What Is Steering?
We aren’t referring to the use of a steering wheel. ‘Steering’ is also a term used for the practice of insurance providers suggesting specific body shops for repairs and it’s against the law. The insurance companies are essentially ‘steering’ their customers to a shop that is on their list. This ‘steering’ is against the law in Oklahoma. Even if your insurance company is based in another state, Oklahoma law protects against this practice. Every person who operates a motor vehicle has the option of choosing what shop they use to fix their vehicle.
How To Recognize
Your insurance company may suggest a body shop as their preferred choice, it may even be a list of shops. Other times the steering isn’t so apparent. Insurance providers may not directly suggest a certain shop but instead state such claims as ‘work will not be warrantied with the shop you chose’ or ‘work will be delayed because an adjuster will have to inspect’ and ‘that shop won’t agree with our appraiser.’ Other ways insurance companies steer you to contracted shops is stating rental cars won’t be covered or costs of repairs will be lower with their shops.
The truth is warranties are offered by the body shops not insurance companies. Every reputable shop will offer a warranty on their work and include the warranties of the parts. Also, time is of the essence with claims and the process is guided by certain deadlines. Any delays suggested by insurance provider, for NOT using a preferred shop, are simply untrue.
The Dangers of Steering And What You Can Do
No matter if the steering is obvious or disguised in misleading statements, the contracted shops that are being used by insurance providers, work for the insurance providers not the consumer. They want to keep the work coming from the insurance companies, so they will contract for lower pricing. What this means for a person, who has suffered damage to their vehicle, is possible corners being cut to keep the bottom line low. Whether it is for convenience or lower costs with substandard parts, a ‘preferred’ shop may not be in your best interest. Safety and quality workmanship should be the priority with any repairs.
After an accident, when filing a claim, remember your rights as an auto insurance policy holder. You have the right to choose any body shop to do the repairs to your vehicle. Freeman Collision Center works with ALL insurance providers and will discuss your policy coverage with you, when needed. We even assist you with your claim. Freeman Collision works for you, the customer!