Auto body shop fighting insurance company over used parts
BATON ROUGE - There's an insurance fight brewing and it's got an auto body shop owner, fighting for the customer.
Owner of Miles Paint and Body, Chip Elkins, says he's been in the car business for years. Quite often, he says he's stuck fighting an insurance company's decision to cut corners and use used parts instead of new ones.
"I fight it every day," Elkins said.
Thursday, he called 2 On Your Side after a customer rolled into his shop needing repairs. The customer had been in an accident and it was ruled to be the other driver's fault. They've been working with State Farm to sign off on repairs, but the news has not sat well.
"State Farm wants to put two salvaged doors on this car," said Elkins.
The customer says the 2015 Chevy Impala was bought new. The driver's side door and the rear door need to be replaced. Elkins says the car should leave his shop the way it was in pre-accident condition.
"And pre-accident condition does not include junkyard parts," he said.
Elkins says there are a lot of unknowns when used parts like doors come into play. He never knows the backstory of where the parts come from or what type of environment they've been in. It can sometimes cause problems down the road.
"It can short out, can short the wiring harness out if these vehicles have been out in the weather forever with the doors open," he said. "There's no telling what's wrong with these doors."
With recent floods and weather events in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, he fears a used part could be water-damaged.
According to documents provided by State Farm and a supplement provided by Elkins, the cost difference to use new doors is about $175 more than the estimate given by the insurance company.
"It's just not cost-effective to use them," he said.
Elkins says he works for the customer and he does not appreciate a company telling him how to make repairs.
"It's wrong," he said. "They need to look out for the customer, they don't need to look out for their pocketbook."
State Farm tells 2 On Your Side it cannot discuss claims with third parties and if a customer has questions or concerns about their claim, they should continue to work through their claim contact.