After a car accident occurs, the first thing people want to do is get their car fixed. Insurance companies will recommend “preferred” auto shops. Typically, these shops have relationships with he insurance companies and may not always have your best interest in mind. Do you have to use these auto shops that insurance companies prefer?
The short answer is no. Under Washington State law, there is a duty for insurance companies to handle all auto repair claims in good faith. It is your decision as the consumer to determine where you would like to get your vehicle repaired. Insurance companies may give the façade that they can make the decision, but you have the final say.
“Preferred” options can be a fine choice, but you are under no obligation to use any of these auto shops. It’s important for you to make an informed decision to see if you trust the auto shop who is handling your vehicle. A good rule of thumb is if there’s just minor damage, “it probably makes sense to go ahead and take your car to either a drive-in appraisal center and get paid for the work that needs to be done right away, or just take it to a shop that the insurance company recommends,” executive editor of Checkbook.org Kevin Brasler says (Komo 4 News). If the damage is significant, go to a shop that you know and trust. “If there’s major damage done to your car, you really need a shop that is going to work for you, that’s going to advocate for you and really communicate well with the insurance company to make sure that all the work you need done, gets done,” Brasler said.
If you are not liable in an accident, the insurance company must pay for your vehicle repairs to return it to pre-accident condition. If your car has significant damage and is deemed totaled, then you should be offered a settlement check that is equal to the full value of your damages. Wherever you choose to get your car fixed, just make sure it is a place you can trust.
Source: Komo 4 News