Thursday, 21 May 2020 11:57

Most Insurers Reimbursing for COVID Clean Up Most of the Time

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, auto body shops have been forced to step up their vehicle sanitization efforts.

Sanitization to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is particularly important in collision repair shops because the disease can live up to several days on certain types of metals, according to the National Institutes of Health, which conducted research in collaboration with the CDC, UCLA and Princeton University.

The research found “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.”


Nationwide and State Farm have both released statements agreeing to reimburse shops an hour of labor plus $25 for materials for COVID clean up.


In Nationwide’s statement, the company wrote, “As with everything we do, we ask that every claim be handled on its individual merit. If the claim merits more than the guidelines, please provide the supporting documentation for our review.”


USAA is paying 0.5 labor hours plus $15 for materials for COVID cleanup through June 30. In an April 2 document, USAA Learning Process Consultant Jimmy Horner wrote, “We realize this COVID-19 event has prompted everyone to take extraordinary measures to stay safe. USAA strives to protect our member’s financial security and well-being, especially during these unprecedented times.”


It's great some insurers have officially released these statements, but are shops actually getting paid for COVID cleanup?


Autobody News talked to repairers around the nation to find out what’s happening in their shops. Repair facilities throughout the U. S. confirmed they have received compensation from some insurers, including State Farm, Nationwide and USAA.


“We have been pretty successful in collecting for COVID cleanup," said Brian Shaw of Sudden Impact Auto Body & Paint Shop in Salisbury, NC. "I’ve had quite a bit of pushback, but getting the customer involved helps drastically! We did a Facebook Live video that detailed out COVID cleanup process, and I used screenshots from it to create a document I can email to insurers to help justify what we are doing during the cleanup.


"I’ve found that it is always helpful when negotiating for a specific line item to be able provide an attachment, especially now when everything is being handled by email.”


Some shops have received payment from AAA, Allstate and Safeco as well. Of course, responses vary by region and insurer.

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