In most instances where collision repair is required, an insurance company will be involved. These kinds of accidents can greatly affect the value of a vehicle, so they have a vested interest in the results. That is where direct repair body shops come into play. These are simply shops that work directly with insurance companies, which is why they are usually recommended by those same insurance companies. Every insurance company maintains a network of approved shops that have earned their trust.
Why Do Direct Auto Body Shops Exist?
Insurance companies have to deal with repair shops on a very frequent basis. And so, it pays to build relationships with certain trusted shops. This saves time and money on the process of vetting and verifying shops for each individual claim. When you already have a list of approved shops, you can just direct the policyholder to the nearest one.
These programs also provide financial incentives for both the insurance companies and the auto shops with whom they are partnered. The repair shop wins because they will certainly get more business. In the case of body shops, direct repair jobs can sometimes make up the majority of their work. After all, a direct referral from your insurance company is a little more convincing than a TV or internet advertisement.
At the same time, the insurance companies gain from these programs by virtue of knowing that the repairs will be done correctly the first time. This saves them money on covered repairs in the long run. When a job isn’t done right the first time, it has to be corrected, and that will often double the costs.
Do I Have To Go With A Direct Auto Body Repair Shop?
No, you always have a choice in this matter. Under the laws of most states, your insurance company cannot force you to choose their approved repair shop. They will certainly try their best to convince you, but they have no right to force the matter.
That being said, it is often a good idea to go with one of those approved shops. When you do this, you know that you are getting someone that has already been properly vetted and certified. Also, there will be a greater likelihood of your insurance company covering the repairs. Still, you should bear in mind that some smaller shops fail to get approved only because they lack the equipment/capacity that the insurance company desires. So, if you know a smaller shop that does quality work, you might save some money that way.
OEM Vs Aftermarket Parts
In many cases, insurance companies have specific rules regarding the use of aftermarket parts. When you are just replacing a cosmetic outer piece (such as a door panel), generic/aftermarket parts will usually be allowed. When it comes to the functional components of the car, however, it is likely to be another story.
Of course, your insurance company cannot force you to choose OEM parts. However, they can refuse to cover those aftermarket parts, and they can also choose to raise your rates. In some cases, if the aftermarket parts are particularly expensive, they will cover a certain amount and send you a bill for the rest.
Direct Auto Body Repair Shops Are Very Convenient
We have already talked a little bit about how the use of a direct repair shop benefits the customer/policyholder. In general, this really is the most convenient way to find a repair shop. Without some kind of guidance or recommendation, you will probably end up choosing a shop at semi-random from those that are in your area. Doing it like this is always a crap shoot, and it can sometimes take a while to find the one you prefer. Going with a recommended auto body repair shop removes the need for all that calling and vetting.
When your vehicle is out of commission, it is always going to be a huge inconvenience. The sooner you can start the repair process, the sooner you can get back on the road. Apart from the peace of mind that you get from going with a direct repair shop, you also save time and trouble. The process of dealing with the results of an auto accident is bad enough already, so this little bit of convenience goes a long way.
Although it may not always be the right choice, a direct auto body repair shop is never a bad choice. It pays to stick with the shops and companies that have proven their trustworthiness and credentials. For most insurance companies, the approval process is pretty rigorous, so you know you are getting someone who has already proven their worth. If you find yourself asking: “Hey, where is the best auto body shop near me?”, then all you have to do is call Elmer’s Auto Body at (856) 218-0202.