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Rhinelander Collision Center

By 7016372726 25 Oct, 2017

First, let’s get one thing straight:


You always get to decide where your vehicle gets repaired. YOU. Not your insurance company!


This is established in law. It varies from state to state, so check the laws of your state (a quick Google search should do it), but most states are very clear that you, the vehicle owner, have every right to choose the mechanic, auto body shop, or another repairer you want.

 
Your insurer will try to direct you to a list of ‘preferred’ auto body shops. They might try to make it difficult to use a shop that isn’t on their list. They might even tell you they have the right to choose your repair shop for you. In most cases, they do not.

Why you probably shouldn’t use your insurer’s preferred auto body shop


Most insurance companies have entered into agreements with one or more auto body or repair shops in their service areas. These might be called ‘preferred’ shops, a ‘Direct Repair Program’ or something similar, but it amounts to the same deal – the insurance company sends business to the shop, and the shop provides the least costly repairs possible. 

The insurer saves money. 

The body shop gets business, and their REAL customer – the insurance company – doesn't complain if the repair is of low quality, or if the cheapest possible parts are used. The only one who loses out is you.


It is a better idea to seek out your own auto body or repair shop. One who works for YOU, not your insurer. Then you get the quality of workmanship you deserve, the quality your insurance company is obligated to give you – if they can’t wiggle out of it.

Why would my insurer lie about this? Isn’t that illegal?


Well, it would be illegal to outright lie, yes. But many insurers find that lawyers are both less expensive and more effective than clear consciences.

Lawyers are very good at finding ways to let the insurer give you the wrong impression without technically lying.

 
They can make it difficult for you.

They can make it more time consuming. 

They can drag their feet. 

They might say they won't be able to warranty your repairs at your chosen shop (spoiler, the shop almost certainly warranties their own repairs).

They might say that it will take an extra week or more to have an adjuster estimate the damage to your car if you don't use their shop. In the end though, in most states, they will have to admit that you have the right to take your car to your choice of repairer.


Why would they do it? 

Simply put, they'd rather keep more of the money than spending it the way they agreed to. Most insurers give their claims reps very clear goals about this. Most demand that the claims rep steer at least 40% of claims to their ‘approved' shops. 

If they don't manage that consistently, they will soon find themselves out of a job.

So, you don’t have to use the auto body shops your insurer may try to force on you. You don’t have to use ours, either… but you should.

By 7016372726 25 Oct, 2017
1) Don’t automatically settle for your insurer’s ‘preferred’ shops or Direct Repair Program.

These might be perfectly good shops. But it’s best to assume that they aren’t until you check up on them. After all, if they work for the insurance company (not you), who do you think they’ll try to keep happy?

2) Make sure the shop is OEM certified for your type of vehicle.

For example, several major truck manufacturers (Ford, and others) now make one or more trucks with all aluminum bodies. Some repair shops are not OEM certified to work on aluminum. Ask the shop if they have the OEM certification to work on your make and model of vehicle, especially if it is fairly new.

3) Ask if the shop has an ongoing re-certification and training program.

The car industry is changing all the time, and only an ongoing program of training and re-certification can keep a team of technicians on the cutting edge. I-CAR certification (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Repair) is a good indication of keeping up with ever-changing standards. ACRA and ASE certifications are good to see, too.

4) Make sure they have the right tools and equipment.

A shop without the best equipment can still repair a car or truck – but they often can’t repair it perfectly. If they don’t have a squeeze resistance spot welder, for instance, any welds could fall prey to rust contamination. If they don’t have 3-D frame measuring equipment and the latest frame straightening rig, you could have trouble down the line with your alignment, suspension and shocks.

5) Check up on the shop’s reputation

These days, that is easier than ever. There are all the old stand-bys like calling the better business bureau or the Consumer Affairs Office in your county, or the Consumer Protection Office in your state. All of these can give you actual numbers on how many complaints have been made against the shop, as well as details on what the complaints were about and how they were resolved.
And then, of course, there is the internet. There are hundreds of different review and customer feedback websites you can check. Just be careful there. Most of those are essentially unregulated, and many of the reviews – 5 star and 1 star – could be at least partially fake.

6) Lastly, ask around your friends and family.

Who do they use? Would they go back to that shop? How was the customer service? How does the car look/work now?


Of course, you could skip all that, and come straight to Rhinelander Collision Center. But it’s better that you do your homework first. You’ll still probably end up with us, but you’ll feel better about it!

