Billing insurance can be a breeze! It can also make for a pretty easy sale when you tell a customer that the repair will cost them nothing out of their own pocket. Follow our guide to get a better understanding of how it all works.
The first thing to be aware of is if the customer has full coverage, in most cases, the insurance company will cover the cost of the windshield repair. However, in some states, there may be an exception to that. In addition to the fact that if they only have liability insurance, the insurance company will likely not cover the cost of the repair. So a fallback position would be a cash job or a credit card job in that situation.
So how do you get set up with insurance companies, well the first thing to understand is that most insurance companies don’t handle or receive their phone calls or approvals directly. Almost all insurance companies use what’s called a TPA or a third party administrator. That’s just a company that works for the insurance company, which will receive the phone call, and they may answer the phone sounding like the insurance company, but in reality, they’re a third party that will handle the paperwork side of that claim.
The first thing you would want to do if you ‘re going to do insurance work is to get set up and approved through the primary TPAs on the market, and those may include Harman Solutions Group, Gerber National, Lynx Services, and SGC. There are some others out there, but those four cover the majority of the major insurance companies on the market.
The next question is how do you get set up with those TPA’s, well you would want to contact the TPA either online or by phone and typically they’ll request certain documentation in order to get set up in their system. You generally need a certificate of liability insurance, a fax number, somewhere for them to send information, a w-9 form or a tax identification number for the IRS, and in the case of the SGC network, you probably need a photograph of your business vehicle showing the company name or logo as well.
Once you’ve submitted all that information and receive the approval, you’ll likely get a packet that will give you a shop number specifically assigned to your business. Whether you have an actual shop or not, you’ll get that shop number and a list of set rates, in most cases those prices are non-negotiable, but those are set standards from the insurance company which you’ll get paid on every invoice that you do for customers of that insurance company.
Once you’ve set up that portion of things, then the TPA can help you to do the paperwork side of things. So now let’s imagine that the customer comes to you and you’re about to go through the process of getting insurance approval, how does that work. Now that you’ve done the backend work and you’re set up through the TPAs; you’re able to bill through one of those insurance companies.
Let’s just step through the entire process. First, you would interact with the customer, asking for their insurance card. Tthe back of the insurance card will have a number for approvals. You would then call that number and speak with, in most cases, a TPA agent. Walking them through where the repair is and where the damage is to the vehicle. They may request some information about your shop number or some other information from you. In almost every case, they will require the VIN of the vehicle and any additional pertinent information. If it’s approved, then they’ll give you an authorization number, which you’ll need to include on the invoice. You’ll want to make a note of that authorization number, then complete the repair for the customer, and then you’ll submit that invoice to the TPA.
You have various ways to which you can submit your claim. Some TPAs have an online service, a fax service, in some cases an email service, or you could also use an EDI (digital processing platform). There are a couple of different EDI companies out there that charge you, per claim, to process and submit to the TPAs.
That covers how to get set up with insurance companies, first understanding that they primarily work through TPAs. Second, getting set up and approved by those TPAs. Third, understanding the steps to obtain authorization for each claim from those TPA’s. And lastly, submitting your final invoice to the TPA’s.