a party to. The only reason the insurance company is involved in the claim is to pay the damages owed by the insured to the claimant. There is no contract in effect between the claimant and the insurance company. The claimant doesn’t have to settle for aftermarket parts, may be entitled to a rental vehicle immediately upon suffering the loss, and can choose any shop and repair methods they desire to have the repairs made (within reason). The insurance company cannot dictate anything to a claimant. They have no authority, the sole purpose of the insurance company in a third party claim is to pay the bill.
However, some insurance representatives will often tell a claimant something different. They would have the vehicle owner believe that the insurance company’s decisions are binding. This is not true. The at-fault party owes the claimant. The at-fault party’s Contract of Insurance provides protection to the at-fault party. The third party claimant has complete control over the repair process, not the negligent party’s insurance company. You have every legal right to bring your car to the collision repair facility you trust.
Source: Auto Body Assurance