R.I. Bills Could Restrict Non-OEM Repair Work, Photo Estimates

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May 7, 2019—Rhode Island lawmakers were scheduled to hear three bills on Tuesday that would expand the state's list of unfair auto claims practices. 

Senate Bill 849 amends and expands the definitions of unfair claims practices committed by insurers with regard to physical inspection, performance of appraisals, retail valuation and total loss notification to owner. This bill states that unfair auto claims practices include photo estimates of damage exceeding $2,500, failure to perform an initial appraisal three business days after a request is received from a body shop, and failure to perform a supplement appraisal within four days after a request is received.

The hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee will also include Senate Bill 850, which requires that the owner of a vehicle be notified in writing that installation of aftermarket glass will require re-calibration of safety related systems, for which cost the insurer is responsible.

Through Senate Bill 848, an insurer found in violation of the unfair claims settlement practices act can be liable for three times the amount of damage. SB 848 states that when a car has been deemed a total loss, the owner or leasee of the vehicle may bring a civil action against the insurer issuing the relevant policy for violation. 


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