If you’ve ever had to file a claim with an insurance company, you might have felt undue pressure to use a specific repair shop. This practice is called steering, and is illegal. It is fairly common for insurance companies to use verbal techniques to scare customers into thinking they won’t receive payment for their claim or that it will cost more if they choose a different shop.
You should also know that some insurance companies may have ownership in the repair shop they recommend or contracted rates that are lower than other shops, which are conflicts of interest. Another reality is that some pay bonuses to employees for sending customers to specific repair shops.
As a consumer, be aware that insurance companies cannot legally tell you where to go for repairs. However, an insurance company is not required to pay more than a reasonable amount for such repairs and parts.
Here’s what you need to know about vehicle repair:
- You can choose where you want your vehicle towed and repaired. It’s the law.
- You only need one estimate to assess the damage.
- Full or partial reimbursement of vehicle rental may or not be included. Check your policy.
- Before taking the vehicle in for work, verify the insurance company pays for all covered repairs.
- Do your homework when it comes to picking a body shop, as your safety and the value of your vehicle rest on it.
- Be aware of any deadlines that might be laid out in the claims process.
- Ask as many questions as needed. Knowledge is power. More information reduces the chances of an unpleasant surprise.
The bottom line is that it’s your vehicle and that means you get to decide where you take it and the scope of work done. For the best outcome possible, make an informed, knowledgeable choice after considering all your options.
Speaking of options, we’d love to be considered for your current or future repair needs.