Perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of auto body repair involves your rights and your ability to select the repair facility of your choosing. This problem is magnified because as soon as you are in a car accident, tons of information gets thrown at you and quick decisions need to be made. If the car isn’t drivable, then it needs to be towed somewhere. Next, a police report needs to be written and filed, schedules need to be adjusted, transportation needs to be arranged, and a call to your insurance company needs to happen. It’s a very stressful time.
One of the biggest frustrations for auto body shops is the amount of misguided information a driver receives on where they should take their car to be repaired following an accident. Some of that misinformation even comes from the insurance companies themselves. This could be your insurance company or worse, the insurance company of the party that hit you. There is an old saying that goes, “never ask collection advice from someone who owes you money.” You deserve to know your rights concerning your personal property.
That brings us back to the big question here: Do you have to use the autobody shop your insurance company recommends is? The answer is no. But before we go into why you can choose whichever body shop for your car repair, let’s back it up a little bit.
What Insurance Companies Will Probably Tell You
Depending on the company, your insurance company might try and paint a picture to you that you need to use a shop that is in their network. Unlike your health insurance, there are not in-network providers. You are legally entitled to use any auto body shop of your choosing, and your insurance company must reimburse for the repairs. Some of the other common statements insurance companies may tell you are:
• “The length of the repair might be longer if you go somewhere else. Don’t you want your car back as soon as possible?”
Our response? Quicker repairs don’t always mean better. We’ll get to that below.
• “That’s not under warranty. We can’t offer your lifetime warranty on the repair if you go to that repair shop instead this one that we chose for you.”
Our response? Insurance companies don’t actually warranty repairs, only repair shops do. The best repair shops offer a lifetime warranty, regardless of who is paying for the repair. At Autotech Collision Service, we offer one of the best lifetime warranties available at any autobody repair shop in the country.
• “Well, that shop is out of our network, so we can’t guarantee the length of that repair.”
Our response? While most shops are pretty good at estimating how long a repair will take, simply being a direct repair body shop does not mean that all other shops are slower to repair. Your repairs will take as long as it takes to get parts, repair the damage, paint the car, and reassemble it. Most common repairs can be performed in a week or less.
Insurance companies are going to try to convince to use one of their Direct-Repair Shops, known as DRP. These are often repair shops that insurance companies have a contractual agreement with. Your insurance company is going to try to convince you that if you don’t choose one of their shops, that it won’t be covered and it isn’t under warranty. This is false. You have the right to decide where your car gets repaired, whether or not it is a DRP shop. The choice is yours.
Repair Time Pressures
Insurance companies want you to get your car repaired and back to you as soon as possible. Customers want quick repairs, and insurance companies want to minimize the time you are in a rental car, also known as length of rental.
The issue here is that repair shops who feel the pressure to perform short repairs could, in some cases, cut corners. This could be detrimental to the value of your car at resale. Let alone, to the safety of you, your family or other drivers on the same road.
Choice of Repair Parts
The car’s you see out on the road today are often equipped with advanced technologies known as ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). These type of technologies can only be repaired with the same level of parts they were made with at the manufacturer. These are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, which are directly from the manufacturer that ensure the right fit and functionality of that part.
This has been an on-going debate with some insurance companies for quite some time now, solely for the fact that OEM repair parts are much more expensive than aftermarket parts. Insurance companies may also recommend the use of salvage parts, which means they are from a junkyard. We at Autotech do not use aftermarket parts. In fact, we refuse to use anything other than parts direct from the manufacturer.
Be sure to check with your policy. Some insurance policies allow OEM parts in auto body repairs, depending on the circumstance and age of the vehicle.
Choice of Repair Facility
As mentioned above, you have the right to choose where your car gets repaired. However, you also want to verify the technicians at the repair shop are qualified to perform the repair. Almost every repair shop has its technicians certified through the I-CAR. However, there are some states, such as New Jersey, where it’s not required for an auto repair technician to work on your car with a license. That means these technicians can do whatever they want to your vehicle and not be under any legal obligations. It comes down to the shop and the technician, and yes, sometimes these are direct repair shops.
You want your cart to go to a shop that is not only OEM Certified, but one who will help you get everything you deserve in your collision repair. You want to find a shop who will be an advocate for your rights.
Why Choose Us
We at Autotech Collision Service have been serving Southern New Jersey for close to three decades. At Autotech, our technicians are trained and up-to-date on the latest in OEM standards. We will work with you and your insurance company to ensure a stress-free repair and get you back on the road in no time. On our website, we offer you the convenience of scheduling an appointment or getting an online quote. We know how busy life can get and if you’re having to deal with the stresses following an accident, we’ve got your back! Just click any of the buttons below to get started!
Your safety is our #1 priority!
Feel free to give us a call at (856)-232-1833. We look forward to hearing from you!