Confusion abounds following an auto accident. Everything happens so quickly that it often leaves heads spinning and those involved wondering what’s next. What happened? Who was at fault? Is anyone hurt? With so many critical questions and immediate decisions to be made, the one of where to send your vehicle for repair may be very far down the list. However, it is still an important choice that can have a large impact.
The right auto body repair center will provide quality work and parts. They will be forthcoming about the condition of your car and the timeline of repair. Unfortunately, finding such a shop is often more difficult that it would seem. Many collision centers take part in Direct Repair Programs (DRPs) with insurance companies, a relationship which may benefit both the shop and the insurance provider but certainly not the client.
Following most accidents, the insurance company will provide a recommendation for a collision center. In some cases, they may even lead you to believe that this particular shop is your only choice, that your repairs will not be covered under warranty if you go elsewhere, or that the work will take longer when not completed by a DRP facility. None of these statements are accurate. Here’s why:
- Choice – By law, you have the right to choose where your vehicle is repaired. Your insurance company must cover the repairs as detailed by your policy regardless of where they are completed. While they may attempt to steer you toward a DRP shop, it is wise to be wary of these centers. As a consumer, your best bet is to do your own homework. Read reviews or ask friends and family for referrals, but certainly do not make your decision solely based on the insurance company’s recommendation.
- Warranty – You may hear from an insurance representative or adjuster that the replacement parts for your vehicle will not be covered under warranty if you do not use a DRP shop. However, what most consumers fail to realize is that it is the collision center which provides the warranty for their own work. In fact, many provide lifetime written warranties for their body repairs. Additionally, manufacturers typically guarantee their parts.
- Speed – Some claims adjusters may tell you that they can see your car more quickly and that repairs will be completed more speedily at a recommended shop. The truth is that using a DRP facility makes little to no impact on the timeliness of the repair, and any small increases in time are generally tied to the insurance company rather than the collision center.
While your insurance company may praise the many benefits of selecting their preferred collision center for your repairs, there are many concerns that you should keep in mind. These shops are not chosen for their quality work and customer service. Instead, they have committed to keeping costs for your insurance provider low. Typically, this means cutting corners and using after-market parts to complete your vehicle’s repair. Rather than trusting blindly, do some research and listen to first-hand accounts from others to determine the best option available to you.
If you are in the Baton Rouge area and have been in an accident, contact Spencer Calahan Injury Lawyers. Not only can we help you navigate the claims process and reach a fair settlement, we can also provide recommendations for auto body repair facilities that have your best interest, not that of the insurance company, in mind. Simply click here to request a consultation, or call our office at (225) 387-2323.