Do I have to use the repair shop my car insurance company sends me to?
Your insurance company might ask you to use their preferred shop after a car accident and if they do then the insurance company must guarantee their work and assess no extra cost to you but in general, no, it is your property and you can have it fixed wherever you like. However, if there is a difference in cost between the insurance company’s shop and yours then they will probably only give you that much (their company’s) to repair the car.
Some valid reasons to fight their choice of shop.
- You already have a preferred shop
- The shop the insurer sent you to is somewhere inconvenient for you to go
- You are worried there might be a conflict of interest
You can always get estimates from multiple shops and if you come up with some concrete evidence that their shop is being dishonest then you can calmly call and discuss the matter with them. However, Bressman Law recommends accident victims to avoid negotiating directly with an insurance company.
Finding a Reputable Repair Shop
There are a couple of things you should look for when deciding on an auto body shop to have your car fixed. Here are a few tips.
- Get recommendations from friends, family and coworkers.
- Make sure the shop and the techs are licensed. You should see certifications on the wall in the shop office. Awards and plaques for community involvement and industry organizations are added bonuses.
- Inquire about their warranty for their work and parts. Also, ask about their turnaround time. They should be able to provide you with clear answers.
- Check the Better Business Bureau to look for their ratings and any complaints.
- Check their Facebook page. Are they active and professional? Are there any customer reviews? Yelp is also a good source for local reviews.
- Do a gut check. Is the staff nice? Do they seem legit and honest? If your instincts are giving you red flags, trust them.
Also, you might want to take your car to several shops for estimates. But keep in mind that the lowest quote isn’t synonymous with the best quote. John Mallette, the owner of an auto body shop in California, recommends: “You might get some midnight guy who will say he can do it cheap. Stay away from those guys, because there is something they’re not doing. You could have major problems down the road.”
Other Rights You’re Entitled to with a Car Accident Claim
In addition to the right to choose your repair shop, the Ohio Department of Insurance explains that you have the right to the following.
- To negotiate with the insurance company adjuster
- To receive “a prompt and good-faith settlement offer” (that’s in compliance with the terms of your policy)
- To use any pertinent arbitration procedures in your policy.
Note, if you are having a difficult time getting the settlement you deserve, you also have the right to consult an attorney to assist you. For help with an accident claim in Ohio or questions about your rights and responsibilities, you are welcome to call Bressman Law and schedule a free consult. Call today at 866-777-6680.