When an insurance company pushes you to have your vehicle repaired at a bodyshop other than the one you have chosen, that’s steering.
You have the legal right to have your vehicle repaired at any shop you choose and the insurance company is required by law to pay the reasonable cost to repair the damage according to the limits set forth in your policy.
Even if the shop you have chosen is not on the insurance company’s program, you still have the right to have your vehicle repaired wherever you choose and the insurance company is legally obligated to pay the reasonable costs to repair it.
Insurance adjusters are very aware of the steering laws and some have become very adept at using the right wording to stay just clear of the line. For instance…
The adjuster may tell you that you can use your bodyshop but that your shop has been known to overcharge and you may have to pay out of pocket for repairs done there. If a reputable autobody shop presents you with a bill for a portion of the repairs that should have been covered by the insurance company you should know that it was not done without first fighting hard on your behalf with the insurer. Some insurers try to intimidate shops to cut corners on repairs – something no reputable shop would do. If this happens to you, you should know that often the insurer will reimburse you for any amount you pay out of pocket if you simply request it. They know they are legally responsible, they simply don’t want to go on record as giving in to the shop so they can continue to try to intimidate others.
The adjuster may tell you that repairs will be delayed unless you use the shop they want you to. Most repair delays happen because the bodyshop is waiting for your insurance adjuster to come to the shop to approve the repairs.
The adjuster may tell you that they won’t guarantee the repairs unless you use the shop they want you to. A good shop will provide its own guarantee. A great shop will provide you a lifetime guarantee on all the work they perform for as long as you own the vehicle.
If you have chosen a reputable autobody shop and the insurance company is balking at your decision, it is very likely that your biggest worry should be the insurance company you chose not the shop.
It’s frustrating to see butchered up cars repaired by the big insurance company’s “Preferred” shops. What is the guarantee worth if you have to keep going back. Why don’t they just do it right the first time???