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Posted by Alexander Body Vehicle Insurance Tips

What’s a Direct Repair Program and Why Do I Care?

Car body repair

Your worst nightmare has come true.

You’ve gotten into an accident, and damaged your car.

Someone tried to steal your car and popped your ignition…

A tree has fallen into your backyard and smashed your car leaving you without a ride.

In all these scenarios, let’s say that everyone is okay, but this still means that you’ve got to call your insurance company and do what’s necessary to get your car fixed.

Here comes the true nightmare part of the process. Finding out about your coverage levels, and learning what you need to do next is often frustrating, but necessary. One of the things that this involves is finding a repair shop. You’ll find that your insurance company may have a particular body shop or shops in mind that they’d prefer you to take your car to because they are a member of the insurance company’s direct repair program (DRP).

Sounds good, right?

It’s all lined up for you. Not so fast… it’s just a bit more confusing that they would have you believe.

What A Direct Repair Program Entails

A direct repair program may also be called a DRP. It’s a program that insurance companies have partnered with certain body shops when their customers need to have their car fixed under their auto insurance policy. The shop is getting more business thanks to this direction of the insurance company, and this makes the shops want to give the insurance company incentive to use them as part of the direct repair program. This means that they help the insurance company save money in exchange for more customers who may use them for non-insurance jobs.

There are some hints that let you know that your insurance company is using this type of arrangement if they don’t call it a direct repair program. They may say that they have network shops or select service that they try to point you in the direction of going to instead of other shops. They may also have the shops referred to selective, network, preferred, or recommended when the insurance company representative is speaking with you.

Overall, this sounds great, right? You have an auto shop that’s going to work well with your insurance company, and make this easier for you, right? That’s not exactly the case. The issue that comes up with this type of program is that they put particular rules on these auto shops, and at times, they can make these shops do things to your car that they wouldn’t necessarily do to your car if they didn’t have to follow the rules.

Why Do Direct Repair Programs Exist?

You may think that a direct repair program would exist to protect you as the consumer. It may seem like your insurance company is looking out for you to make sure you get the right service to make your car ready for the road, but it’s all about the insurance company’s benefit. This type of arrangement allows for the insurance company to maximize the profits they make while minimizing their costs. They’re able to better control the repairs done, and the price of these repairs. This means that some claims pay out less by the insurance company.

For instance, auto shops that are under contract with an insurance company through a direct repair program often have incentives to get your car repaired quickly and cheaply meaning that quality may not be a top priority. In fact, some of these contracts may have language that requires the repair shop to pay for additional days of a rental vehicle if the repair isn’t completed by the deadline set by the insurance company. These types of motivations may make you a little worried about what shape your car might be in when you get it back. Will it truly be safe and properly repaired? That can make anyone nervous.

Your parts may be counterfeit, junkyard, non-factory, or remanufactured parts, and while you may get a warranty on these parts, how well will that paper warranty protect the safety of you and your family? That’s some food for thought.

How to Find a Facility Outside of This Type of Program

Finding a facility outside of the direct repair program is possible, and gives you the freedom to make your own choices. Ask your insurance agent about your choices when it comes to auto shops, and if you can pick one that may not be one of their networked partners. There may be language in your contract that makes you use their facility, but that’s not the case with most policies. After you’ve verified that you’re free to visit another facility, start doing your homework. Make phone calls, and learn what other repair facilities think about what’s happened to your vehicle.

Alexander Body and Fender has very few DRP relationships. This isn’t by accident, it’s by design. We want to play by YOUR rules and fix your vehicle correctly, rather than inexpensively. The first call you make after an unfortunate accident should be to us.

We get you towed, estimated, and start building your claim with the insurance company. Then we negotiate that claim on your behalf… which we do every day.

Leave it to us.

We work for you.
There’s a reason we’ve been the gold standard since 1928.

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Alexander Body & Fender