At Richards' Collision Center we often hear the question: Am I required to use the Auto Body Shop that my insurance company recommends? The answer is no, and, often times the insurance company claim representatives pressure consumers into using the body shop that they recommend.
Steering is defined as the act of directing a consumers to or away from any specific auto body repair shop or requiring that repairs be made by a specific repair shop or individual. In most states there is a law against Steering.
While there are networks of preferred providers for collision repair, and direct repair options presented to policyholders when they make a claim, the insured's right to choose MUST always be upheld.
Angie's List reported an excellent article about this very subject and one of many statements on the site give pause:
"The choice is yours — by law, in the majority of cases. Yet a question remains: Will you get a quality repair?
Of course you can gain a quality repair as long as you do your homework. If you want to cut to the chase and find out the true grit behind the advertising hype, simply: "Google" the name of the shop with a "+reviews" after the name to find out what other people have experienced.
A thoughtful set of various reviews is worth a thousand words and more.