DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE STEERED OR
DIRECTED BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY
Article By: Michael Burke (PA Collision Trade Guild Member)
You have been involved in an accident or your vehicle has been damaged by a falling tree or some other means. Now it’s time to call your Insurance Company about damages. Most insurance companies have body shop programs set up that are called “Direct Repair Programs” or “DRP” for short. These programs appear on the surface to be a great deal for everyone involved, emphasizing how quick the collision repairs can be completed and also “Guaranteed.” In reality these programs can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Disclosure: What is not disclosed to you, the consumer, are the anti-consumer deals that are agreed upon between the “DRP” body shop and the Insurance Company. Proper disclosure is a key element in any business transaction. For the body shop to be a participant in the “DRP” program they must agree to deep discounts on parts and labor, as well as paint materials and other allied materials needed in the repair of your vehicle.
Imitation/aftermarket parts made by off shore manufacturers are also a mandatory requirement for repairs to your vehicle. Remanufactured and used parts being used are the norm. Salvaged steering and suspension parts are removed from vehicles at “Junk Yards,” then used in the repair of your vehicle. Keep in mind that “Junk Yard” vehicles have been classified non-repairable or a “total loss” as a result of being involved in an accident or for other reasons. The cost of repairs may be the primary consideration at “DRP” shops. The quality of the repairs or the safety of the vehicle may no longer be a primary concern. This is regardless of the age or the condition of your vehicle.
“DRP” shops receive “severity” reports from their “Insurance Partner” which outlines their compliance with cost saving measures that are demanded by the Insurance Company. “DRP” shops that do not comply with these cost saving measures can be dropped from the program for non-compliance.
“DRP” agreements usually include a “Hold Harmless” clause which means that in case of a problem or a lawsuit against the Insurance Company and the shop, the Insurer by written agreement with the shop is absolved and “Held Harmless”. What this means is that the Insurance Company is pardoned of any financial responsibility and the “DRP” shop will be responsible for any judgments against the Insurance Company.
With “disclosure” being so important, and when being pressured to take your vehicle to a “DRP” shop, ask the Insurance Company for a written copy of the “DRP” agreement they have with the “DRP” shop as well as any “Hold Harmless” Agreements.
You work hard for your money and your automobile investment. Would you work this week for 10, 15, or even 20% less than you did last week? That’s exactly what the “DRP” shop may be doing to repair your vehicle.
Remember the choice is always yours, not the Insurer’s, for repairs to your vehicle. Choose an Independent Repair Shop that will repair your vehicle to your standard of safety and quality.