Where Should I Get My Car Fixed?
It may not surprise you to learn that your insurance company is going to recommend one of their preferred shops. They have arrangements with shops that will do some of the work (such as photographing your car) for the insurance company.
You are not required to go to one of their shops.
You can go to any shop you choose. There are some very good shops that are preferred vendors for some insurance companies. There are also some very bad shops. You should never go to a shop unless you can get a personal recommendation from a friend, reliable contact or family member.
When you determine where you want your car fixed, tell the insurance company and the adjuster will reach an agreed price with the shop. This is the price that the insurance company agrees to pay, and the shop agrees to accept. You should not be charged anything other than your deductible.
The parts your car was manufactured with are known as Original Equipment (from) Manufacturer, or “OEM”. The insurance company may write an estimate using pricing for aftermarket (sometimes called “crash” or “non-OEM”) parts. There has been a lot of debate as to whether these parts are as good or reliable as original equipment manufacturer parts. If your selected body shop agrees and in most cases, non-OEM parts will be fine, but if they recommend OEM parts or if you have a high end vehicle you should demand that your insurer cover the cost of repairs with OEM parts only.
Support for your position can come from the basic principles that insurance is designed to put you back as close as possible to the same position you were in before a loss and “like kind and quality” has traditionally been the standard for replacement. All of us here at The Whiplash Resource Network, demand to have OEM parts on our cars.
The insurance company may also want to put on used parts.
These are parts that can be bought at an auto recycler from another car that was damaged…think junk yard! These parts are usually OEM parts and are a good replacement if your car is damaged. If your choice is between good condition used parts from an auto recycler or non-OEM parts, choose the former.
You may also be entitled to a rental vehicle.
Your policy will pay a maximum, usually $20 or $25 per day for the rental vehicle. You will be responsible for all extra charges. Call around and find the best deal for a rental car. You do not have to go with the insurer’s recommended rental car company. Look online at sites like Groupon and Living Social, for example – you can usually get a pretty good deal there.
Hope this helps you avoid some of the pitfalls, too many uninformed folks fall into.