Do You Have to Use the Body Shop Your Insurance Recommends?

If you find yourself in a collision or accident, you’ll need to call your insurance company to help you figure out what comes next. This usually means taking down a comprehensive accident report, calling in a tow truck, and sending your vehicle to a body shop for repairs.

Your insurance company is going to have a “recommended service provider” that they will want to send your car to. They usually have an agreement with these “preferred” body shops, so the body shop will complete the repairs at a much lower cost to the insurance company. However, if you have a body shop you’re familiar with, you may not want to go with the one recommended by the insurance company.

According to California State Law, your insurance company is not able to force you to choose a specific body shop. They are legally allowed to make recommendations and even “pressure” you into choosing the body shop they want to work with, but you are allowed by California law to opt for a different body shop.

You may be wondering, “Why not go with the insurance company’s recommended body shop? Surely the insurance company would choose a body shop that does a good job, even if the service is provided at a lower cost.”

Well, one thing that our experts at Network Auto Body have found is that many of the insurance companies’ recommended body shops take shortcuts and often do a less-than-quality job for two reasons:

  1. They have to meet the insurance company’s deadline. The insurance company will pressure them to get the car repaired as quickly as possible, often decreasing the payment to the body shop if the deadline isn’t met. This may lead to poor quality repairs, as the mechanics and body specialists try to work quickly without doing a fully detailed examination to discover ALL the problems resulting from the collision.
  2. They’re trying to keep costs low. The fact that the insurance company is paying lower-than-average fees to the body shop means the mechanics and body specialists will be getting paid less for their time. The body shop may try to offset this low payment by using aftermarket or third-party manufacturer parts, which are cheaper than the Original Equipment Manufacturer parts.

The good news is that you have total control over which body shop you want to work with, and your insurance company will have to go with your choice. You are protected by California State Laws, meaning you are the one who decides where to take your vehicle for repairs!