Do you have to use the body shop that your insurance company recommends after a collision?

Do you have to use the body shop that your insurance company recommends after a collision?

In short – no, you do not! Most insurance companies will have repair contracts with local body shops. This means that the insurance company will benefit from you using that body shop in the form of lower labour and material rates, along with possible parts discounts. You will benefit from the fact that the body shop will have had to have met the insurance company’s equipment and training requirements, along with providing a lifetime warranty. Any reputable body shop however, will provide a lifetime warranty – no matter who is paying the bill.

Using the insurance company’s recommended body shop may seem to speed things along, as some claims representatives may try to dissuade you from using one of your own choosing. Some frequently used arguments from insurance companies are that it may take longer to process your claim, that they will not be able to handle it efficiently, or that they will not provide a warranty on the repairs if you have the repairs completed at a body shop that is not on their list. Body shops are familiar with claims processes, making it easy to complete the estimate and repairs quickly and efficiently.

The most important part of any process after a collision or submitting an insurance claim is to choose a reputable body shop to do the repairs to your vehicle. You must have confidence in the company completing your repairs, whether they are on the recommended list from your insurance company or not. Do your research, ask your friends and family for recommendations, and look for reviews as well as complaints online. Toyota owners should look for a body shop that is factory approved by Toyota, many body shops can complete the work necessary but few are certified by Toyota. Be proactive and know your insurance policy, what it covers and what it does not cover. Some people believe that they have “full coverage” only to find out after a collision that their insurance company will not even cover the cost of a rental car while repairs are being made, let alone the necessary repairs to your damaged vehicle.

Some people take on the mentality of “well it’s the insurance company paying for it, it’s their money so they should make the decisions” – NOT SO! It is YOUR money that they are spending to make the repairs to your vehicle. When you pay your insurance premiums every month, or in one lump sum each year, that is the money that the insurance company uses to pay for repairs. YOU are the one who should be making the decisions that you are comfortable with to ensure the safe repair of your vehicle, so do not take a backseat if you are ever in that situation.

Always remember that you have options when it comes to choosing a body shop for repairs to your vehicle, whether you choose to go with one recommended by your insurance company or one you choose on your own.