Common question car owners ask before and after a collision is: Can I take my car to ANY body repair after a collision? That question will be answered at the end of this post. The answer may even spring up at you before the end of this post.
After a collision…
After a collision, restoring your car to its pre-collision state is all you can think of. Most especially if it’s your only vehicle and one you use daily. Getting a collision insurance is before a collision is strongly advised because this is when your insurance company comes into action. Your insurance company plays a key role in the restoration of your vehicle.
Your insurance company will provide you with a list (DRP) of body repair shops. These collision repair shops are affiliated and have repair contracts with your insurer. Choosing from the list has a number of benefits for the insurance company. They have negotiations for reduced labor, material rates, and price discounts for replacement parts, resulting in a lower repair fee. There’s no problem if you choose from their direct repair shop (DRP) list. But often times, in order to cut back on the cost of repairs made by your insurer, substandard/ parts that were not made or recommended by your car’s manufacturer are used to finalize the repairs. This will lead to future car problems that are sometimes very hard to trace and will most definitely void your warranty.
If you go for a body repair shop that’s not on their list, the adjusters will try to persuade you to change your mind. What you should know is that the adjusters are only looking out for themselves. They don’t get promotions by paying you more. They will say things like “we can’t guarantee the repair if you use this shop” or “you will pay the difference from your pocket if you don’t use our repair shop”. This is called steering.
Don’t let these statements faze you. The insurance company isn’t carrying out the actual repairs, the repair shops are. You have every right to choose the one you feel is best for your vehicle. It is all up to you. It is against the law for an insurance company to compel customers to use their DRP.
However, it’s still alright to go along with the collision repair shops recommended by your insurance company. In fact, it is advantageous. There’s guarantee on the repair if you choose your insurer’s DRP. To put it simply, if you aren’t satisfied with the repairs, you can go back to your insurer and have the situation resolved. Moreover, if your preferred shop is one of your insurance company direct repair shops, it’s a win-win.
Sometimes it’s worth considering a direct repair shop if you don’t have a preferred repair shop yet. What makes choosing a DRP a pleasing option is the benefit of a lifetime guarantee. But it’s good to know that great repair shops that may not be a DRP offer lifetime guarantee.
Back to the question. Yes, you can take your car to ANY body repair shop and not necessarily the one recommended by your insurer.