After a crash, you might not be thinking about where you should go or if the auto body shop your insurance company recommends is decent. You just want things to return to normal. That is understandable. When your car is damaged and in need of repair, the insurance company will tell you that they can cover the expenses and will direct you to an approved mechanic. Unthinkingly, you may just go along with it—until you wake up in the middle of the night wondering, “Should I use my insurance company’s auto repair shop? Do I have to?”
The approved mechanic is sometimes referred to as “within the insurer’s network” or “direct repair shops (DRPs).” Insurance providers want you to visit these mechanics because the service will be faster and cheaper for them—but not always for you.
So, choosing whether to use the insurance company’s auto repair shop comes with some consideration. Let’s have a look at some things to keep in mind when selecting the right body shop.
Know Your Rights
Your insurance company may try to pressure you a bit into selecting their auto body shop. Fortunately, auto insurance is not as limited as health insurance, and you can freely choose whichever body shop you want. That also means the insurance company has to reimburse the body shop, even if you do not use the recommended one.
Be prepared for some resistance. The insurance company may say, “The repairs will not be as quick if you go somewhere else.”
Speedy repairs are not always the best repairs. You want repairs that are thorough and accurate, not sloppy. If a mechanic is going to race through the repairs just to appease the insurance company, there could be issues that go undiscovered and wind up causing trouble later on. You don’t want that.
So, remember, no matter what the insurance company tells you—that you have to use a DRP, that they can’t guarantee the repairs or warranties—it doesn’t matter. You have a right to choose where you are taking your vehicle. Period.
Advantages of Using a Body Shop Recommended By The Insurance Company
There are some pluses to going along with the choice of your insurer, such as:
Most insurance companies have a network of DRP shops throughout the nation. So, if your vehicle happens to get into an accident in another state, the recommended company is a good choice. In the event that you go to an out of network auto body shop, you may have to return to it, even if it is a far distance away.
If you want your repairs done fast, then the body shop your insurance company asks you to use is going to be a great choice. As mentioned earlier, the relationship between the body shop and the insurer means that they are committed to speedy service. The check for the repairs goes straight to the shop, so you don’t even have to worry about it.
In addition to faster repairs, you can glide past the process of filling out paperwork. Typically, insurance companies will guarantee any workmanship and will handle things for you if anything happens in the future. Going out of network means having to deal with any warranty claims or issues for poor workmanship alone.
Disadvantages of an Insurance Company Recommended Body Shop
Going with the insurance provider’s recommendations is not always a great plan. Sure, the recommended body shop is going to get your vehicle back to you sooner, but they may not find every single problem. This leads to downsides, including:
You may already have a local auto body shop that does your servicing. Go to them. Otherwise, the repairs will be done by a mechanic that you don’t know—and they don’t know your vehicle.
Did you know that the provider-recommended shop may downplay the damages to your vehicle in an attempt to lower the repair cost? You are going to have to negotiate with the insurance company and the mechanic in order to get the repairs that your car needs.
Unless you want the most cost-effective route for repair, then going to the recommended auto body shop is not the way to go. Because the relationship is based on incentives, the auto body shop will cut corners and receive salvaged or aftermarket car parts instead of OEM. Always go with a reputable mechanic who does not compromise on quality.
Choosing Your Repair Parts and Facility
Many vehicles today have been constructed with highly advanced equipment and need to be repaired with the same level of quality that they came from the factory with. This is known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS. When a newer car model is repaired, you will want to receive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts to ensure everything fits and functions properly.
For some time now, insurance companies have debated with auto body shops about the need for OEM parts during repairs, since OEM is often more expensive than aftermarket or salvaged pieces. Insurance companies prefer salvaged parts from the junkyard. Check your insurance policy to see if they allow for you to receive OEM.
In the event you plan on bypassing your insurance provider’s recommendation, be sure to choose a top-quality auto body shop near you. Look for a shop with technicians that are highly qualified and have certifications like I-CAR. OEM qualifications are also reassuring.
Choose Elmer’s Auto Body
You want an auto body shop that is going to repair your car to perfect condition, not something sub-par. That is why you should choose a place that will honor your wishes and get you exactly what you need for the repairs. At Elmer’s Auto Body, we have a team that is proud to serve you. Our technicians have received coveted certifications with I-CAR and OEM providers, ensuring that every service and repair is thorough and precise.
Plus, we promise to work with your insurance company to make the process as stress-free as possible. We will even help you get a rental car if needed. Call us or fill out the contact form to receive a quote or learn more about how we can help.