Q. Insurance companies will regularly suggest repair shops in your area to have work done…the question is…are you required to use that recommendation?


A. The short answer is "no." Laws in most states allow for the insured to take their vehicle to the repair shop they choose as opposed to those recommended by an insurance company, which may often have a repair contract with the same shop that they're urging you to take your car to. Choosing their repair shop benefits the insurance company, which will negotiate lower labor and material rates in order to lower costs and increase profits. The bottom result is one that is often not in your best interest as it relates to having the repairs done correctly. If you have chosen your own repair shop, some claims representatives may use a variety of tactics to try and dissuade you from that decision. Some may tell you that your choice isn't on an "approved" list of local shops…meaning your claim may not be handled promptly or efficiently. Some may even say that their company won't offer a warranty on repairs unless one of their pre-approved shops is used. Don't let yourself get railroaded by these maneuvers….any reputable auto body shop will provide a warranty regardless of who is paying the bill. Most shops are genuinely interested in handling your repairs quickly and efficiently. And generally…most shops are familiar with the insurance companies in this area and subsequently know how the claim process will work. Restoring your vehicle to its original condition after an accident is often a trying process that can become even more difficult if complications ensue while dealing with the various companies involved. It's better to ask questions now and consider your decisions carefully rather than entering into an agreement you may regret "down the road."