Should You Go to a Preferred Repair Shop After a Chicago Car Crash? | Staver
legal blog

Should You Go to a Preferred Repair Shop After a Chicago Car Crash?

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents

After your car is damaged in an accident, one of your main concerns is getting it fixed and back on the road. Where should you take your car to get it fixed? Auto shops can be booked, and you may not have the luxury of waiting until they’re available. Your insurer may recommend you take your car to a shop they prefer, but that may not be the right choice.

Learn more about “preferred repair shops,” what they can mean for your car accident case, and how a personal injury lawyer might be able to help you.

What is a Preferred Repair Shop?

Preferred auto shops are mechanics that coordinate and collaborate with insurance companies through “direct repair programs.” Insurance providers steer their customers to a mechanic they have an agreement with who offers services as a one-stop shop. Adjusters can inspect your vehicle, provide an estimate, and then the mechanic can start repairs once you authorize the work.

Many of these programs are billed as quick, guaranteed, easy, convenient, or reliable for you. In reality, using an insurer’s preferred auto shop is actually a ploy to save the insurance company money.

What Are the Issues with Preferred Auto Shops?

There are several potential issues with preferred auto shops, including:

  • Your insurer dictates the scope of repair work. Through their agreement, your insurer can limit the work that can be done on your car. Sometimes, that scope is far too narrow than the work that would fix your car fully.
  • Auto shops are “guaranteed” work. With their preferred agreement in place, an auto shop is being promised work through insurance companies and their clients. This means they’ll only accept the scope set by your insurer, which may affect your repairs.
  • Auto shops turn to cheap parts to recover losses. Because a limited scope of work will generally mean lower revenue, many auto shops will find a way to improve their profit margin. If they can’t charge more for work, they’ll need to look at how much they spend. That means cheaper solutions like generic replacement parts.
  • Using generic parts can put you at risk. Many preferred auto shops are looking to make repairs that are “good enough.” The parts they’re saving money on may not be a high quality. These sub-par parts could increase the chance of a malfunction, which may lead to a crash.
  • Preferred auto shops may not have vigorous standards. Whether it’s their staff, their work, or the parts they buy, some mechanics are saving money wherever they can. Their mechanics might not be fully vetted, their parts could be salvaged or generic, and they may not take as much time as they should to repair your car. They might fix the car, but they won’t make it safe.

Just because some shops use substandard methods to repair cars doesn’t mean all experiences are like this. However, you should review your options before taking your car to a preferred mechanic.

How Insurers Persuade You to Use a Preferred Shop

Your insurer may use a vague statement to encourage you to use a preferred auto shop. They may tell you a non-preferred shop does meet the insurer’s standards. Your insurer could say they would have challenges handling your claim with a non-preferred shop.

Insurers might also tell you your repairs could be delayed. Although they might not be outright lies, these issues should not be a major factor for your insurer. Auto repair shops should be well-versed with insurance claims, so you can be in good hands to find the shop that’s right for you.

Your insurer may use bad faith tactics to persuade you to use their preferred auto shop, but you can discuss your repair options with a Chicago car accident lawyer.

FAQs About Car Repairs and Preferred Auto Shops

Can My Insurer Force Me to Go to a Preferred Shop?

You should have the freedom to choose where to get your car repaired. So unless you signed a contract with your insurer agreeing to take your car to their preferred shop, you can refuse to take it there. You are the only person able to “release” your car with a mechanic and sign off on the repairs.

How Do I Find a Reputable Repair Shop?

You can search for a better option if you have doubts about using a preferred auto shop. Resources like online reviews, AAA’s repair shop options, or even the Better Business Bureau can aid you in your search. You should look for a shop that offers lifetime warranties on their work, certifications for parts, and favorable reviews.

Will I Need to Pay Anything Upfront?

You may need to pay your deductible before your insurer covers the rest of the repairs. Some auto shops may waive your deductible or cover it themselves. During your search, ask how shops handle payments.

Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you should call a personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. First, a lawyer can ensure you have an accurate idea of your damages. They can hold your insurer accountable and advise you if you’re not getting the best treatment. An attorney can evaluate an adjuster’s claims and help you get the best compensation possible for your case.

Call a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Now

The Staver Accident Injury Lawyers know how troubling a car accident can be. Even something as minor as a fender bender can disrupt your life. We want you to get better, financially and physically. We’re ready to hear your case and help you get your life back on track.

We’ve helped clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars throughout the years. We will fight for you and ensure you are taken care of after an accident. You won’t owe any fees upfront; you’ll only pay if you win a settlement.

Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online form to schedule your free initial consultation.

Free Consultation
(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
Skip to content