3 Things Car Owners Should Know about Insurance Preferred Repair Shops
When you’re in an accident, you already have so much on your plate. The last thing you want to worry about is finding the right collision repair shop to take your car to. So, you ask your insurance company, which quickly suggests a few “preferred” repair shops.
Before jumping into bed with a preferred repair shop, here are three things you should now about the Direct Repair Programs (DRPs), or agreements between insurance companies and repair shops in their program.
Just because a shop is “preferred” by your insurance company does not mean you have to use them.
As a consumer, you ALWAYS have the legal right to choose your own collision repair shop. No matter what your insurance company says, you do not have to use their recommended shop.
This report by the Romans Group says, “By law, insurers cannot restrict a customer from using other shops, but many shops complain insurers still exert undo pressure on customers”
Preferred repair shops have to meet certain requirements to be recommended by the insurance company.
These requirements vary from insurance provider to provider.
Some of them place limits on what the collision shop can charge for labor. This sounds great at first – you’re saving money! But in the long run, it can result in repair shops taking shortcuts to afford the insurance company rates. Cutting corners is never good when it comes to consumer safety!
Repair shops may also be required to use aftermarket parts instead of parts made by the manufacturer who produced your original car parts. Keep in mind that aftermarket parts are not inherently bad, but depending on your situation, OEM parts, aftermarket parts, and recycled parts all have their benefits and drawbacks. The choice should be yours, not the insurance provider’s.
The insurance company doesn’t guarantee your repair – the collision shop does.
If your insurance company tells you that they cannot offer you a warranty on parts or repairs performed by repair shops that are not in their network, take it with a grain of salt. If a warranty is important to you, talk directly to your repair shop of choice, not to your insurance company. They’re the ones providing it.