• Karolena Serratos

Have you been steered before?

Insurance companies have “preferred shops” –but whom really do they benefit? Have you ever been told you have to take your vehicle to a shop on their list?

Insurance companies have been catching fire lately as one of the long time automotive industry known facts is finally being revealed to the general public. (Most recently CNN and other news outlets). Insurance companies tell their insured they must visit a preferred shop—or at least they do very little to remind the consumer (if at all) they have freedom of choice when it comes to repairs. This practice is called steering.

But why does steering matter? Wouldn’t the insurance company want to make sure my vehicle is being fixed properly and to ensure my vehicle is the same inside and out as it was before my accident?

Let’s gather some facts.

  • Preferred service centers have a guaranteed revenue stream coming from these insurance companies.

  • The insurance company can save hundreds of dollars by having substandard parts installed on a vehicle. Multiply this by all the claims and we are talking millions of dollars in savings.

  • When a shop disputes or refuses to install a part an insurance company instructs they can be strong-armed into loosing the business or worse permanently blacklisted from future repair work.

  • Insurance companies have massive offices where personnel sit at cubicles all day to try to cut costs on the repairs. Shaving a few dollars on each ticket can save tons of money in the long run—however, at the expense of hurting local businesses.

Things to keep in mind and remember include; you have the right to choose who you want to repair your vehicle, be involved as possible in the repair process, and ask your chosen automotive repair facility (wheater preferred, dealer, or independent) if there is anything you can do to help move the process of repairs along.

Now of course not all insurance companies practice this sort of dishonesty. However, it is a serious and growing problem in the industry and consumers need to be aware of the practice and prepared how to avoid it. To watch the CNN video, click here.

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