Don’t be steered into another accident by your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company. Did you know some insurance companies have ownership in some collision shops? Makes you wonder who the customer really is? Hayward Place Auto Body does not participate in many of the repair networks because of the concessions or stipulations in the contracts, which generally lead to a lower cost/lower quality repair. We believe we have a responsibility to the vehicle owner who is ultimately our customer, not the insurance company. Some practices, such as requiring lower hourly labor rates and making the shop pick up the rental car tab if a repair takes too long, could tempt shops to cut corners. Insurers have wired the shops to give them so many discounts, that, to stay alive the shops often do the base minimum.
The reason insurance companies use carefully crafted word tracks is that the state does not allow insurance companies to “direct”, “steer” or “refer” customers to a particular shop (or they are not supposed to), so they have come up with the word tracks intimidating customers into thinking they have to do what the insurance company says, or they will not pay the claim. Some companies also have bonus programs for employees that successfully steer customers into networks. Don’t think that they have your best interest in mind!!!! Most are just directing claims to whoever their company has a “deal” with, so that they hit a bonus quota.
Whether you choose to use us or another repair shop, don’t be manipulated by insurance companies word tracks.
These are often heard phrases from insurance companies when you want to bring your vehicle to Hayward Place or any shop that is not on their “List”, and what our response is:
- “They are not one of our Direct Repair shops, not on our list, and we can’t guarantee the repairs.”
We are not on anybody’s list – we choose not to be. We identify the vehicle owner as our primary customer, not the insurance company. Insurers sometimes dangle warranties on the parts to entice you to go to their network. But the body shop’s warranty is the one that’s important. Nearly all shops will guarantee their work, and parts makers guarantee their parts, making the insurance warranty all but worthless.
“If you use them, we can’t get an adjuster out for several days. If you take it to our network shop we will have someone start on it right away.”
This is just another ploy to steer you, we have heard insurance companies tell our customers how busy they are and they can’t get someone out for 7 or 8 days. Companies are required to appraise a vehicle within 72 hrs.
2. “If you use that shop, you will have to pay for your rental out of pocket.”
This is not true. Most companies have direct bill agreements with rental companies, but they do not always disclose that. Always remember as a claimant against a company, that you also have specific rights that a policyholder may not have.
3. “They charge more than the prevailing rate and you will have to pay the difference in repair cost.”
The law states that the insurance company will pay the cost of repairs and case law has already determined that labor rate differences of $2.00-$4.00 an hour in a given market area is reasonable and competitive. Sometimes when there are discrepancies in the repair cost because a carrier is trying to force us to do something that is not in your best interest, we can assist you in filing the complaint with the State Department of Insurance. It is a simple form that we can process for you. We’ll make sure that you won’t be required to pay anything extra.
4. “Claims take longer to settle if you use them.”
Well, we do look after everything for you, including making rental car arrangements and dealing with the appraiser. The only delays are caused by the insurance, not us.
These are just few of the word tracks used to manipulate the customer into using a specific repair facility. Be careful – it’s your vehicle; your investment and you have the right to choose who repairs your vehicle.
We would be more than happy to assist you in the claims process. The truth is we work with every company out there, more importantly we do not lose sight of who the customer is. We realize the investment that you have in your vehicle and we want to make sure the value of your investment is not diminished through poor quality visible repairs.