After a car accident, there are many things that must be attended to rather quickly. You need to contact your insurance company and the other guys' insurance company, you might need to contact your employer about missing time from work for your injuries, you need to contact doctors offices to set up appointments for your injuries and, lastly, you need to find a body shop to fix your car.
So, unless you know someone who owns a body shop or have had prior collisions and are on good terms with a body shop, you probably don’t know exactly who will do the best job on your type of vehicle. Here is where the insurance company will step in. Usually, they have a preferred body shop. Whenever the insurance company steps in as a white night to save the day, my defenses go up immediately.
There are two schools of thought on which body shop you should use after a car accident, and I will attempt to walk you through both. As you will probably guess, I will always recommend a body shop with which you are either familiar or one that I am familiar with. If the insurance companies preferred body shop is one and the same, then we have hit a grand slam. Usually, that is not the case.
Let’s start with the insurance companies body shop. They will give you a list of one, two, or three different body shops which they call preferred providers. Usually, these body shops have some type of agreement with the insurance companies. This agreement will usually be to build the insurance company directly and have access for the adjusters to get on the property and look at your car is rather quickly. Also, I have seen times where the adjuster actually has a spot at the body shop to adjust the claims as they come in. This can Be rather convenient for the consumer. Likewise, if you can get into a rental rather quickly, again, this practice can be seen as a rather convenient. It’s kind of like a one-stop-shop for all your auto body collision needs. But, is this in your best interest when it comes to fixing your car properly? In other words, who does this body shop oh it’s allegiance to: does it go with allegiance to the insurance company who is writing the check? Or, does it go with allegiance to the consumer who is the real party in interest?
Of course, the insurance company will tell you that if you do not use their preferred provider, there could be significant delays in the processing of your claim and the overall time to get the vehicle fixed. I’m here to tell you, that is ridiculous, and I don’t want you to drink their Kool-Aid.
The other school of thought is to take it to someone who is not “in bed“ with the insurance companies. I always prefer taking my car to a certain shop. I know the owners, I trust the owners, and I know they will do the best job for me. They will fight with the insurance companies to make sure that my car will receive the best parts on the market and the quality of the workmanship will be nothing short of outstanding. I know that behind the scenes, this auto body shop receives a substantial portion of its revenue from insurance companies, but, they still owe their allegiance to the consumer, not the insurance company.
All of the body shops that we work with process their claims as quickly as possible and start on the work as quickly as possible. They have no interest in keeping your car on their lot any longer than it needs to be there. However, they will not let the car leave their lot until the customer is 100% satisfied with the work that was performed. That’s the difference that you should be looking for.
There is a win-win in this decision. If one of the preferred providers on the insurance company list is also one of the providers that your attorney is recommending to you and one of the body shops that you have had prior dealings with, it is actually a win-win-win situation.