Do I have to get my car fixed at the insurance company’s approved shop?

Question:  My car was damaged in a wreck. Do I have to go to the body shop that the insurance company says to go, or can I take it go to a shop of my choice?  Also, do I have to use after-market parts or can I require factory parts.

Robert’s Answer:  Under Texas law, the insurance company may not require that you take your car to any certain repair facility.  You have the right to have your car fixed at a shop of your choice.  Additionally, the insurance company cannot dictate the kind or quality of replacement parts that may be used in the repair.  You have the right to have “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM) parts and materials used in the repair.  In fact, the insurance company is also required to send you written notification of these rights which you should have received within a very short time after the claim was reported.

All you have to do is take you car to the shop of your choice and give them the adjuster’s name, telephone number and claim number.  The shop will handle it from there.  Sometimes however, insurance companies do have pre-approved repair shops that could make the process go smoother.  These shops are already set up to efficiently communicate with the insurance company in the vehicle’s repair and can also get to set up with a rental vehicle all in the same visit.  They also do a good job on the repair and even offer a warranty on the repairs.  So don’t necessarily discount going to an approved shop, but just know that you are not required to do so.

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