Uh oh. Either through your fault or through the fault of someone else, you’ve been in an automobile accident. Luckily, you have insurance and when you call your broker he says everything should be covered, however, he recommends you visit an insurer approved auto shop.
Automobile repairs are a very large expense for any insurance company. Because the repairs are so pricey, insurance companies will suggest you use their selected partners for claims. There are a few reasons for this:
Because insurance companies frequently work with their auto shop partners, they can often negotiate lower prices on repairs. Although you might not care about this point right now, lower repair bills mean greater savings for the insurers, which can be passed on to consumers.
An insurance company that sends hundreds of vehicles to an auto shop each year would, logically, get the royal treatment. This often includes priority service on things like cost estimates and repairs because the auto shop doesn’t want to upset the insurance company, or the driver who might chose to bring his car to a different insurer approved auto shop.
Finally, by choosing an insurer approved auto shop, you can rest assured that the company is reputable, certified and has good customer service. Everyone’s heard horror stories about visiting mechanics who do the bare minimum and never return phone calls. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, auto body shops take great care to make sure they don’t upset the insurance companies that send them big business every year—this includes making sure they offer stellar service to customers.
Although insurance companies recommend you bring your vehicle to an insurer approved auto shop, this is not a requirement. You can choose any auto shop you choose, but you will still need to get a cost estimate and provide it to your insurance company before repairs can begin.
Always choose a reputable auto shop—either by reading reviews online or getting a recommendation from someone you know and trust. You’ll want to find a shop that provides a lifetime warranty on the repairs, has been in business for a good number of years and offers excellent customer service.
Regardless of whether you visit an insurer approved auto body shop or not, you should be aware that the insurance company retains the right to replace your vehicle instead of repairing it. Replacing your vehicle—or “writing it off”—means the insurance company believes that the cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds its value. Rather than pay to have it fixed, your insurance company will issue a cheque for the value of the vehicle.
Getting into an accident is never fun. Although you likely have collision insurance, getting your vehicle repaired can sometimes mean jumping through a series of hoops. One example is insurer approved auto shops, which, as their name implies, are auto repair shops which your insurance company has pre-approved for repairs.