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Do I Have to Repair My Car at the Insurance Company’s Recommended Shop?

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When you are involved in a car accident, dealing with the aftermath can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to repairs. A common question many individuals have is whether they are obliged to take their car to a repair shop recommended by the at-fault insurance company.

The simple answer is no.

At Washington Law Center, we advocate for your rights and provide the necessary guidance to navigate these situations with your best interest in mind. Unfortunately, the at-fault insurance company rarely has that same interest in mind. 

 

The Myth of Obligatory Repairs at Insurance Recommended Shops

The notion that you must use the at-fault insurance company’s recommended auto body shop is misleading. Here is why opting for these recommended facilities might not be in your best interest:

  • Contracts and Agreements: Insurance companies often have contracts creating “Direct Repair Programs” (DRPs). These arrangements can lead to biases in assessing your vehicle’s damage, as these shops have a vested interest in maintaining a relationship with the insurers. 
  • Underestimation of Damages: Shops under these DRP agreements are commonly incentivized to minimize the damage found so they will continue to get referrals from the insurance companies. This means they may not conduct thorough inspections, potentially overlooking significant issues that can affect your vehicle’s safety and value. More often than not, we see that these DRP facilities are not removing damaged parts such as bumpers or even putting a vehicle on a lift to get a thorough inspection. 
  • Business Dependency: Many recommended shops rely heavily on referrals from insurance companies for their business. We have seen that this dependency can compromise their ability to act in your best interests.

 

Choosing the Right Repair Shop After An Accident

Your vehicle, that transports you, your family and friends, deserves the best care possible to ensure it returns to its pre-accident condition and is safe in the event of future collisions.

Here are steps to select a trustworthy repair shop:

  1. Seek Independent Shops: Look for facilities that are not directly tied to insurance companies and do not derive the majority of their business from such partnerships.
  2. Research and Reviews: Invest time in researching local auto body shops. Read reviews, ask for recommendations, and consult with friends or family who have had similar experiences.
  3. Inspections and Estimates: Ensure the shop you choose conducts a detailed inspection of your vehicle. A meticulous approach is crucial to uncover all damages, not just the visible ones.
  4. Warranty Offers: Do not be swayed by the lifetime warranties offered by insurance-recommended shops. Independent shops often provide similar or even better warranty terms.

 

The Importance of a Thorough Inspection

A significant portion of vehicle damage may not be immediately apparent without a comprehensive examination. It is essential to use a shop that:

  • Is methodical and meticulous in their inspection process.
  • Dismantles the vehicle as necessary to assess all potential damage thoroughly.
  • Provides a detailed and transparent estimate based on their findings.

 

It’s Your Right To Choose Where Your Car Is Repaired

Remember, you have the right to choose where your vehicle is repaired. Exercising this right ensures that repairs are conducted with your safety and the vehicle’s integrity in mind, not the financial interests of an insurance company. Washington Law Center is here to support you through this process, ensuring you make informed decisions that protect your interests.

By choosing a repair shop that aligns with your best interests rather than the insurance company’s preferences, you uphold the value and safety of your vehicle. Washington Law Center is dedicated to advocating for your rights and ensuring you receive the utmost care and professional advice during these trying times.

If you have been involved in a car accident and are facing the daunting task of getting your vehicle repaired, remember that you are not alone. At Washington Law Center, our team is renowned for delivering top-notch legal representation to individuals who have endured personal injuries stemming from car accidents. We are dedicated to offering authoritative and thorough legal assistance to those navigating difficult circumstances.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in asserting your rights and ensuring your vehicle receives the care it deserves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ashton Dennis

Partner
Personal Injury Attorney

Ashton Dennis is a litigation and trial attorney at Washington Law Center focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered a serious personal injury or wrongful death. He was named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers of Washington State and one of the “Premier 100” trial attorneys by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers in Washington. Click here to learn more about Ashton.

Personal Injury Attorney - Ashton Dennis - Tacoma, WA - Washington Law Center

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