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What is a preferred auto body shop?

June 30, 2022
3 mins
A person works on a vehicle's engine

Finding a good auto body shop can be challenging, especially after you’ve been involved in a collision.

For this reason, insurance companies often refer their customers to a list of preferred body shops to help get their cars back on the road as soon as possible — and decrease the odds of fraud.

What is a preferred auto body shop?

A preferred body shop is an auto repair shop that has a trusted relationship with and has been approved by your insurance company. However, while insurance companies claim they are the best option to repair your vehicle, many customers are hesitant about whether they should use preferred body shops or find their own mechanic.

But it can be beneficial to use a preferred vendor over another mechanic to get your car fixed quickly and efficiently.

Benefits of using a preferred body shop

Insurance companies recommend body shops that meet standards of high-quality estimates, service, and repairs through a direct repair program (DPR), which is in the insurance company’s best interest. A DPR can ensure services are justified and avoid repair facility fraud or opportunistic fraud. For example, a dubious mechanic could exaggerate claims costs or install used parts and charge for new ones. These crimes drive claims costs up and, in turn, increase the overall cost of auto insurance for customers. Keeping claims costs down can ensure you pay low auto insurance rates.

At the same time, a pre-approved shop can benefit customers by helping them get their vehicles repaired quickly and correctly.

When you make a claim, your insurance provider will let you know the details of its preferred auto body shop(s). You can also find a list of preferred auto body shops on your insurance company’s website, mobile app, or by calling or emailing them. Most insurance companies have a tool where you can search your address or postal code to find a list of preferred body shops in your area. Once you’ve chosen a body shop near you, your next step is calling and scheduling an appointment.

Can I use a different body shop than the one my insurance company wants me to?

Even though insurance companies recommend using preferred body shops, you aren’t obligated to use a mechanic from the list in order to have your claim paid.

Suppose you’re looking for a quick repair with minimal hassle. In that case, a preferred body shop can simplify the paperwork, payment, and repairs process since insurance companies pay preferred body shops directly.

On the other hand, the repair process could require additional research if you go to another body shop. You will likely have to get estimates sent to your insurance company prior to repairs being made, and you might have to pay out of pocket for services before receiving reimbursement from your insurance company.

Consulting your insurance company’s list of preferred body shops is an easy way to find a reputable mechanic; however, it isn’t the only way to find an honest body shop. When choosing your own body shop, read reviews online to determine whether the business has a good reputation and communicate with your insurance provider before the shop initiates any work.

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Julia Stratton

Julia Stratton is a freelance writer living in Ottawa. When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a book, running, or cooking up adventurous new recipes in the kitchen.

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