Can my Insurance Adjuster Tell me Where to Get my Car Repaired?

Can my Insurance Adjuster Tell me Where to Get my Car Repaired?

Crash! Crunch! Bang!

You’ve heard one of the worst sounds a driver can hear – you've been in an accident. 

Of course, the most important thing is that everyone is okay, but once you have accessed any injuries, then you start down the insurance and repair road. And this road is not always without potholes. 

What’s Insurance Steering?

One of the most common pitfalls is the practice of an insurance claim adjuster "steering" the driver towards certain preferred auto repair shops. This is actually against the law in many states because this kind of action can lead to fraud and deception. The consumer always has the choice about which auto body shop they want to handle their vehicle’s repair. In fact, it is such a problem that some insurance companies have had multi-million dollar settlements brought against them because of patterns of insurance claim adjuster steering.

This practice now known as insurance claim adjuster steering was first addressed in the 1963 Federal Consent Decree. In this case, then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy brought a suit against 235 insurance companies that were behaving in fraudulent ways. Insurance claim adjuster steering was just one of them. The decree allowed the companies in the suit to settle by basically promising not to behave in that manner going forward and its mandates are still in effect.

The reasoning behind such a law is so insurance companies cannot get in the way of an auto body shop’s ability to fairly compete. You are free to get recommendations from friends, coworkers, or your favorite barista, but your claims adjuster is not allowed to steer you toward any specific shop, or worse, bully you into choosing one they suggest.

Another thing to know about getting your car repaired after an accident is that only the auto repair shop can guarantee their work. If an insurance claim adjuster tries to get you to believe that the insurance company will offer this guarantee, he may be trying to take the wheel and do a little steering.

You Have a Choice for Your Auto Repair

How do you decide which shop may be the best option for you? Of course, recommendations from trusted people who have experienced their work is one good way to figure it out, but there are other things to look for as well:

  • A shop that has an Assured Performance Certification. Offered by a non-profit consumer advocacy organization, this certification can only be obtained after the shop has met a long list of core requirements around training, tool and equipment requirements, and certain business requirements.
  • Another certification to look for is a Gold Class designation. This tells you the shop and its technicians are up-to-date on the latest information on body repair and car maintenance. With training in four levels - Non-Structural Technician, Estimator, Refinish Technician, and Steel Structural Technician - the Gold Class designation helps you know that the people working on your car are the best in the business.
  • Positive reviews from past customers

Once you have narrowed down your choice of repair shops, you should ask them some questions about how the repairs will be done. For instance, inquire whether the shop will be using OEM parts and why or why not. OEM parts stands for original equipment manufacturer or the company that made the car. This ensures those parts will fit that make and model of your vehicle as it should. Other questions to ask about parts is whether the shop uses junk or salvage parts and why.

Newell's Auto Body is a great choice for repairing your vehicle after an accident because we have great relationships and decades of experience working with adjusters from all the major insurance companies and we hold the Gold Class designation.

Not only is your car a significant financial investment, but it is also the transportation device for your most precious cargo - your family. Don’t take any chances with how it is repaired and make sure you are the only one steering.

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