Do You Have to Use the Body Shop the Insurance Company Recommends?

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Subject: Incorrect and biased ininformed and downright wrong

First of all lets start with the (RIGHT TO CHOOSE) You the consumer have the right to choose WHERE (licensed repair facility) you take your vehicle to have it repaired. Anything even close to a Recommendation by the indurance company is called STEERING and is against the law.
2nd, there is no lifetime repair. It is something created to engage your brain as to the longevity of the repair. A lifetime varies from state to state and in California could be as little as 10 years (real requirement) by most insurance companies.
If you really are going to keep your vehicle a LIFETIME I bet it wont last that long if it never has a repair let alone if it has.
So throwing out the BS and getting real if you want to take your vehicle to UNCLE BILLS to have it repaired because you heard they rock, TAKE IT there. Use common sense (not so common), and don't feel like you HAVE to take it to THAT SHOP THE INSURANCE COMPANY SAID.
Also remember; Insurance companies are there to make money and they do that by the "spread", the difference between what they collect and what they pay out. It is in their self interest to pay less to have your vehicle repaired. Do YOU really want your vehicle being repaired by the lowest bidder?
Also if it is YOUR ins. company REMEMBER!!!! You pay THEM to COMPENSATE YOU for a LOSS!!!!! THEY ARE NOT DOING YOU A FAVOR!!! They are doing what you PAY THEM to do! IT is not a gift or an act of kindness. they are getting paid well. They do not own your vehicle you own it!


Subject: choosing body shop

I am claiming in other person insurance company since it was not my fault. should i use the body shop what the insurance company is recommending ? or i can i choose my own? if aim choosing my own how the payment will be paid ? will they send the cheque in my name and i will pay to body who aim choosing ? or insurance company will pay the body shop?

charles harrison

Subject: Insurance co's appraiser lies

I have Allstates Insurance. instead of repairing the damage in good faith, they lower the value if the damaged vehicle by declaring the vehicle totalled, then make a lowball offer to the insured. They absolutely refuse to have the damage repaired, but offer it to you at a very low price or accept their offer. I bought the vehicle back and had it back on the road at a fraction of the cost, but now the vehicle has a salvage title, and if you have another claim, their reason for a low offer is that it is worth far less than ofthers of the same make an model, because ot has a salvage title. How is that legal! And can I do something about it?


Subject: Insurance company forcing me to go to their body shop

My car met an accident and other party's insurance is going to cover the charges. That insurance company is telling me that I can take my car to any body shop but they won't pay more than a fixed labor rate which is much lower that what other shops in the area charges. This is going on for the last 2 months and the insurance company is very unresponsive to my phone calls or emails. I am really troubled. What are my options? Please advise. I live in California.

Consumer Joe


Ok, let me see if I understand this:

Insurance Company sets out to "Reduce and Manipulate" Labor Prices from Body Shops. Insurance Companies "Bribe" Body Shops with promised MORE Business IF they will agree to use THEIR Lowered Prices.

Insurance Companies then attempt to "Strong Arm" Insureds into using "Recommended" Body Shops that have agreed to Lower their Rates in exchange for "promised" work from Insurance Companies.

Insurance Companies then Low Ball a Repair Estimate with agreement that IF Consumers use THEIR Body Shop, if it costs more, (normally does), to Repair the Damage, they will pay THEIR Body Shop the Extra.

Insurer sends Initial "Low Balled" payment to Insured with a Note on Statement, "YOU SHOULD PRESENT OUR APPRAISAL TO YOUR GARAGE WHEN THE CAR IS BROUGHT IN FOR REPAIRS."

So my questions are:

1. When an Insurance Company solicits Body Shops to Reduce their Labor Rates and Parts to prices cheaper than
Competitive Body Shops in exchange for Business, WHY ISN'T THAT CONSIDERED "PRICE FIXING"?

2. Why doesn't the Ins Co write their Estimates to actually reflect the REALISTIC Damage Repair Costs in the

3. What if I take my vehicle to several Body Shops to get Estimates and the Ins Co's Estimate is considerably LOWER,
say, $1,500 for damage. (One Ins Co's Body Shop says the same repairs are averaging about $2,500 and the Ins Co's
know this). Also, the Ins Co's are intentionally "steering" Consumers to THEIR Body Shops where the Ins Co will
gladly pay the additional $1,000 just so someone else doesn't charge $3,000+ FOR Legit Labor Rates!

