When you’ve been in a car accident, you’ll usually get your car repairs paid for by insurance—typically by the at-fault driver’s policy. And the insurance company will always have a specific auto body shop, or list of shops, that they want you to go to. But should you use the one they recommend?
It’s up to you. You are not required to use the auto body shop that the insurance company recommends. Doing so may mean less hassle, but choosing your own auto shop also comes with advantages. In the end, the insurer has an obligation to pay for your repairs either way.
The “Pros” and Cons of Using the Insurance Company’s Recommended Auto Shop
There are two main reasons why you as a car owner might want to choose an auto body shop yourself:
- You have an existing relationship with a local mechanic or shop, and you want to use that one
- You don’t trust the insurer’s auto body shop to truly have your best interests at heart
These are both good reasons to take your car to the shop of your choosing, and you have a right to do so.
On the other hand, the insurance company may try to convince you that their auto body shop is a better choice. They will usually give you reasons such as:
- Time saved: They can rapidly approve you for repairs at their trusted shop, and it may take time to get an adjuster out if you go somewhere else.
- Quality: Their preferred shop meets all of their quality and training guidelines.
- Lifetime Warranty: They have negotiated a lifetime warranty for work done at their preferred auto body specialist—which helps protect you.
But are these benefits really as important as they say?
Why the Insurance Company Really Wants You to Use Their Auto Body Shop
We all know that insurance companies’ main goal is to make money. And one way they do that is by negotiating discounts on parts and labor with their preferred auto body shops. In other words, these shops are chosen not just on the quality of work they do, but for how much money they save the insurer. It’s that simple.
Because of this, your claims representative has a quota to meet. They need to get a percentage of their claims to use the preferred auto shop. If they don’t, they risk discipline. That is why your claims agent is so persuasive about getting you to use an approved shop.
As for the advantages of the preferred shop, they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be:
- Many reputable body shops will offer a lifetime warranty on their work. Ask your shop when you call.
- All auto shops have an interest in getting your business as quickly as possible. They know the local adjustors for every insurance company, and you can bet they will call your adjustor and expedite the estimate so they can get to work.
In other words, it may not save you much time at all—or improve the quality of the repair—by choosing the “recommended” auto shop. It’s just the most hassle-free option.
Here’s our recommendation:
- If you have a mechanic you know and trust, go with them. The insurance company still has to pay for your repair.
- Otherwise, ask the insurer for 3 or 4 preferred shops locally. Then go with the one with the best reviews. Doing so will save you a small amount of hassle arguing with the insurance representative, and you might get your car back slightly faster.
And remember: you may be able to get your rental car paid for, too.
Get Help Dealing with the Insurance Company
Dealing with insurance companies and their representatives is never fun, but you don’t have to do it alone. A good car accident lawyer can make a substantial difference in your case—and how much money you get. Car accident victims with lawyers will often face less hassle, waste less time fighting for their claim, and recover a larger amount in damages.
Let us give you a free consultation. We have 20 years of experience winning cases, and we charge nothing if we don’t get you money. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your FREE consultation today.