Many auto insurance companies will have existing contracts with body shops and repair shops in your area. These contracts typically benefit the body shop and the insurer by exchanging referred business for the body shop for lower labor and material rates.
However, these agreements may benefit you as well. By choosing a repair shop recommended by an insurer, you will generally be back on the road faster. Additionally, most reputable insurance companies require that contracted body shops meet certain equipment and training requirements and also require that contracted body shops provide lifetime warranties on any repairs made.
Still, there are situations in which you may want to use a body shop not contracted by the insurance company, which is your right.
If you choose a body shop recommended by an insurer, you may get some push back from claims representatives. This is because claims adjusters are often given set regarding the number of claims that should go to the insurance company’s direct repair shops. They will tell you that the shop is not on their list and that they will not be able to handle your claim effectively, or say that it could be weeks before an adjuster will be available to write an estimate on your car.
Do not be intimidated. If a body shop is truly reputable, they will make sure you receive any and all the benefits of choosing the insurer’s recommended body shop.