Preferred Body Shops; Why You Should Choose One for Your Repairs

A "preferred body shops" program is offered by most automobile insurance carriers. It might alternatively be called a “direct repair shop” program, depending upon the company that you are working with. When faced with the decision about where to have your accident-related damages repaired, you may already have a body shop in mind. It may be one that you have worked with in the past and want to work with again, and that is okay.

It would be ideal if your shop is on the list of “preferred body shops” recommended by the insurance company that you are making your claim against. If it is not, you should at least consider one of the insurance company’s “preferred body shops”. These shops are good enough to make major insurance companies agree to link their reputations to the shop’s reputation, quality of work and customer service. Many adjusters even have their own vehicles repaired at these shops if the need arises.

Most body shops of any repute offer some sort of guarantee on their repair work. That is great unless the body shop goes out of business. That could happen for any number of reasons, especially in this economy. Then the guarantee is worthless. If you choose to use a “preferred” body shop recommended by the insurance company, not only will you get a guarantee from the shop, but the insurance company remains responsible for the guarantee even if anything happens to the shop. It could take years for evidence of unsatisfactory repairs to surface, especially as many people are holding onto their cars for longer now.

Another thing to consider is that if you are working with the insurance company’s preferred body shop, that insurance company becomes an ally and a scapegoat if repairs on your vehicle are not going as well or as quickly as anticipated. The insurance company will be your middle man and deal with any shop delays or unsatisfactory repairs for you.

For example, you might find that the body shop repairing your vehicle is slow or does not return your calls, so you complain to the insurance company. If you have chosen a shop not on the “preferred” list, the insurance company will probably tell you that there is nothing they can do, and rightfully so; the insurance company has no influence over that body shop. However, if the shop is “preferred”, then the insurance company will get involved and will be able to do something. The shop will need to satisfy you, the customer, within reason in order to remain in the insurance company’s “preferred” standing.

The insurance company should also allow you to remain in the rental car as long as your vehicle is in the “preferred” shop, so long as any delays are not your fault (for example, you refused to let repair work begin). If you do choose a body shop that is not “preferred” and any problems arise such as poor quality of repairs, you are on your own.

Ask the insurance company representative for their “preferred” body shop guarantee in writing. He or she should be eager to provide it, as well as the list of preferred body shops for you to choose from.

“Friends”, acquaintances or fear-mongers may try to tell you that the insurance company’s preferred body shop will try to cut corners or make you take after-market parts. The quality of after-market parts aside, the fact is that no one can make you accept after-market parts if you don’t want them. Some body shops advertise that they are not “preferred” by any insurance companies. After learning what you just have, does that really inspire your confidence?

This article is written for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.



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What To Do When You Have Been Involved In An Accident

What is an Insurance Lienholder?

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