Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Choosing your own repairer vs insurer-preferred mechanic
An insurance-preferred body shop can make claims fast, but your local shop may know your car better
When deciding between your own auto repair shop or one approved by your insurance company, consider the shop’s reputation, convenience for your schedule and location and any repair guarantees offered.
Should I use the body shop my insurance company recommends?
If you don’t have a favorite repair shop, you can go with one that the insurance company approves. Reasons to use the preferred shop:
- Streamlined repair process. Many insurance companies pay the repair shop directly, meaning you could avoid paying out of pocket and getting reimbursed later.
- Insurance coverage approval. If your chosen repairer has quoted a higher price than the insurance company’s, the insurance company might ask you to pay the difference. You have less risk of this situation happening if you go with the insurance company’s approved mechanics.
- Lifetime guarantee. The insurance company can’t vouch for the quality of every auto shop, but it happily stands by its own partners. If the repairs fail or get botched in some way, the insurance company can restore or pay for any damage.
- Vetted repair shops. Your insurance company’s network of mechanics typically come with a strong reputation, offering peace of mind that they do quality work. If an auto shop isn’t up to scratch, it’s going to stand out among the lot of high-quality mechanics.
- Independent mechanics. The mechanics aren’t always the insurance company’s direct employees, but many are standalone businesses with their own reputation to keep intact. That’s a more valuable arrangement to the mechanic than however much time or money saved with a dodgy job.
Can I use my own repair shop after a car insurance claim?
Yes. If you have a mechanic that you know and trust, you might feel more comfortable sticking with them. You have the right to get your car repaired by any repair shop you’d like.
However, repair estimates may not get approved as quickly, and there may be some back-and-forth communication if the insurance company doesn’t agree with your mechanic’s repairs. These issues may not turn into major problems if your mechanic works quickly and offers fair estimates.
Pros and cons: Choosing your own vs. recommended body shop
You might base your decision on the type of repair shop that provides the benefits and peace of mind you’re looking for.
Your own independent mechanic
- You can pick someone you trust
- The mechanic knows your car’s history and repair records
- Convenient to where you live or work
- Lets you support a local business
- Some repairs may have repair guarantees
- You may have to pay out of pocket and wait for reimbursement
- Won’t qualify for lifetime repair guarantee
- Backed by your insurer
- No back-and-forth for approvals
- Often billed directly to auto shop
- Guaranteed repairs covered
- Might qualify for lifetime repair guarantee
- Doesn’t know your car’s history
- Might not be a close or convenient location
What car insurance coverage includes repairs to my car?
Wondering why some repairs are covered by your insurance, while others are left for you to take on? To be covered, the damage should involve one of these coverage types:
- Property damage liability — If someone runs into your car on the road, your repairs will be covered under that driver’s liability coverage.
- Collision — If you run into someone else’s car, this coverage will pay for the damage you caused to your car, but only if you opted for it.
- Comprehensive — If a storm, fallen tree branch or a car fire wrecks your ride, this optional coverage protects this unexpected damage. It also helps with car theft or vandalism.
Compare car insurance companies and their repair shop options
Using an independent mechanic may suit you best if you’ve established a relationship already. Your insurance company’s preferred mechanic might work well if you don’t have your own lined up or you need your claim handled as quickly as possible.
If you’re not happy with your repair shop options, compare car insurance companies to find one with your choice of mechanic or a better group of recommended providers.
More guides on Finder
Best umbrella insurance
Receive extra liability coverage with an umbrella policy from these top insurers, though they may require you to have car insurance through them.
How to start a cleaning business
From making a business plan and getting insurance to marketing and setting your prices — here’s how to start your own cleaning business.
You can now pay for car insurance in Bitcoin – here’s how
You can pay for car insurance in Bitcoin, even if your insurer doesn’t accept it yet.
Texas disaster assistance for the 2021 Winter Storm
Here’s where to get financial help for yourself and your business if you’ve been affected by the storm in February 2021.
Compare life insurance wellness programs
Get an incentive to meet your existing health and fitness goals with a discounted premium.
Compare life insurance for major organ transplant
Learn your policy options based on the type of transplant and your health status now.
Compare living benefits riders for life insurance
Use your death benefits to help pay for medical expenses while you’re still alive.
Compare home renovation insurance
Transform your home without leaving insurance gaps while your home’s under construction.
How to get life insurance after a DUI or driving offense
A poor driving record may result in higher rates on your life insurance, with some insurers turning you away altogether.
Compare life insurance for occupationally acquired HIV
A no-exam policy may work best, but shop around if you’re in good health otherwise.
Ask an Expert