Approved shops are beholden to tightfisted insurers. Auto insurers contract with providers to repair vehicles for a pre-negotiated rate. And your car could be the victim of cost cutting. “Insurers have wired the shops to give them so many discounts that, to stay alive, the shops often do the bare minimum,” says Erica Eversman, of Vehicle Information Services, which provides consulting and forensic experts for both insurers and consumers.
Not all replacement parts are created equal. Original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are designed to match precisely and may be safer. But insurers prefer that shops use generic or salvage replacement parts because they’re cheaper. Mechanics routinely blame missed deadlines on delays in parts delivery.
A rented car will cost you. If you need a minivan while your car is in the shop, make sure you have minivan-size coverage, for example Toyota Prius Minivan
Your car needs a shop that speaks its language. Insurers won’t necessarily recommend these shops, but they should be willing to pay the tab.
Nearly all shops will guarantee their work, and parts makers guarantee their parts, making the insurance warranty all but worthless.
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