4 Collision Repair Insurance Myths

Being involved in an auto collision can be a frightening experience. Once you’ve gotten past the initial shock of the accident itself and the aftermath, you have to start worrying about the next step—getting your vehicle repaired.

You’ve probably heard nightmare stories about insurance companies and collisions. Everyone knows someone who’s gotten a bad deal from their auto insurance carrier following an accident, from unprocessed claims to shoddy repairs to a complete refusal to take care of the problem.

Fortunately, there are a lot of common myths out there about collision repair insurance, and you can make sure that your auto insurance company takes care of everything so you can get your vehicle back and return your life to normal.

Myth #1: You have to use the repair shop the insurance company chooses

Some insurance companies try to tell their policy holders that repairs for vehicles involved in collisions will only be covered if they’re done at approved auto body shops. They may refer you to a network of preferred providers—who have often made deals with the insurance company in exchange for more business. Or the carrier may present you with a list of direct repair options.

This claim is not only false, it’s illegal. Auto insurance carriers must uphold the insured drivers’ right to choose their own preferred collision repair shop, and the repairs must still be covered by the insurance company.

Myth #2: You have to use the repair shop with the lowest bid

This myth is related to myth #1, in that insurance companies want to pay the lowest amount possible on claims. While that may be true, you still have the right to choose any collision repair shop you want to work with, and have it covered by your insurance provider.

In fact, opting for the lowest bid is often not in your best interests. Some repair shops may offer lower prices, and provide substandard service and parts that will create safety risks with your vehicle.

Myth #3: After the insurance company issues a check, you have to pay out of pocket for additional charges

As part of the claims process, insurance companies typically send an appraiser to create an estimate of the damage and the repairs that will be required. However, an estimate is never exact—that’s why it’s called an estimate.

If your collision repair shop finds additional damage during the repair process, they will notify the insurance company that further work will be required. Most large collision repairs wind up having at least one addition to the original estimate, and sometimes more, depending on the extent of the damage.

Myth #4: If your chosen shop’s estimate is higher than the insurance company’s estimate, you have to pay the difference.

Again, this is not true. Wisconsin state law requires auto insurance carriers to negotiate in good faith with collision repair shops, and arrive at an agreed-upon price for the repairs. Professional repair shops will act as advocates for their customers, and work directly with insurance companies to ensure fair coverage.

If you’re involved in a collision, you don’t have to fear your insurance company. When it comes to collision repair shops, you always have a choice.