Hopefully you never get into a car accident – and if you do, hopefully the damage is limited to your car and not anyone involved. For most people there will be at least once in their lifetimes when they have a collision with another vehicle that is serious enough to get insurance companies involved.
If there is a downside to not having a lot of car accidents, it is that you do not ever become really familiar with the process of getting your car repaired under insurance coverage – or what your rights are when you do.
Usually, when you have that infrequent accident and call the insurance company, you follow their instructions because you figure they have your best interests in mind.
It’s important to remember that your insurance company is in business to make a profit. They spend a lot of time in streamlining their processes to reduce how much they must pay to get your car repaired.
One of those streamlined processes is to get into business relationships with certain auto body repair shops who promise to do work for a certain price, usually lower than what other repair shops charge.
The relationship is usually called a Direct Repair Program, or DRP. Under a DRP, the insurance company pays less for every repair job. When you multiply that by the hundreds or thousands of claims they might handle monthly or yearly, it can mean substantially more profit.
There’s No ‘You’ in Profit
That drive to minimize the cost of repairs, combined with your inexperience in getting collision repairs done under your insurance coverage, causes many insurance companies to make you think you must use the repair shops that they recommend.
Here’s the Truth: your insurance company cannot force you to take your car to any particular collision repair shop.
You Have the Freedom to Choose! In fact, you should be sure to exercise that right, because there is more than increased insurance company profit at stake. DRP shops work for your insurance company. They want to keep the company happy so that they get more of the company’s insurance business. That means they must do the job as cheaply as possible. It also means that, the more corners they cut, the more money they can make while still keeping the insurance companies on side.
‘Cheap’ is not the way to do the collision repairs on any car. So exercise your freedom. Find a reputable auto body repair shop and get your car fixed properly.