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
Whole life insurance vs. guaranteed life insurance
Guaranteed life insurance often has lifelong coverage just like whole life insurance, but comes with a high price tag since there is no medical exam required.
Whole life insurance vs. variable life insurance
Two permanent life insurance policies that provide lifelong coverage, though variable life is a riskier investment option than whole life.
Compare tuition insurance
If your child gets sick or injured and has to take time away from college, tuition insurance can reimburse you for what you already paid.
Workers’ compensation vs. life insurance
These coverage options serve different functions but have one benefit in common.
Denied life insurance
Learn the common health reasons that lead to denials and how to get life insurance anyway.
Mortgage life insurance vs. term life insurance
Mortgage life insurance may be a good fit for people with serious health conditions, otherwise term life insurance offers more value and flexibility.
How to take the life insurance exam blood test
Learn what to expect from the blood test portion of your paramedical exam.
Survivor benefit plans vs. life insurance
Survivor benefit plans pay out a monthly benefit to your surviving spouse or dependents — you won’t be able to designate any other beneficiary.
How to get health insurance
The best time to buy an affordable policy is NOW — during the annual open enrollment period.
Asbestos and home insurance
Learn when your home insurance policy would and wouldn’t pay to remove this building material.
Ask an Expert