When a consumer first goes about finding an auto insurance quote, there are a number of questions that they will be asked in order to place them in a spectrum of possible risk. Companies will inquire about how far they drive their car, what they use their car for and how long they have been driving. In addition, providers will want to know about any accident history and speeding ticking issuance before making a decision about what to charge a driver for their auto insurance quote. One thing that will not be found on an auto insurance application, however, will be a request for the name of the body shop a client will use when and if their car is damaged. This is interesting, considering the role that body shop estimates play in getting a car repaired through insurance after an accident.
After an accident occurs, a client should immediately report it to their insurance company and then take their car to the body shop of their choice. Be sure to understand this - an insurance company cannot mandate where a car is repaired. They can suggest a location, but have no right to demand that an owner take their car to a specific body shop for repair. Once an insured has their car in the shop, a number of things will happen. First, a mechanic will look over the car to determine the extent of the damage. Next, they will prepare an estimate which they will share will both the owner and their insurance company before proceeding. These body shop estimates are what begin the process of insurance involvement in paying for repairs.
If, based on the estimate, the company agrees that the cost seems fair; they will draft a check to the insured which will then be passed over to the body shop. If, however, there are concerns about the damages listed on the estimate, the insurer will send out an adjustor in person to examine the car for themselves and determine if the body shop is being truthful. Some shops are less than honest in their estimates in hopes of being paid more than the repair is worth, and this can reflect badly on a customer even if they are unaware of it. Be sure that the shop you are dealing with is both professional and honest, as a poor body shop estimate can significantly slow the time it takes to get a claim processed.
While insurance companies cannot mandate the body shop a consumer uses to fix their car, they will be diligent about ensuring that any repairs they paid for are necessary, properly carried out and cost-effective.