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Am I required to use the collision repair shop my insurance company recommends?

Go to a shop that you know and trust.

April 3, 2019

Your car has been damaged in an accident and your insurance company suggests several "preferred" repair shop. You may want to use them. Just remember, you're not required to do that.

"By law, you have the right to take your car to whatever shop you want to get an estimate and the work that needs to be done," said Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Checkbook.org. "The problem is the insurance company doesn't necessarily have to agree with that shop's assessment and estimate of those costs."

If the insurance company and that shop don't agree on the work that needs to be done, that could slow things down.

What does Checkbook recommend?

If there's just minor damage, "it probably makes sense to go ahead and take your car to either a drive-in appraisal center and get paid for the work that needs to be done right away, or just take it to a shop that the insurance company recommends," Brasler told me.

If the damage is significant, go to a shop that you know and trust (which could be one that's recommended by the insurance company.)

"If there's major damage done to your car, you really need a shop that is going to work for you, that's going to advocate for you and really communicate well with the insurance company to make sure that all the work you need done, gets done," Brasler said.

Checkbook is a subscriber-based consumer service, but as a courtesy to STAR listeners, the complete Local Body Shop report, including the local ratings, will be available on this website through April 4, 2019.

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