Should you use a repair shop that your insurance company recommends?

Should you use a repair shop that your insurance company recommends?

Car accidents are never a good thing. Even fender benders create a maelstrom of headaches. At best, an accident leaves your car with a dent and an insurance claim. Much worse circumstances involve serious injury and perhaps total vehicle damage. The most important thing is you and any passengers walk away free from injury and if only the vehicle is damaged, it is very important to quickly locate a reputable repair shop.

Searching for a repair shop you can trust is a significant chore in its own right and your insurance company might graciously offer to help by suggesting a few providers from their go-to list. You want to get the car fixed as fast as possible and get back on the road, so it’s tempting to just choose a shop from the list and be done with it. But is that always the best strategy?

Buyer beware

You’ve likely heard or read something from your insurance company claiming they thoroughly investigate third party auto repair companies to ensure the best quality work at a reasonable cost. You might even receive a guarantee from your carrier for any work completed by preferred shops.

Sounds great but remember that although a recommended shop may indeed do wonderful work, they have an existing relationship with your insurance company. This is one way your carrier keeps control of its costs and in general you are better off finding your own repair shop. Shop around, look for reviews, or stick with the local mechanic you’ve used for years.

The unfortunate reality is that repair shops closely affiliated with insurance carriers are sometimes more concerned with what they are charging a carrier than doing quality work on your car. However, this isn’t always the case and it is best to do your homework ahead of time.

How to choose the best repair shop

If you set out to find your own car repair service, follow these tips to make the process as seamless as possible:

Solicit recommendations

Friends and family members are excellent resources for shops that do quality, reliable work.

Get second opinions

The best way to be sure of the scope of work required is with estimates from several shops. Don’t skip this step; it’s well worth the time.

Follow your instincts

If you’re uncomfortable with a shop for any reason, don’t use it. Period. There are plenty of other shops in town. Find one you can trust.

For more information on insurance-recommended auto body repair, contact Central Auto Body at (503) 894-9500 or