Insurance Companies and Preferred Providers
After the dust settles from your car accident, it's time to get your car fixed. More often than not, your insurance company will provide you with a list of auto-body shops they prefer to work with for repairs.
We'll help you understand the pros and cons of using insurance company sponsored body shops – otherwise know as preferred service providers – and how it can affect your car repair experience.
Preferred Service Providers and Insurance Companies
There are two options when you're ready to repair your car after an accident. You can go through your own insurance company, which can be easy and relatively hassle free. However, you may be responsible for paying your deductible. There's a chance you could be reimbursed later, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
You also have the option of pursuing the claim through the other driver's insurance company. This can help you avoid paying your deductible, but may cause other headaches and take longer to get your car repaired. Remember, they have their own bottom line to look after. They generally won't look out for your best interests if it means costing them a few extra bucks.
Your insurance company will present you with a list of auto body shops. These businesses are considered "preferred providers" and offer discounts to the insurance company.
The Pros of Using a Preferred Provider
- Convenient – Typically, these shops will be located near you, with a few to choose from, and will have past experience dealing with the insurance company. This can help move the process along faster, so they can get to work on your car.
- Fast Turnaround – Since the body shop has a relationship with the insurer, they'll be able to start and complete the job faster than other shops. This means you get your car back sooner than you may from other mechanics.
- Prices are Set – You won't have negotiate with the insurance company to cover the difference between your bill and their "fixed rates." The body shop will create their bill to the insurance company's agreed standards.
- Accredited Mechanics – Generally, insurance companies only use certified, insured body shops for their work. This means that you can be assured that the mechanics are accredited and have been approved by the insurer.
The Cons of Using a Preferred Provider
- Generic/Salvaged Parts – Because the body shop is trying to compete for the insurance company's business, they will try to keep their costs as low as possible. This means they may use generic or salvaged parts instead of original equipment manufactured (OEM) parts. Traditionally, these are considered lower quality parts than OEMs.
- Fast Turnaround – Because the repair industry is so heavily dependent on insurance claims for business, they may want to get you out the door as quickly as possible. They'll want to be able to handle the next claim that comes along, which means they spend less time examining possible damage to your car.
- Adjuster/Mechanic Relationship – In many cases, we've seen insurance adjusters recommend mechanics based on personal relationships. This can be problematic, because the body shop needs to be on your side. If they're close with your adjust, they probably won't consider your best interests as they'll want to keep the business coming.
- Relying on the Insurer – When you use a preferred provider, you are relying on the insurance company to protect your best interests. At the end of the day, they are a business looking to make money. When you remember that simple fact, you'll be able to understand they may not be concerned about what's best for you.
Using the Mechanic of Your Choice
It's always an option to use a mechanic you know and trust. This may delay the process of getting your car fixed, as the insurance company will likely send an adjuster to provide his or her own estimate.
They'll compare their estimate to the mechanic's estimate and may ask you to pay the difference in cost. You may have to play "hard ball" to cover all the costs with the insurance company, but you'll have peace of mind from using a mechanic you trust.
If You've Been Injured in a Car Accident, We're Here to Help
We hope your car is the only thing that needs to be fixed after an accident. But if you've been injured in a crash, contact our legal professionals for a free legal consultation. We'll answer your questions and determine if you have a case for compensation.
Call us at 412-394-1000 or simply complete the form in the top right corner for your free case review. There's no fee to speak with us, and there's no obligation to use our services.