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Understanding Insurance companies and the auto physical damage claims process

Insurance companies do vary in service and quality. Progressive and Gieco are on the lower end generally speaking but service and quality also vary within the same companies by region, often randomly. That being said, in my experience (35 years in the collision repair business) by far the biggest influence on claim handling, repair quality and customer satisfaction is the relationship between the insurer and the body shop. As a general rule body shops have an adversarial mindset with insurance companies and don't see them as customers. A well managed professional collision repair shop sees the vehicle owners and their ins. companies as both important and deserving of respect. The goal is a high quality, timely repair at a reasonable price with as little interruption in the customers life as possible. By focusing on doing the job right the first time, clear communication, accurate damage analysis and documentation, the body shop can deliver high customer satisfaction and make a fair profit at the same time.
Manufacturers like Tesla that have rigid equipment, training and facility standards play an important role in the process too. They will not sell collision repair parts to non certified repair facilities. This practice will become more widespread as more vehicles use aluminum and increase in complexity. Their guidance and technical support will lessen the misunderstanding that sometimes occurs during the claim settlement process.
Here's what to look for in a good repair facility.
1. Is the place clean and well organized?
2. Do they have ongoing training and certification programs for their employees?
3. Do they manage the whole process from start to finish? They should not give you "unpaid work" or try to get you involved.
4. Do they guarantee their work?
5. Do they have a positive professional relationship with the insurance industry? They shouldn't badmouth the insurers or their competitors.
6. Will they make the whole process seamless and easy?

Thanks for a well written and informative post. It appears if you stick to your guns, Geico (and others) would have no option but to do repairs in a Tesla authorized shop.

You're welcome. Almost everything insurers do is cost driven and that's not always a bad thing. Getting work done quickly and correctly is better for everyone. In my experience it's been rare that they were not willing to pay for the level of service and quality they agreed to provide to their customer. As repairers, our task is to continuously improve and provide higher value to them and their insureds for the amount they are able to pay.


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