Have you heard this from your insurance company?
You will have to pay more if you go to the shop of your choice." Insurers make this statement to intimidate you. The insurer has to pay to have all accident related repairs completed.
"We won't warranty the repair if you go there." Ask the insurer for a copy of this "warranty" and who will do the re-repairs, remember insurers don't actually repair anything, so they can’t do warranty repairs.
"If you go to our network shop we will warranty the repairs for as long as you own the car." Insurers don't repair cars, so how can the company do a warranty repair.
"We can't give you a rental if you use them." If you have rental on your policy take advantage of it, if you are a claimant hit by someone else they have to put you into a rental vehicle.
"They won't agree with our appraiser." Appraisers are not repair professionals. Never give up your rights on a claim, you should NEVER let any repair shop negotiate and settle your claim with a person who doesn’t repair vehicles. Shops that “agree” often with appraisers are trying to remain friendly with the insurance companies. YOU are the customer; never let a “preferred” shop demote your status!
"We have had a hard time with that shop/We can’t work with that shop." Typically means the shop is reputable to the point that it refuses to cut corners and keep information from you, the vehicle owner. These are the shops consumers should “prefer”.
"They are not on our preferred list." “Preferred” means the insurance company “prefers” you use a shop that has signed an agreement to pre-negotiate your repairs by giving the insurer discounts, using inferior parts, and possibly not doing all necessary processes to repair your vehicle properly. Many of these shops will admit that the insurer is the real customer because they are “paying the bill”. That is YOUR money!
"If you go to a non-preferred shop your repair will be delayed waiting for our adjuster to inspect the vehicle." Delays are the insurer’s issue and should not be your problem. Most state insurance regulations state insurers must respond within a reasonable amount of time. This is simply another tactic to “encourage” you to use a “preferred” shop and hoping to appeal to a “microwave society” mindset.
"If you go to our shop we can pay them directly and it will be faster." Why would you want them to pay the shop? It is your money, the check should be written to you!
Remember, Direct Repair Programs (DRP) insurers have in place with “preferred” shops are not for the benefit of the consumer; they are strictly a way for the insurer to maintain control of the repairs, price fix, and keep their costs to a minimum and maximize their profits. Through these agreements, many claims are paid out at far less than what you, the insured are contractually owed. DRP shops are “graded” on how fast and cost effective the repairs are done; quality too often takes a back seat. These agreements also state the shop must pay for your “extra days” of rental if they do not have the vehicle repaired in the time the insurer thinks it should take. Ask yourself if you want your vehicle repairs potentially compromised because the shop has to rush the job, or suffer a “failing grade” and must pay for a portion of your car rental. Is this the motivation you want your repairer to use when your car is in the shop? Safe and proper repairs should be the primary motivation of all shops.
You will find that insurers are not warranting anything. While they may claim to warranty non-factory, salvaged (junkyard) and remanufactured parts, ask the insurer how they can warranty your safety in the meantime while you drive down the freeway at 70mph with junkyard suspension parts under your vehicle! A warranty is no good if you are injured, or worse.
Don’t be fooled! These phrases and others like them are used to control you through intimidation and fear. Read your policy!
Steering in Disguse
State laws prohibit insurers from forcing customers to choose a particular shop, and engaging in such conduct is called "Steering." While insurers will say they don't require vehicle owners to use particular shop, they will strongly recommend the use of a facility in the program. Vehicle owners are frequently told that they are free to select any shop, but the insurer will only guarantee work of a DRP (Direct Repair Program) facility.
Insurers Don't Actually Guarantee the Work
Under DRP arrangement, the shop is required to perform repairs in a workmanlike manner. State common law already requires this of all repair facilities regardless of them being a DRP shop. Insurers may force a DRP shop to warrantee a repair but technically, the insurer does not warranty - the repair the shop does.
What are Direct Repair Programs? A direct repair program or "DRP" is an automobile insurer's group of preferred repair shops. Shops involved in the insurer's program have a pre-negotiated contractual relationship with the insurer which can be based on many different things, not all of which are good for consumers.
DRPs Promote Insurer's Best Interests-NOT the consumer's
DRP arrangements are initiated by insurers, not body shops. To become a member of the program, repair facilities must execute an agreement which spells out obligations on the part of the repair facility, but no obligations are on the part of the insurer. Standard provisions include: repairer writing all estimates using aftermarket or salvage parts, shoulder all liability for repairs releasing the insurer from any lawsuit the customer might bring.
Advice to Customers
*Look carefully at any insurer's recommendation of a shop. If the insurer is pushing you towards a certain shop, it is for their benefit, not necessarily yours. *Remember, you are the customer in this repair contract, and you are entitled to a proper repair from the shop you select. *Do not be alarmed when insurance companies write lower estimates. Remember they are protecting their own pockets! Advise your shop.
VISIT http://www.ascky.org/ for more information.