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Despite what you may have been told by an insurance company, you have a legal right to use the collision repair shop of your choice.
There is no other way to say it—insurance companies have a conflict of interest. While they want to retain you as a customer, they want the repair done as inexpensively as possible. The insurance adjuster, a person you may never meet, for many insurance companies, is primarily measured and paid based on how low he can keep insurance claim costs.
So, how do insurance companies control their costs? Most insurance companies will refer you to a body shop on their direct repair program. That is a program whereby body shops get insurance referrals as long as the body shop keeps that insurance company happy by various measures, primarily by keeping costs low.
What does this mean? It can mean cheaper, lower quality foreign parts. It can sometimes mean that corners are cut.
So the body shop now has two masters (i.e. the customer and the insurance company). To that end, many body shops can get as much as 50%, 60%, even 80% of their business from a single insurance company, so they often have no choice but to do what the insurance company says.
Does this mean all insurance companies, insurance adjusters, and direct body repair shops are bad? Certainly not, but why risk it?
We don't. At Star Auto Authority, we refuse to be on insurance companies' direct repair programs. While we maintain positive relationships with most insurance companies, there is no question as to who our client is. We don't have any conflict--we're here for you.