CNN recently did a very good report on a MAJOR issue we have in the body shop business. It explorers the sometimes strange relationship between insurance companies and body shops. It shows how important it is to choose your repair shop wisely! Here is the link:
You see, most large insurance companies have contracts with certain body shops that put them on their “Preferred” Network, these are commonly referred as DRP shops (Direct Repair Network). The repair shops know by being on these programs the insurance companies will strongly suggest (some would say steer) their customers go to these “Preferred” shops, this means more business for the shop. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the insurance company the bigger the shop concessions will have to be. So what is in it for the insurance company? Control of the repair and concessions from the shop. Some of these DRP agreements are totally unfair to the shop and force them to perform unsafe or low quality repairs. Sometimes they are force to use lower quality parts from unreliable vendors just to save the insurance company a few bucks. In addition, most of the DRP contracts already squeeze the shop by making them work at reduced rates and offering other discounts. The other major problem is the cycle time they demand – if you are a day late on a repair it is a black mark on your record with them and the shop may have to pay the customer car rental fees. So if a repair shop has an unavoidable delay, they are forced to make a shoddy quick repair in order to keep the insurance company happy. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather get my car a day late and have it repaired properly!
How do you avoid this major issue? In the state of Maryland, only the vehicle owner has the power to choose their repair shop. Make sure you choose a high quality shop that is NOT on your big insurance companies list. Why? Because the shop will then be responsible to YOU, not the big insurance company and they will negotiate on your behalf to see that the vehicle is repaired CORRECLY and SAFELY. I can’t tell you how many times here at Frederick Auto Body we have customers come in with a terrible and incomplete estimate written by the insurance company adjustor. We usually rewrite the estimate to make sure the repair is performed correctly, and usually have to battle the insurance company to make that happen. If we had signed a DRP agreement with them, we would then be contractually obligated to use their original estimate and would have little leverage to make changes. So when the big insurance company tries to steer you to one of their shops, make sure you tell them that you feel more comfortable picking the shop yourself, and close your repair shop wisely..
At Frederick Auto Body, we only have DRP agreements with insurance companies that are reasonable and let us manage the repair for them. They are only concerned about having a high quality shop take care of their customers vehicles and want to make sure their claims are handled professionally. We would never sign a DRP agreement that would ask us to put the insurance companies interest above our customers. We always put our customers first, and making a high quality safe repair is our highest priority!
If you have been in an accident, please call us at (301) 698-0008 or send us an email at Frederickautobody@gmail.com. We are more than happy to discuss the repair and insurance process with you, and can help you make the most informed repair decisions possible.