Nobody plans in advance to be in a car accident. But if you drive a vehicle, then road accidents are always an unfortunate possibility. The more you drive, the more likely you are to have one. This ties in with the #1 ripoff scam that accident victims fall prey to after their vehicle has been damaged in a collision event. "STEERING" As soon as you call your insurance company to start negotiations for car repair payments, they begin `steering’ you towards a collision repair shop of their own choice, so they can cut corners and save money on the repair job.
Do all insurance companies do this all the time? No. But they do it so often, and so successfully, that `steering’ has become a serious national issue these days, we as the shops need to educate accident victims on their legal rights when they are being `steered’ by ruthless insurance agents.
At the root of `steering’ is a system called DRP aka Direct Repair Program. Collision repair shops who sign up to be a member of the DRP program with any insurance company are willing to compromise on the repair job, and even put `unsafe’ cars back on the road again because it saves the insurance company a lot of money. In return, these auto repair shops get a steady stream of customers that their insurance partner now `steers’ or directs towards them. It’s a win-win partnership for both these entities. The only party losing out is you – the customer – who is probably taking home an unsafe car with a lot of damage that is still left unfixed.
But the sad commentary on this situation is this: most car-owners who not know what DRP is. And when they have just experienced an auto accident, they find themselves in unfamiliar territory where the insurance guy seems like the most dependable person who has your best interests at heart. No, he doesn’t. Insurance is a business, and his only concern is how to keep the business profitable.
You got to stop thinking of insurance as an authoritative entity that exists to protect your rights. They exist to make profits. And you are merely pawns in the profits game. Say NO to steering. Be aware that when your insurance agent says that you will get a better and more timely repair job if you go a repair shop of their choice – do not believe it.
Find your own auto collision shop. It is your legal right. Go with a shop that is trustworthy and will do a consultation to make sure you (as the customer) are in their best interest. Ask family and friends for recommendations on a business that puts customers first and does not serve any insurance paymaster. Do your research.
It is hard to believe that this kind of unethical exploitation of people’s ignorance can be happening in a country like the United States. But anomalies exist, and this is one such anomaly that will soon come to a legally mandated stop. But until that happens, take care of yourself. Educate your friends and family member on what DRP is. And why they should not give into the insurance company’s con tactics to make anyone go with their `approved’ partners.
Your safety, and your families safety is in the hands of your auto body