I backed into my husband’s car the other day (I know, I know) and caused damaged to both our cars. My insurance company (Travelers) wants me to take it to one of their places for estimate and repair, though I’m allowed to go anywhere for repairs (but limited to their estimate). My question is: Should I use their place for the repair? What recourse do I have if they do a bad job??? If not, what if all other repair places want to charge more - do I have recourse to have the insurance company increase the estimate?
I looked on google, but literally everything on the first page of results are posts published by a car insurance companies.
Both my wife and I hit animals with our cars within 2 weeks of each other a year and a half ago. The insurance company (State Farm) recommended their “approved” repair centers for both cars, but the lead time to get anything fixed at the time from any of them was several months. Also, I looked into the repair places they recommended and some of them reportedly used sub-standard parts and had poor reputations and bad reviews. The better ones had a waiting list of over 6 months.
I was able to find another non-approved place (a friend who has a body shop) to fix them in a timely manner. The main difference I found in using approved versus non-approved places is that the approved repair shops don’t have to provide estimates to the insurance company in order to get the repairs approved. Since they’re on the recommended list, they just fix the car and send the insurance company the bill. If you use a non-approved repair place, you can still get your car fixed, you’ll just have to get everything approved. It was a bit of a pain, but I ended up getting everything approved and fixed much faster. I had to have several discussion with the claims center.
Also, my experience was the original estimates from the adjusters from the insurance company were pretty far off from reality. So, just to get started was a battle as their numbers were about 50% lower than the estimate from my repair guy. I think part of the problem is the adjusters don’t physically look at your car. Pictures are submitted instead and it’s difficult to provide an accurate view of all the damage. It all worked out in the end, but expect it not to go smoothly.
This was my experience with State farm. Your mileage may vary. Good luck.
About the same with Geico. I am with Hanover now. I replaced the windshield myself $400 and a car break in $852 and had them fix my bumper with $2,700 in damages. I will also likely need to fix drywall and flooring damage caused when a storm damaged our old roof. The roof was $5,800, the drywall damage is $3,000 and the flooring is unknown. Also need to get termites treated and may need to do the siding
I have a bumper I need to snap back on and don’t know if the material that attaches to the bumper needs replacement as someone with rage had kicked my bumper and I didn’t realize it for several months - ugh
USAA says it gives a lifetime warranty on the repair if you use their choice. It worked fine for typical accident repairs, but when my catalytic converter was stolen, they farmed out the handling of the claim, and that was a nightmare. Not the company doing the repair, but the claim handler. My car was in the shop nearly two months…waiting for claim approvals. I had a very nice rental, but picking up a dozen 50 lb bags of feed at a time didn’t go so well in a regular car vs suv. I literally had to go back through usaa to get their chosen claims handler to do their job.
The insurance policy says something to the effect of “repair or replace with like kind and quality.” It sad nothing about estimates or costs. But, they don’t have to pay the estimate you get. Typically, the shops good insurance companies send you to see bc they gave negotiated bulk deals. Just be careful taking just the money, which you can do, then get any lowball you thinking you aren’t going to get the car repaired. Most want give you a hard time about who does the repairs. They care about how much. That’s always negotiable to a point. But, there is nothing wrong with using their preferred shop and could be done advantage due to leverage the company has with them. If you do take a check, be aware you may wind up waiving your right to more money if more damage is found. Watch eat you sign. There is, or was, one well known carrier that had a drive through estimation thing and would offer you a check after the estimate was given. Be very aware of that scenario. The insurance company is obligated to have your car repaired, but if your shop screws it up, you may have a battle ahead.