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I took my vehicle in for repairs and while at the shop they had an accident and pipes fell on my vehicle. I now have three quotes to get it repaired. I also have three quotes for a rental car . The repair shop is now giving me a hard time and wants me to go to a backyard body shop that does work for them . I don't feel comfortable taking it there. What can I do ? - Jeremie, Ontario

If only Yelp warned of disaster-prone repair shops: "Convenient location, free coffee, but pipes tend to fall on your car."

Your insurance company should cover the cost to fix damage - and the cost of the rental car. But only if you'd bought comprehensive or all-perils insurance.

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"The key for the consumer whose car was damaged is to report the claim to their insurer, providing as much detail as possible as to how the damage occurred and ideally a note from the shop accepting responsibility, along with the insurance policy details for the repair shop's insurer," said Pete Karageorgos, manager of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Comprehensive and all-peril coverage are optional. Both include, among other things, explosions, riots, falling or flying objects, missiles and vandalism. Damage from tree branches, pipes, runaway shopping carts, keys to your door - that should all be covered.

Comprehensive and all-perils claims could still cause a hike to your insurance rate, Karageorgos said. But, your rates shouldn't go up as long as the garage or its insurance company pays back your insurance company for the repairs.

"Given that the innocent person's comprehensive claim, once settled will be presented to the repair shop insurer for reimbursement and the payment is made, it likely will not impact the car owner's insurance rating," Karageorgos said.

You'll have to shell out for the deductible, but you'll get that back too - if the shop pays your insurance company.

It's called subrogation, a scary-sounding word that just means your insurance company tries to make the other guy's insurance company pay for things.

And, you shouldn't have to take your car anywhere you don't want to.

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"The car owner can take his car to whatever body shop he chooses," said Evan Kelly, senior communications advisor with the Better Business Bureau. "The mechanic should have insurance that covers this sort of thing which should include the cost of a rental."

Other options

The shop's insurance will only cover the accident if they purchased optional comprehensive or all perils coverage, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario said in an email statement. If they do have that coverage, their insurance should be able to handle the claim without you going through your insurer, FSCO said.

If you don't have insurance coverage and the shop - or its insurance company - won't pay for your repairs, you could sue the shop in small claims court, said London, Ont. lawyer Andrew Murray.

"Almost nobody does that," said Murray, a partner with Lerners LLP. "I've done it once where I acted for an anesthesiologist who had a nice car and drove into an enormous hole in the road that caused $12,000 in damage."

Fees start at $75 to file the case. You should be able to represent yourself, Murray said. If you get a lawyer, it could be pricey, Murray said.

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"Before you turn around, it will cost you a couple thousand as a minimum," Murray said. "You might be able to recoup some of that if the suit's successful."

Could you file a complaint under Ontario's Consumer Protection Act? Probably not successfully, said Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

"The Consumer Protection Act stipulates the rights and responsibilities as they relate to the work that's agreed to, in this case car repair services," said ministry spokeswoman Anne-Marie Flanagan. "Ultimately, other areas of law might speak to the damage that may occur - we would recommend the consumer contact their insurance company and/or a legal professional."

You can also complain to your local Better Business Bureau - but Kelly said that might be difficult right now.

"There really isn't much to hang a complaint on at this point," Kelly said in an e-mail. "Not sure what the complaint would be other than 'he's giving me a hard time.'"

If you decide to take the car to a different body shop and the repair shop refuses, then you may have grounds to make a complaint, Kelly said.

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An unresolved complaint won't guarantee that you'll get your money — it will just affect the shop's BBB score.

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com. Canada's pretty big, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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