More Shops Being Paid For Clearing A Driver’s Personal Data From A Total Loss Vehicle; Latest ‘Who Pays’ Survey Now Open Through October

Written by John Yoswick, Autobody News
Oct. 04, 2022


Phone synching with a vehicle results in it becoming almost the equivalent of a cell phone on wheels – so shops are increasingly offering to erase all that personal data for a customer whose vehicle has been declared a total loss.

A “Who Pays for What?” survey of U.S. shops this past summer found that more than one-third (35 percent) said they are paid always or most of the time by the eight largest U.S. insurers when they charge for the labor for this procedure. That has more than doubled from the first time the survey asked about the procedure a year earlier. Despite this, more than 4 in 5 shops acknowledge not having sought to be paid for this work – perhaps because many shops aren’t doing it.

“A vehicle owner today may have their home address stored in their navigation unit of the vehicle, and their contacts get stored when they synch their phone,” industry trainer Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, who conducts the “Who Pays” surveys with CRASH Network, said. “Garage door opener codes might be stored. So we need to be asking the vehicle owner, when the vehicle is a total loss, if they would they like us to erase their personal information.”

Anderson said the steps necessary to clear this information can generally be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

The final “Who Pays for What?” survey of 2022 is now open through the month of October. It focuses on labor operations related to scanning, system calibrations, and labor. Shops can take the survey at:

Survey participants receive a free report with complete survey findings along with analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented.

Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15-20 minutes, can be completed by anyone in a shop familiar with the shop's billing practices and the payment practices of at least some of the largest national insurers. Each shop's individual responses are held in the strictest confidence; only aggregated data is released.

The results of previous surveys are also available online (

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