In California, anti-steering regulations were passed in 2016 to ensure that insurance companies could not illegally steer consumers toward specific auto repair shops if they required auto work. The regulations prohibit insurers from statements that are misleading or deceptive with the intent of directing patrons toward a specific auto repair facility. In the past, there was a tendency to make deals with specific repair facilities to both the facility and the insurance company’s mutual benefit, so insurers directed consumers to these “approved” repair shops. Now, with the new regulations in place, it’s illegal for them to do so.
The reality is that the consumer always has the right to choose their own auto repair shop when they need repairs after an accident, collision, or breakdown. It’s very possible that your insurance company may make “suggestions” or “recommendations” for where they think you should go, but they are in no way able to undermine or change their coverage based on which shop you decide to use. You may review their list and find a repair shop you like on there, or you may not. If you have your own preferred shop, you can have your repair work done there even if it’s not a “recommended” shop from your insurance provider. If you’re receiving pushback from your provider, it’s worth double-checking your rights to ensure that they’re not breaking the law by misleading you into doing what they want you to do.
In addition to the laws stipulating that insurance providers can’t be untruthful about your rights to choose your shop, they also support existing laws that say an insurance provider can’t force you to go to a specific shop and that you always have your right to choose. The stipulations also include reasonable timeframes for inspection of your damaged car and distance regulations so that they can’t use other underhanded tactics to shepherd you into a shop of their choosing. The regulations also complement the Auto Collision Repair Labor Rate Survey regulations, which ensure that you’re not overpaying or paying out of pocket for collision repairs to your vehicle.
Accidents and car repairs are already stressful enough. There’s no reason to add to that stress by feeling forced to go to an auto repair shop you didn’t choose yourself. At Cline Collision, we do everything we can to make things less strenuous for you, from helping you fill out and file your insurance paperwork to giving you online access to check the status of your vehicle. If you have any questions, please let us know.