Have you ever wondered exactly what happens to your car when you take it to a body shop? You take your car in to the shop, leave it there, and when you come back later, it’s good as new, right? Well, not necessarily. Your car may LOOK good as new, but is it really? Did the shop really fix everything that was wrong with your car and get it back in perfect running order? If you’re using an insurer’s preferred shop, the answer is probably no.
Say, for instance, you get rear-ended by someone at a red light. Your bumper is a little torn up, your trunk is smashed and your tail lights are broken. You contact your insurance provider and they send you to one of their preferred shops. When you take your car into the shop, they take a quick look, quote a price that you’re satisfied with and tell you that your car will be ready in a few days. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? You shake hands with the estimator and go off on your merry way. Unfortunately for you, the shop has an agreement with insurance company. That’s why your insurer sent you there in the first place. In exchange for receiving your business from the insurance company, the shop has agreed to fix your car to the insurance company’s standards. Again, unfortunately for you, the insurance company’s standards may not be what is best for you and your vehicle. As far as the insurance company is concerned, their “standards of repair” are whatever will cost them the least amount of money on your claim.
So, when the shop begins working on your car, they are doing so with your insurance company’s low-cost standards in mind. They will fix all of the obvious damage to your car and make it look new again. They’ll put on a new bumper. They’ll fix your tail lights and make sure you trunk closes again. They’ll even put on a shiny new coat of paint so your car looks like it did when you bought it. But is it really fixed? A shiny new paint job and a solid exterior look good, but your car may not actually be fixed. Simply, if there is not enough money allowed to repair the vehicle correctly, the shop will be forced to take shortcuts. While this may not be a problem now, it may become a very serious problem in the future. Many shops will work hard to cover up or hide the damage that you can’t see. Because your insurer’s preferred shop is looking to make your repair as cheap as possible, they didn’t bother to disassemble the rear of your car and look for any not-so-obvious problems. They only fixed the obvious cosmetic damage and left any underlying problems undiscovered. This can be a serious detriment not only to your vehicle, but to your safety and that of your family while further diminishing the value of your vehicle.
So if you’re in an accident and your insurer tells you to go to a certain shop, consider why. Just remember that your insurer is sending you there for a reason and that reason may not be in your best interest. Find out everything you can about a shop and its repair process. Make sure they repair your vehicle properly before you get back on the road.