Insurance companies have flooded our televisions with commercials claiming to provide quick and convenient experiences in having your car damage repaired after an automobile accident. Some insurance companies urge you to bring your car into one of their authorized or preferred repair shops for a fast appraisal. Some insurers say they will come right to your house to appraise the vehicle and others say all you have to do is take a picture of the damage and send it to them. Further, that if you use one of their "preferred shops" for the repair, you will have your car back on the road quickly and with minimal inconvenience to you. This begs the question as to whether or not you should use the collision shop your insurance company recommends to repair the damage to your car. In short the answer is no and I strongly advise against it for many reasons.
Perhaps the most important reason, is that all insurance companies are primarily in business to make money and that no-one has your best interest at heart for a proper and safe repair of your vehicle more than you. In fact a 2006 economic impact report prepared for the NYS Auto Collision Association, purported to substantiate evidence that New York automobile insurers artificially suppress payment for labor rates at auto body shops. Further, that this suppression of rates at insurer "preferred shops" lowered the quality of the repairs, thereby jeopardizing consumer safety.
Accordingly, it behooves you to have your car damage appraised at a quality body shop of your own choosing, that is not affiliated with the insurance company. This will afford you the opportunity to have your own collision repair expert representative present during the appraisal, to make sure that the insurance company pays the proper amount necessary to cover the damage to your vehicle. This applies whether or not you are using the other person's insurance company or your own, because as previously stated all insurance companies are primarily in business to make money.
Resist the hard sell marketing campaigns of insurance companies, that seek to compel insureds to use one of their own repair shops. Instead protect your best interest by selecting a quality independent repair shop of your own. If you are involved in an automobile accident and have any questions about how to handle your property damage or personal injury claim, you may call our office for a free consultation. Don't let insurers claiming to be on your side, take advantage of you.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.