A. WHY doesn't the Ins Co owe their Insured the $2,500 UPFRONT? Especially if the Ins'd OWNS their Vehicle "Free
& Clear"! WHERE does it say an Ins'd MUST get their vehicle fixed and is not owed just for the loss?
B. WHY isn't that considered Fraud, Misrepresentation, and, intentional "Diminished Value" of Damages?
C. WHY isn't an Ins Co instructing its Insured that they MUST take their vehicle into a Garage if they want to be paid
any additional for a "covered loss"?
D. If and Insured produces 2 or 3 Estimates that are say $2,500, $ 3,000, and $3450, then WHY wouldn't the Ins Co
be responsible to pay at least, the $2,500 Estimate to the Insured?
E. Finally, if an Ins Co "Strong Arms" an Ins'd into using THEIR "Negotiated" Body Shop and something goes wrong
with the Body Shop causing damage to your vehicle, THEN, the Ins Co says it is the B/S problem and the Ins Co
did NOT say you HAD to use them so they "wash their hands" of the incident, WHY is the Ins Co NOT
responsible? (I witnessed that happen to someone with a $13,000 House Claim where the Ins'd agreed to use the
LARGE INS CO's Preferred Contracted with Promises, then the Contractor caused MORE damage
($140,000), walked off, and the Large Ins Co told the Home Owner; too bad, but it's between You and the
Contractor - sue us if you don't like it!

WHY do they legally get away with these Misrepresentations and Fraudulent Promises????


Subject: Price Fixing

It's against the law for an insurance company to "strong arm" a customer into choosing their preferred provider. Insurance is a highly regulated industry and there are protocols the industry must follow when offering the option to choose their preferred shop, as well as negotiating parts and labor rates with the shop. The entire process must be approved by the state's DOI, to protect the consumer.

Steve Thomas

Subject: Body shop commits fraud

2010 car in accident, major damage. Repairs done by shop not on insurance companies list of shops they like. 2015 minor accident, less than 3,000 in damage. Current shop finds work not done by 2010 shop, yet they billed and got paid by ins company. Current shop obtained records of work to be done by 2010 shop. The cost is in the thousands of dollars, including safety work to weak points caused by 2010 accident. Pure fraud, there is physical evidence, testimonial from current shop, yet, the ins company is doing nothing about it. They say because 2010 shop was not on their preferred list they don't have to guarantee the work and make things right, safety or not, i'm left holding the bag, while they turn their backs on me. We pay premiums not just for fixing our cars, but to represent us in situations such as this.

Body Man

Subject: Body Shop Steering

I am a body and fender tech .Body shop steering by the insurance company's affects the quality of the job . Why , well look at it from the point of view of the man doing the work on your car . He is almost always required to do the job for less hours that are really required to do the job properly. This happens because the work is being steered to a few shops that take the jobs in and rarely dispute the labor costs involved. These shops would rather have the majority of the work coming their way and don't complain or fight the insurance company's for the extra overlooked hours that were needed. This affects the pay of the person doing the work on your car as Body and Fender people get paid almost always on a commission basis. So what happens is the tech will in a lot of circumstances cut corners, rush the job to make what should have been an honest living. and this is only part of it. I have had to repair cars just a few years old with used parts that were furnished by the insurance company's. for instance rather then give the tech a brand new quarter panel Countless times I have been given a chunk of a car to remove the quarter panel and install that on the customers new car. They don't pay enough to do this and we really don't like to do this but we have to because the insurance company is not being challenged for the new panel. This is just an example but I could tell so much more. The bottom line is you will always get what your insurance dollars pay for when you bring your car to a shop of your choice and have the body shop in charge of the repairs for you. This promotes fairness to everyone involved and keeps everyone honest and the man working on your car will be a lot happier . A Body Tech for over 30 years. Hoping one day fairness will be restored in my trade and body shop steering will be outlawed. It truly is a shame it has gone on for this long.

captain crunch

Subject: spot on

This post is excellent and the information is very accurate. I work for a major insurance company. The company has very precise goals as for how many claims they want to get to their shops. The pressure on the claims reps and call center reps to steer customers to our preferred shops is incredible. They just slip in one line about "you can go to any shop you want" to get around the anti-steering laws.

Gene Yagud

Subject: Better safe than sorry

Even if the insurance company has a list of body shops they work with, you should research who they recommend. Several years ago I was in a fender bender and my insurance company sent me to a shop 30 minutes away from where I live. First the tech tried to convince me that one of the issues (airbag sensor) was not due to the accident when it clearly was. Then, when the repairs were done, they told me the airbag sensor had to be reset by the dealer which I believe was a lie. Finally, I was told I would get a new bumper when it was obvious they simply hammered out the one that was damaged. Never used them again and ultimately switched insurance companies.

John Towery

Subject: Good job

The customer service was excellent. They were honest, open, and took care of the insurance for me.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.