Have you heard of an illegal auto insurance tactic called “steering?” If not, you’re at risk of falling victim to it.
Steering is the practice of pushing customers or insured parties toward a certain repair shop. Insurance companies may do this for a variety of reasons but usually the idea is to save money, sometimes at the cost of a safe repair.
First, Know Your Rights.
You always have the right to choose where to have your car repaired. You can have as much of a say in that repair as you want to.
Any insurance company that tries to tell you otherwise is lying, and that lie is illegal.
Your Auto Insurance Company Recommends a Repair Shop – but you Haven’t Asked for a Recommendation
If your auto insurance company is recommending a specific repair shop to you when you haven’t asked for a recommendation, be wary.
You have the right to choose your own repair shop. Your insurance company’s motivation for recommending a specific shop may not be in your best interest.
Your Insurance Company says it Can Only Guarantee the Repair Work at a Specific Shop
In reality, your insurance company never guarantees the work done by an auto body shop – the shop does. The only way an insurance company could “guarantee” the work is through a contract that forces the repair shop to stand by its work, which usually means there is a DRP agreement in place.
If you choose to work with a Direct Repair Shop (DRP) make sure you know what your repair entails.
Your Insurance Company Asks for Additional Fees to Work with Your Repair Shop of Choice
The amount of money you owe your insurance company is set in your policy. If you’re in an accident and the repairs are covered under your policy, your insurance company has to cover those costs at whatever repair shop you choose to use.
Keep in mind that the cost of parts and labor can vary depending on the repair shop you choose, so your money may go farther at one repair shop than another. But, just because your insurance company recommends a shop that seems less expensive, it doesn’t mean that both repairs, or both shops, are equal.
Remember that your deductible is set in your policy as well. Your insurance company is only responsible for payments up to the limit set in your policy.
Your Insurance Company Tries to Regulate the Kinds of Parts and Suppliers Your Repair Shop Can Use
One of the most important decisions you can make with your repair shop is what kinds of repair parts to use. This is also one of the choices that working with a DRP or following your insurance company’s recommendation can take away from you.
Don’t be afraid to ask your repair technician about recycled, OEM, and aftermarket parts.