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What is Direct Repair?

Direct Repair Shops - Insurance Steering

What is a “Direct Repair” shop?

Before we address the big question of “What is Direct Repair?”, let’s take a minute to really break it down…put it in perspective.

Everybody wants a deal. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, you should ALWAYS shop around. But does “finding the best deal” mean you should sacrifice quality? Just like all things in life, it really all depends on what the “best deal” is for.

For example, if you or someone in your family needs a root canal, are you necessarily looking for the best deal or are you looking for a well qualified, licensed endodontist with years of experience performing the procedure with a reasonable price tag?

The same goes for your vehicle. Why would you settle for a sub-par repair when you have paid for the extra insurance coverage to protect that investment? The answer is – because you probably have no idea what a “Direct Repair” shop is AND what it means for you.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

If you live in an area that gets frequent hail storms, you probably have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle(s). If you don’t, you might want to think about it. With comprehensive insurance coverage, your vehicle is protected under the policy. In other words, if it hails and your vehicle ends up with hail damage – your comprehensive insurance policy will cover the damages – minus your deductible. Comprehensive coverage is NOT full coverage. Full-coverage doesn’t cover hail damage.

If you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicles, you probably know it as it is considerably higher in cost than full-coverage but if your vehicle HAS been damaged in a hail storm, you already know the value of this level of coverage.

The average cost to repair a vehicle with hail damage is anywhere between $1.8K – $8K.

Now that we’ve covered what comprehensive coverage is and it’s value, let’s move on.

It’s Your Money. It’s YOUR Choice.

So, what happens when your vehicle has hail damage?

  1. First, you should document the damages yourself by either taking pictures or noting the number of dents per panel. You need to also document the date of the loss.
  2. The next step is to contact your insurance company. They will assign you an adjuster that will come to your home or office to access the damages.
  3. The adjuster will look at your vehicle and determine the amount and severity of the hail damage. They will also provide you with a dollar amount it will take to repair those damages.
    Note:
    You will notice that the adjuster does not use any special lighting or tools to access your damage. They might even try to access the damage in the rain or on a very sunny day. All of these factors will affect the ultimate cost to repair.  As a reputable paintless dent repair shop AND the next step in the process, we will have to reassess the damage – mostly because your insurance adjuster will most likely miss 15-30% of the hail damage. That extra damage that was not accounted for will have to be renegotiated with the insurance company in order to get the additional funds to cover ALL of the hail damage repairs. This is called a SUPPLEMENT.
  4. Get a second opinion from a local paintless dent repair company. This is where the “Direct Repair” part is introduced into the equation. Some insurance companies more than others will offer and even encourage you to choose from their list of “Preferred Shops” or “Direct Repair Shops” in your area. They might even lead you to believe that the PDR shops or auto body shops on their “Direct Repair” list are your ONLY option.

What Is Direct Repair?

To answer the question of “What is Direct Repair,” we needed to set the stage so you know when to be wary of the “Direct Repair” delivery.

As mentioned above, everyone is looking for a deal. This doesn’t exclude your insurance company.

In the event of a hail catastrophe, or a hail storm that damages multiple vehicles and homes in a city(ies), insurance companies get inundated with hail claims. This is when your comprehensive insurance coverage swoops in to save the day and ultimately save you a lot of money on hail repairs. This is also when your insurance company has to come in and make good on their contractual promise to cover damages caused by Mother Nature.

This has the potential of being a MAJOR payout by your insurance company. This is where the “good deal” comes in.

Insurance companies will find paintless dent repair shops and auto body shops that will “work” with them on the cost of repairs. In return, they will “steer” their customers towards these shops.

What’s the Deal?

Like most “good deals,” someone is saving money. In the instance of “Direct Repair” shops and the insurance company that is negotiating a deal, it is the insurance company that is getting the deal.

The following list covers the top two deals your insurance company will get from their “Direct Repair” partners:

  1. Reduced cost of repairs.
  2. Supplement limits.

As a result, these “Direct Repair” shop partners are getting paid less for their work which in turn means less money for their PDR technicians. Because the shop still needs to make money to pay to keep their lights on, rent paid, and employees paid – the shop has to take on more “Direct Repair” deals. This results in lower quality work and rushed repairs.

This takes us back to, “It’s Your Money. It’s YOUR Choice.”

Where you take your vehicle for hail repairs is YOUR CHOICE. Your insurance company can not refuse to pay for your hail repairs simply because the paintless dent repair shop is not on their “Direct Repair” list of shops. In fact, the act of an insurance company “steering” their clients to a “Direct Repair” shop is unlawful and as a whole – effects the entire paintless dent repair industry.

What Can You Do?

Know your rights. The Hail Shop USA has gathered a list of articles that further explain the act of insurance “steering.” In conclusion, it is your choice where you decide to get your hail damage repaired, not your insurance companies. When it comes to hail repair, a “good deal” shouldn’t be the first thing that comes to mind. If you pay for comprehensive coverage, your hail damage repairs are covered under your policy.

Steering resources:

https://www.ican2000.com/statements/steering/index.html

http://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/when-does-insurer-steering-become-illegal/

http://ccbjournal.com/articles/12399/anti-steering-insurance-laws-state-censorship-consumer-information-treads-first-amend

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20180413/bens-auto-body-fights-price-fixing-by-insurers

Optimizing Profit in the Body Shop

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