After a motor vehicle accident, do you have to take your car to the insurance company’s recommended auto body shop? Many of our clients assume that you have to listen to your insurance company and take your vehicle to their selected auto body shop. However, that is not the case. According to Rhode Island Law, the consumer has the right to choose which auto body shop to take their vehicle to and the insurance company cannot interfere with the consumer’s choice in any way.
So why do insurance companies insist that you have to take your car to certain auto body shops? For starters, insurers will save money. Usually the recommended shops and your insurance company will have a contract with each other. This contract ensures that the insurance company may negotiate lower labor and material rates with these shops and even get discounted parts for your vehicle. Additionally, insurance companies will have certain quotas to fulfill and that may not be accomplished if you take your vehicle to a non-recommended shop.
When talking to your insurance company it’s important to pay attention to some exaggerations that may be said to persuade you on your auto body shop selection. Insurers will often argue that an adjuster won’t get out to appraise your vehicle for several days if you choose a shop, but they can get an adjuster out right away at a recommended shop. This is a lie since most insurance companies are required to send an adjuster out within 24 to 48 hours regardless of the shop used. Additionally, insurers will say that your claim will take longer to settle if you do not use their suggested repair shop. Again, this is an exaggeration since your settlement is based on a number of factors and not just your vehicle’s repair time.
How to Choose Your Auto Body Shop
If you decide to pick your own auto body shop it’s important to keep a few things in mind during your selection:
- Get recommendations. If your claim is going through a personal injury firm, ask your attorney or paralegal if they have any recommendations for a reputable auto body shop. If not, it’s good to ask friends, family, and co-workers about their experiences at different shops so you can have a variety of options.
- Get several estimates. It’s important to have several estimates so you can determine if a shop is overpricing the evaluated repairs.
- Professional appearance. It’s important to pick a shop that is clean and professional so you can trust that your car is being repaired properly and with the care you expect.
- Find experienced professionals. Make sure the shop you choose has trustworthy individuals who have worked on your specific make and model before. You don’t want to go to a repair shop that specializes in Honda’s if you have a Lexus.
Contact Us Today
At the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC we deal with insurers and auto body shops on a regular basis. Our experienced legal team constantly deals with property damage issues and we can help you get the best service guaranteed. For a free consultation give us a call at 401-777-7777.