The hail storm has passed through, and you go out to your car to survey its condition. Unfortunately, there are significant dents in your vehicle, and you call your insurance company to report the hail damage. They tell you where you should go to have the dents removed and your car restored to good shape. Does the car insurance company have the right to choose the repairer that works on your vehicle?
The good news is that, despite your car insurance company’s suggestions, you have the right to choose any repairer you would like to make your auto repairs. Let's look at why insurers even make recommendations -- and why those recommendations might not be in your best interest.
Why Do Insurers Prefer Certain Auto Repair and Hail Damage Repair Shops?
It's all about what's best for the insurance company. Most companies have contracts with body shops to provide services at reduced rates. The insurance adjuster tells you to use a specific shop not because they're the best or most professional dent repair shop, but because they're the least expensive.
That means that materials and parts might not be of the highest quality, and repair experts may be crunched for time to get your car finished in the time allotted. Instead of being attentive to you, the body shop administrators are working for their partner, the insurance company, and doing what they can to sandwich repairs into the designated time or cost that the insurer wants to pay. You could end up with lower quality repairs in order to satisfy the insurance company's edicts on how long repairs should take and what they should cost.
While this may not always be the case, it’s important that you don’t just rely on your car insurance suggestion and take advantage of your right to choose the repairer that fits best with your expectations.
What Should You Look for in an Auto Body Repair Shop?
When you're trying to find the best quality shop to fix those dings and dents caused by hail, you want to know that the shops you're considering are going to do a great job. For professional dent repair, there are a couple things you should look for:
Willingness to work with your car insurance company even when you choose that shop as your repairer instead of their suggestion: At AAHail, for example, we wash every vehicle when it's first brought in and then light and mark every dent. This makes it simple for the insurance adjuster to see the damage as soon as they get into our auto hail center. At a professional dent repair shop, employees go over each dent and show the documented sizes to the adjuster to make his or her job easier. This attention to detail means that a dent won't get overlooked.
Ability to provide warranties: You're looking for a shop that will provide a warranty for their work and use dealership approved, brand new parts that are checked for quality. If anything goes wrong with your vehicle, the shop you choose should stand behind their work and make additional repairs or replace parts until your vehicle is made whole again.
What if My Insurance Representative Tries to Stop Me from Using My Own Choice of Repair Shop?
Most insurance claims reps are geared toward getting you to use their partner shops, so they'll do just about anything to dissuade you from going against your car insurance recommendations and choosing a different repairer. They may even have quotas of how many clients they need to send to the shops they hold a contract with. You might hear that it's less efficient to use a company that's not on the insurer's list or even that you won't get a reasonable warranty if you go to your own repair shop. That's not true.
In their zeal to have you use the company that they are incentivized to have you work with, some insurance claims adjusters go a bit overboard. You always have the right to (politely, please!) question them. And of course, you always have the freedom regardless of your car insurance company to choose which repair shop you'll be using to make hail damage repairs to your vehicle. A professional dent repair shop will always work with any insurance company to meet your needs.
Is Local Important When Choosing an Auto Body Repair Shop?
One concern with using your insurer's choice of body shop is that insurance companies often sign contracts to refer to the larger chains of repair places and ignore the good, local mechanics and body repair experts. Local is almost always preferable to a big chain, because they have to focus on service in order to stay afloat. Attention to detail and high quality are often marks of a good, local shop. Ask any shop you're considering providing references or reviews of their work.
If you need hail damage repaired on your vehicle, your car insurance company may point you to a different shop. However, you have the right to choose who will make those repairs. Choose AAHail, the local leader in the Denver and Fort Collins areas for professional dent repair on all types of vehicles. We've provided high quality repairs for more than 2,000 satisfied clients since we opened in summer 2014, and we're ready to go the extra mile to earn your business.