Rhinelander Collision Center

By 7016372726 25 Oct, 2017

First, let’s get one thing straight:


You always get to decide where your vehicle gets repaired. YOU. Not your insurance company!


This is established in law. It varies from state to state, so check the laws of your state (a quick Google search should do it), but most states are very clear that you, the vehicle owner, have every right to choose the mechanic, auto body shop, or another repairer you want.

 
Your insurer will try to direct you to a list of ‘preferred’ auto body shops. They might try to make it difficult to use a shop that isn’t on their list. They might even tell you they have the right to choose your repair shop for you. In most cases, they do not.

Why you probably shouldn’t use your insurer’s preferred auto body shop


Most insurance companies have entered into agreements with one or more auto body or repair shops in their service areas. These might be called ‘preferred’ shops, a ‘Direct Repair Program’ or something similar, but it amounts to the same deal – the insurance company sends business to the shop, and the shop provides the least costly repairs possible. 

The insurer saves money. 

The body shop gets business, and their REAL customer – the insurance company – doesn't complain if the repair is of low quality, or if the cheapest possible parts are used. The only one who loses out is you.


It is a better idea to seek out your own auto body or repair shop. One who works for YOU, not your insurer. Then you get the quality of workmanship you deserve, the quality your insurance company is obligated to give you – if they can’t wiggle out of it.

Why would my insurer lie about this? Isn’t that illegal?


Well, it would be illegal to outright lie, yes. But many insurers find that lawyers are both less expensive and more effective than clear consciences.

Lawyers are very good at finding ways to let the insurer give you the wrong impression without technically lying.

 
They can make it difficult for you.

They can make it more time consuming. 

They can drag their feet. 

They might say they won't be able to warranty your repairs at your chosen shop (spoiler, the shop almost certainly warranties their own repairs).

They might say that it will take an extra week or more to have an adjuster estimate the damage to your car if you don't use their shop. In the end though, in most states, they will have to admit that you have the right to take your car to your choice of repairer.


Why would they do it? 

Simply put, they'd rather keep more of the money than spending it the way they agreed to. Most insurers give their claims reps very clear goals about this. Most demand that the claims rep steer at least 40% of claims to their ‘approved' shops. 

If they don't manage that consistently, they will soon find themselves out of a job.

So, you don’t have to use the auto body shops your insurer may try to force on you. You don’t have to use ours, either… but you should.

By 7016372726 25 Oct, 2017
1) Don’t automatically settle for your insurer’s ‘preferred’ shops or Direct Repair Program.

These might be perfectly good shops. But it’s best to assume that they aren’t until you check up on them. After all, if they work for the insurance company (not you), who do you think they’ll try to keep happy?

2) Make sure the shop is OEM certified for your type of vehicle.

For example, several major truck manufacturers (Ford, and others) now make one or more trucks with all aluminum bodies. Some repair shops are not OEM certified to work on aluminum. Ask the shop if they have the OEM certification to work on your make and model of vehicle, especially if it is fairly new.

3) Ask if the shop has an ongoing re-certification and training program.

The car industry is changing all the time, and only an ongoing program of training and re-certification can keep a team of technicians on the cutting edge. I-CAR certification (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Repair) is a good indication of keeping up with ever-changing standards. ACRA and ASE certifications are good to see, too.

4) Make sure they have the right tools and equipment.

A shop without the best equipment can still repair a car or truck – but they often can’t repair it perfectly. If they don’t have a squeeze resistance spot welder, for instance, any welds could fall prey to rust contamination. If they don’t have 3-D frame measuring equipment and the latest frame straightening rig, you could have trouble down the line with your alignment, suspension and shocks.

5) Check up on the shop’s reputation

These days, that is easier than ever. There are all the old stand-bys like calling the better business bureau or the Consumer Affairs Office in your county, or the Consumer Protection Office in your state. All of these can give you actual numbers on how many complaints have been made against the shop, as well as details on what the complaints were about and how they were resolved.
And then, of course, there is the internet. There are hundreds of different review and customer feedback websites you can check. Just be careful there. Most of those are essentially unregulated, and many of the reviews – 5 star and 1 star – could be at least partially fake.

6) Lastly, ask around your friends and family.

Who do they use? Would they go back to that shop? How was the customer service? How does the car look/work now?


Of course, you could skip all that, and come straight to Rhinelander Collision Center. But it’s better that you do your homework first. You’ll still probably end up with us, but you’ll feel better about it!

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