There are many options, so how can a person choose a body shop? Because they will speak with their insurance representative after an auto accident, many people will choose the shop recommended by their agent.
When a customer needs vehicle repairs due to an accident, insurance agents will recommend an auto body shop. It could be very costly for the client to take his vehicle to the auto shop that his representative from his insurance company has recommended. Let me explain:
If your representative from insurance directs you to a repair shop it will be part of his “direct repair” program. This program is an agreement between the insurance company and the shop. The agreement stipulates that the repair shop must fix the cars of the customers who have been sent to it by the insurance company. The insurance company must then refer their clients to the member shop.
The auto body shop must also estimate the cost of vehicle repairs using aftermarket parts. There’s more: Should a lawsuit arise from substandard vehicle repairs the body shop must agree to indemnify and assume liability.
You may wonder, “So why would I bother if the body shop fixes me car using aftermarket components?” What does this mean for me? It means “LOTS!”
Aftermarket parts are also known as replacement parts, salvage or rebuilt parts. These are parts that are made by another company than the original manufacturer or vendor. These parts are usually made in Taiwan.
These parts are typically less expensive than the parts made by the car manufacturer, which will delight your insurer. Additionally, you’ll have to pay less for claims if you use them. Unfortunately, aftermarket parts can be of lower quality than the original car parts. These parts are more likely to fail and require additional repair work. In the worst case, they can even make it unsafe to drive.
There are legal concerns if the auto repairs are not done in a proper manner. So why would a body shop want to join an insurance company’s direct repair program? They don’t want their business to go under! It’s vital for their survival. It’s a matter of survival for their business.
Let’s say you have a need for repairs and decide to go to a shop that is not in the insurance company’s network. Your insurance company may try to convince you otherwise. They may hesitate to pay for repairs or delay sending an adjustor out to inspect your vehicle.
Is this a problem? Sure. It’s worth it, even if they have to suffer the possible results.
When you need an auto body shop, be aware of your rights. Look elsewhere if the shop recommended by your agent uses aftermarket parts. If your agent says that they won’t agree to our appraiser’s findings, “We can’t work together with that shop” or “We won’t guarantee the repair when we go there”, be aware that such statements and similar statements are misleading and, at best, completely false.