Ask An Expert

Brian from Stockbridge asked: How do I choose the right insurance company and why is my choice important?

Several local insurance companies in Michigan do a fabulous job of looking out for their customers. Every year an Insurer Report Card is released using data from more than a thousand body shops to reveal which insurance companies treat their customers best during the claims process (

John and Theresa Kightlinger recently sat down with Brian, one of their returning customers, to discuss some of the issues that arise while choosing a reliable and trustworthy insurance carrier. Below is a Q and A:

Brian: When I brought my vehicle in, I had questions and concerns regarding how my previous insurance company was slowing my repair process. My biggest concern was how much my insurance company wanted to repair my car using unsafe and untested aftermarket parts. Ultimately, my body shop educated me and worked with my insurance company to perform the correct Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) procedures.

John and Theresa: It’s important to choose an insurance provider that values the importance of a safe and proper repair. OEMs design their equipment to perform to specific standards. Aftermarket products may not meet those standards. As an example, a metal brace replaced with an inferior product can give way and result in death.

Brian: You mentioned an Insurer Report Card earlier? Can you help explain to readers the value in using this to determine which insurance company to choose?

John and Theresa: Of course, basically this report card asks shops how well various insurance companies process their claims and how their insurance policies, attitude, and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service.

Brian: The one thing that stood out to me after going over the report card was the fact
I never heard of some of the companies in the top 10.

John and Theresa: Exactly, people are shocked when they see that their major insurance company didn’t make the top 10, let alone receive the national average grade of B-. In fact, of the ten largest insurance companies, none of them received higher than a C+. Mind you, this report gathers data from over a thousand body shops, spanning well over 30 regions, so it’s a fair and accurate report card.

Brian: So the guys with the clever and wild TV commercials aren’t always your best choice?

John and Theresa: Exactly, lower-graded companies tend to have inexperienced claims personnel and push shops to use lower quality, aftermarket parts. They also don’t encourage proper OEM procedures, and they tend to be slow in the communication process. This slows down the whole repair and delays the customers’ getting their cars back. We can’t stress enough how unsafe it can be to use lower quality, aftermarket parts.

Brian: So the best companies encourage the use of original (OEM) parts, and they don’t add extra administrative steps that slow down repairs?

John and Theresa: That’s correct. They don’t pressure shops to cut corners. We recommend that our customers read their policies thoroughly and understand what parts and procedures the insurance company will use. Plus, we feel it’s a body shop’s responsibility to fully educate customers throughout the process of repair. This includes guiding customers along the entire claims process. Most policyholders will never have to work with their insurance companyies’ claims departments. At our shop we work with insurance companies and their adjusters daily, so we can help mitigate some of the stress involved with the repair process for the customer.

Questions about this article or others? Feel free to contact John and Theresa at My Body Shop.

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