As if being in a car accident isn’t bad enough, the repair process following your accident can be a stressful process to navigate, especially if it’s your first time. You call your insurance company to see what to do next and they give you a list of repair shops. You’re probably thinking, “That’s so helpful and they must know the best shops! That little lizard wouldn’t steer me wrong …right?” Wrong. Car insurance companies win you over with their funny commercials and lovable characters and make you feel like you can trust them. But the bottom line is, they are a business and they are only here to make money. You pay them every month with the understanding that if you’re in an accident, they will take care of it. Although they are required to pay for your repairs, they are going to try to mitigate costs whenever possible. If they have control of the repairs, they have control of the cost.

How can the insurance company control the repairs?

Each insurance company has a list of repair shops that they will provide to their customers. This is what is known as a Direct Repair Program (DRP). A DRP shop works directly with the insurance company, which might sound like a good thing, but we’re going to explain why this partnership benefits everyone except you as the customer. You’re led to believe that this is a list of the best shops when they are referred to as “preferred” or “recommended”, but in reality it is just a list of repair shops that have signed contracts agreeing to let the insurer dictate how to repair your vehicle. If you go to one of these shops, the insurer now gets to decide what parts are used in your repair. This could mean junkyard parts from a vehicle that was previously in an accident or aftermarket parts that were not made by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and may not fit properly. They also get to decide how much time is spent on repairs and will prioritize speed over quality. DRP shops are evaluated on their cost effectiveness and can be penalized and even held responsible for partial cost of your rental if they take too long. The quality or your repair is compromised because the shop is being rushed and may have to cut corners to keep costs down.

But is it really that important how it’s done, as long as it gets fixed?

Yes. Deviating from OEM repair procedures, in any way, compromises the safety of your vehicle and puts you at risk. Think of it this way: if you needed surgery, would you want your surgeon to follow the procedures taught through years of medical schooling or should your health insurance provider tell them how to operate? Your vehicle repairs should be looked at the same way. Technicians should follow instructions from the vehicle manufacturer, not the people paying for it to be repaired.

The risks you take by going go a DRP shop:

The initial estimate for this Camaro SS was written by the insurance company on visible damage only. If we were to repair this car according to their estimate, we would just replace the front bumper. As you can see, the impact from the front buckled the left fender, which was not included in the estimate. They did not include time to blend the panels when we paint, which is necessary to make sure this gorgeous orange pearl is seamlessly matched.

Orange Camaro damaged front bumper and fender

A DRP shop would be contractually obligated to repair this vehicle according to the original estimate. We do things differently. Disassembly is the 3rd step of our 10 step repair process for every job. We need to take the vehicle apart to determine additional damage and use that to write our own repair plan. We then negotiate with your insurer to make sure they cover everything needed for us to provide you with a quality repair and return your vehicle to you in pre-loss condition. But it can also be a lot scarier than just paint blends or a damaged fender.

Black Toyota totaled collision damage

How would you feel if your son or daughter was in an accident like this and the airbag didn’t properly deploy? Thankfully this teenage driver was ok, but the reason the airbag didn’t go off may have been because the car had previously been repaired at another shop that cut corners and used aftermarket parts. You can see in these photos the impact sensor took a direct hit, so the airbag probably should have deployed. These are the risks you take when you have your car repaired at one of your insurance companies “preferred shops”.

Why would body shops agree to this?

Money. Collision repair facilities provide a service that no one wants to need, which can make it difficult to advertise and get new customers. But imagine how much business a shop could get if they were recommended to everyone in their area who had just been involved in an accident. Bottom line, signing the contract to become a DRP shop gets them more business, which means more money. The good thing is, not all body shops were created equal. At Authentic Auto Body, we look at things a little differently. We are still a business operating to make a profit, but we understand that would be impossible without you. We prioritize customer service and quality repairs over fast turnaround because that is how we keep our customers happy! A large portion of our business comes from repeat customers and referrals. We are a small, family run shop and we understand that you are the most important part of our business. Our goal is always to turn your stressful situation into a positive experience!

“Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.”

– Michael LeBoeuf

Know your rights!

It is your right to choose your repair shop no matter what your insurance company tries to tell you. You should always choose one you trust or one that comes recommended by friends of family. And remember, your insurance company works for you and your repair shop works for you. But when they start working for each other, you’re the one that pays the price. A great resource to learn more about DRP shops is www.stopdrp.com