After an accident, you look to your insurance provider for advice. Unfortunately, the advice they give you is not always in your best interests.
Your insurer may try to bully you into using a shop on their “preferred” network, away from shops that don’t comply with their standards of repair, or their use of cheap, imitation parts.
This is known as steering, and all fifty states have laws in place to protect consumers from this practice. It’s common practice for insurance companies to skirt the law, using misleading statements and intimidation to direct their policyholders to shops that will save them money.
Who loses out when insurers and shops use cheap parts and cut corners? You, the vehicle owner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s your legal right to have your vehicle restored to the condition it was in before the accident.
Don’t give in to steering. Defend your right to a safe, high quality repair by preparing yourself for these five common statements your insurance company uses to steer you after an accident:
“That shop isn’t on our preferred network.”
Insurance companies use the word “preferred” to describe shops that have entered into a contractual agreement with them in exchange for referrals.
Describing these insurance network, or “Direct Repair Program” shops as “preferred” suggests that they are selected for superior quality. In reality, insurance company profits are the priority with these shops.
Preferred shops have been found to use cheaper parts, and to skip procedures that are needed to keep your vehicle safe. Don’t choose a shop that insurance companies prefer. Choose a shop that prefers your interests, over your insurance company’s.
“If you take it to that shop, we can’t guarantee their work.”
This is a common, and blatantly misleading statement. In our experience, it is the shop that provides the warranty on the work, not the insurance company. At K&M Collision, we provide a lifetime guarantee on all of the work we perform, regardless of insurance company.
“The charges at that shop are higher, and you may be responsible for the difference.”
99.9% of the time, the initial insurance estimate on repairs is inadequate. When our factory trained and certified technicians perform an in-depth analysis of the damage, they prove what is necessary to properly and safely repair your vehicle. This is part of the process, and insurers will pay once the need for necessary repairs is proven.
K&M Collision has certifications from 17 major vehicle manufacturers, including Porsche, Audi, Ford and Volkswagen. We insist on fully restoring the safety of these vehicles, never using inferior imitation parts, and never cutting corners. Sometimes insurance companies resist this approach, and we do everything we can to protect the safety and resale value of our customer’s vehicles, and ensure that necessary work is covered.
“Claims take longer to settle at that shop.”
In our experience, delays in the claims process result from a strategy employed by insurance companies to delay and deny justified claims. Sometimes, they will even say, “If you use that shop, we can’t get someone out for several days, but if you use our preferred shop we have some there to start on it right away.”
This is just another tactic insurance companies use to skirt anti-steering laws, and pressure policyholders to a network shop that will use cheap parts and skip procedures.
“They’re charging for parts and procedures that aren’t necessary.”
When you hear this statement, be aware that insurers are just trying to avoid fulfilling their obligation to you, the policyholder, to restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition. This worst part about this is that using inferior parts and skipping procedures has been proven to compromise the safety of your vehicle, to say nothing about the loss of resale value.
Preferred shops will often bow to insurance company pressures to use inferior parts, whereas our factory-trained and certified technicians insist on repairs that fully restore the safety systems of your car.
Insurance companies use these statements to intimidate you. They want to scare you into going to a shop that cares more about their profits than they do about your best interests.
Now that you understand the motivations behind these statements, you’re better equipped to make the right choices after an accident. If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please contact us at (828) 569-1275.