Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey
As cars become more complex, liability is an increasing concern. (Photo: Huw Evans)

Making the case for pre and post scan coverage.

Just recently, Craftsman Collision was part of a large-scale pilot project, working with the Automotive Retailers Association and ICBC, along with other collision repair shops, to investigate pre and post scanning.

Not surprisingly, we found that pre and post scanning is super important, especially the pre-scanning. You need to see what’s wrong before you even start repairs.

Now, most insurance companies recognize that. But we still have some holdouts. There are a couple of insurance companies that don’t have a 100% buy-in, and that worries me. Aren’t they putting themselves at risk? If they don’t pay for a pre-scan and we don’t find something until the end, it may not be a safety concern, but it is a cycle time concern. Now we’re waiting for parts or a diagnostic report at the end of the job, when we could have found out at the start.

Position statements

When it comes to the OEMs, that’s a grey area. They almost all have what they call “position statements,” saying their vehicles should get a pre and post scan, or it is recommended. There are only two OEMs that say it’s a requirement. Other manufacturers will just recommend it or say it’s suggested. And insurance companies will not pay on those if there’s no policy in place already.

Could it be that manufacturers don’t want to put a firm policy in place because scanning isn’t 100% adopted in the body shop industry? It’s likely there are many shops that still send vehicles to the dealers, or don’t do it at all. Possibly, the OEMs don’t want to force shops that are out of town to have to tow every single car to a dealer and cause a lot of extra cost.

When you give the car back to the customer, don’t you want it to be functioning properly? Another issue that has come up over the last couple of years is liability. If a car isn’t scanned properly, whether it’s paid for or not, it’s on the body shop. That’s where the major problem is—we’re forced to have the liability.

Case by case

So, in order to protect ourselves as a company, Craftsman Collision will pre and post scan every vehicle, and work with the insurance company for payment. Many go on a case by case basis, which also causes problems because you have to call their adjusters and waste time on every single car, to find out if you get paid.

There should be a blanket statement that pays a certain amount for pre and post scans, so everyone’s covered and every customer is safe. If there’s a safety issue and someone got hurt, the finger pointing would always come back to the collision repair shop first, and the insurance company second.

But the insurance company says they follow OEM specifications. So did the body shop do a hundred percent of their research? Did we do our job 100% correctly? If you present the insurance company with information, they tend to approve it, although sometimes you have to push them.

There are many different priorities between the OEMs, the insurers and collision repairers. We’re all trying to protect our liability. It’s still very much in flux and will probably continue to be for the next five to 10 years—especially as cars become even more complicated.

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