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After a Car Accident, Can I Choose Where My Car Gets Repaired?

Whether it be from distracted driving, speeding, poor road conditions or the fault of other motorists, automobile accidents occur regularly. With over 280 million vehicles on the road, the United States is one of the busiest countries when it comes to road traffic and accidents are bound to occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 6 million car accidents take place on U.S. roads every year.

Over 40% of U.S. car accidents are rear-end collisions.  It takes just half a second to look down at your phone, adjust the radio dial or take a sip of your coffee and then BOOM!  Next thing you know, you have crashed into the car in front of you.  Unlike the protected bumper cars you rode in at amusement parks as a child, your vehicle will most likely not escape such a fender-bender without some bumps and bruises to its exterior.  Once you and the other driver have assessed any injuries and contacted the police, it’s time to reach out to your respective car insurance companies.

Here is where things can start to get a little hairy.

What is “Insurance Steering” & How Do I Avoid It?

Once you’ve gone through the necessary protocols, many insurance companies will suggest specific car body shops in your area for your needed repairs.  While this may seem convenient and helpful to you in the chaos of dealing with your recent accident, be aware that they are most likely only listing car body repair shops in their company’s preferred network, or Direct Repair Program (DRP).  This is referred to as “insurance steering” and it is illegal.

If your trusted auto body shop that you’ve been going to for years is not listed as an option, you can still take your damaged vehicle to them for the auto repair work.  No matter what your insurance company has shared, you have the legal right to have your car repaired wherever you please.  While your insurance company may make false claims, such as your warranty will be voided, or they cannot guarantee the repairs, do not allow them to steer you into taking your vehicle to specific body shops if you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with them.  The shops included in their DRP are doing the repair work at discounted rates because they have an agreement with insurance companies that more claims will be funneled their way.  This often results in subpar work or unsafe repairs with non-approved aftermarket parts in order to make a quicker profit from the insurance provider. We are not stating that all DRP shops are bad, however we don’t want to see you get illegally steered in the wrong direction and have an unsatisfactory experience.

To avoid being steered to your insurance company’s preferred shops, know your rights after an accident and directly contact a trusted auto body repair shop.  If it makes you feel more comfortable, have your desired car body shop directly contact your insurance company to speak on your behalf.  With your consent, they can negotiate with the insurance company for you.  For insurance companies, it all comes down to money.  By establishing DRP connections, they are able to cut down on repair costs and turnaround time.  Unfortunately for you, the consumer, this often results in sketchy and unreliable repair work.

Bumpers Etc. – An Auto Body Shop You Can Trust!

If you are in need of a friendly, skilled and dedicated car body repair center, look no further! Bumpers Etc. Auto Body & Collision holds the highest level of customer service in the Lancaster, PA region.  Backed with years of experience and professionalism, our team offers a variety of auto collision services and only uses the best parts and products.  We take pride in all of our repair work and treat each vehicle as if it was ours.

If you find yourself in a fender bender or in need of car repairs due to an accident, rest assured that you can go to any body shop you choose.  Don’t allow your insurance company to steer you in the wrong direction – Bumpers Etc. Auto Body & Collision is here for you and your insurance will cover the repair costs.  Contact us today at (717) 738-0334.