Should I use my insurance company’s preferred auto body shop?

Should I use my insurance company’s preferred auto body shop or Direct Repair Partners (DRP’s)?

Your Insurance company has recommended to you that you select a Direct Repair Partner auto body shop with whom they do business in Tucson, but what’s in it for you?  All business are trying to cut cost and boost profit, and the Direct Repair Program (DRP) your insurance company has in place with the body shop down the street is designed to protect your investment and theirs. By lowering operating costs, the insurance companies are able to offer lower, more competitive premiums.

One way insurance companies implement cost cutting measures is by recommending that the people they insure use the direct repair companies with which they are associated. These companies are under contract with the insurance agencies, which allows the agency some perks that they don’t get from a non-contracted repair shop. Here are a few perks the Insurance companies get from signing up a shop to a DRP contract:

  • Free storage– So one of the things in the contract with the direct repairs shops is free storage for the cars they are working on. You may not even realize this, but this storage fee gets worked into the cost you pay for repairs.
  • Free towing– If the direct repair shop ends up towing the car that they later get contracted to work on, the chances of the insurance company ending up paying for the tow truck virtually disappear.
  • Discounts on parts and labor-  in some cases, keeping the costs to the insurance company down where in turn they are not required to pay out as much on their claims.
  • Uniformity in estimating systems and procedures– Most insurance companies demand that a body shop use their preferred estimating and reporting system.
  • Warranties on labor and Materials used– Most good DRP shops offer a lifetime guarantee on the paint and craftsmanship.

These cost savings in the long run get passed on to you the consumer. And with that you get certain insurance company and shop backed guaranties. This is a win-win for the consumer. So the biggest benefit of all to using a DRP shop is peace of mind. But not all DRP shops are the same. Our next installment will deal more directly with what to look for in a shop.

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