What should you do when your insurance agent recommends an auto body shop when you file an accident claim? Is it worth following their advice? This recommended shop is probably part of a network of direct repair shops. These businesses meet the insurance company’s requirements for claim filing and warranties, and they have a reputation for reliability. Here’s what you need to know about these shops and why you should or shouldn’t use them.
What is a Direct Repair Shop?
The first direct repair programs began in the late 70s and became a prominent part of insurance marketing in the late 90s. There are three main reasons these programs were established:
– It directs policyholders toward shops that will cause minimal problems with repairs and paperwork.
– The program helps build relationships between insurance companies and repair shops.
– It simplifies paperwork and reduces delays for all parties involved.
No one deals with body shops more than insurance agents.
Why Do Shops Sign Up with These Programs?
Participating shops get referrals, which help drive their business. For shops that concentrate on collision repair, direct repair referrals can make up the bulk of their jobs. Customers may or may not see a TV or Internet ad, but they always talk to their insurance agent.
Partnering with insurance companies also helps shops get the support they need to file claims that will be approved. By consistently working with the same people and the same claims office, it saves the shop time with paperwork, saving money and getting cars back to customers faster.
Does this Just Cut Costs for the Insurance Company?
Yes, but not in the way that you think.
Cutting corners on repairs now increases the likelihood that the insurance company will have to pay out more the next time the car is in an accident, either through increased damage costs or greater likelihood that the vehicle will be totaled. They have a financial incentive to make sure the repairs are done right.
To become a direct repair shop, body and auto repair shops go through a certification process. This includes proving that they consistently deliver quality repairs, they’ll back their work, and they know how to work with the company on insurance claims. This saves the insurance company money, and it means you’ll get your car back sooner with minimal worries. In other words, you’re usually safe going with a direct repair shop.
If a Shop Isn’t Recommended, Should I Avoid It?
Not necessarily. Some direct repair programs are very strict, requiring extra services like free pickup and delivery, no matter the distance. Smaller repair shops may not have the resources to fulfill every requirement, even though they do quality work. Direct repair programs also aren’t always nationwide, so there may be no approved shop nearby. There are also different laws on how these programs are handled. In some states, all qualifying shops must be approved, while in other states, the insurance company can limit the number of participating shops.
Do I Have to Use the Shop My Insurance Company Recommends?
No. Under Wisconsin state law, you can get estimates and have work done by any body shop you choose. There are several reasons you may want to go with a shop outside of your insurance’s recommendations:
– You know the shop does good work, or the business was recommended to you.
– The location is more convenient.
– The shop has experience with your vehicle.
– The shop offers services you need, like a loaner vehicle.
Go with the Shop Trusted by Customers and Insurance Companies
If you need professional collision repair for your car, come see why Merton Auto Body has been Lake Country’s favorite body shop for over 70 years. We’re able to deliver top-quality repairs and quick service that insurance providers and customers demand. In fact, we’re probably part of your insurance company’s direct repair program. We also have an on-staff appraiser to handle the paperwork, so your car will be repaired quickly whether you were recommended to us by your agent or a friend. Our shop is just south of Silver Spring Drive in Merton, close to Delafield, Pewaukee, Lisbon, and North Lake.