58-3-180. Motor vehicle repairs; selection by claimant.

(a) A policy covering damage to a motor vehicle shall allow the claimant to select the repair service or source for the repair of the damage.

(b) The amount determined by the insurer to be payable under a policy covering damage to a motor vehicle shall be paid regardless of the repair service or source selected by the claimant.

(b1) No insurer or insurer representative shall recommend the use of a particular motor vehicle repair service without clearly informing the claimant that (i) the claimant is under no obligation to use the recommended repair service, (ii) the claimant may use the repair service of the claimant's choice, (iii) the amount determined by the insurer to be payable under the policy will be paid regardless of whether or not the claimant uses the recommended repair service, and (iv) that the insurer or insurer representative has, at the time the recommendations are made, a financial interest in the recommended motor vehicle repair service. No insurer shall require that the insured or claimant must have a damaged vehicle repaired at an insurer-owned motor vehicle repair service.

(b2) The provisions of subsection (b1) of this section shall be included in nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle insurance policy forms promulgated by the Bureau and approved by the Commissioner.

(c) Any person who violates this section is subject to the applicable provisions of G.S. 58-2-70 and G.S. 58-33-46, provided that the maximum civil penalty that can be assessed under G.S. 58-2-70(d) for a violation of this section is two thousand dollars ($2,000).

(d) As used in this section, "insurer representative" includes an insurance agent, limited representative, broker, adjuster, and appraiser. (1993, c. 525, s. 2; 2001-203, s. 26; 2001-451, s. 1; 2003-395, s. 1.)