Insurers’ Body Shop Plans Draw Criticism

You can’t always choose the doctor you want, but at least you have the legal right to select any body shop to repair your vehicle.

Increasingly, however, auto insurers are attempting to direct their customers to garages that are part of a network, a sort of HMO for wrecked cars. The companies argue that such programs lower costs--because their inspectors don’t have to authorize work in advance--while ensuring competent repairs.

But not everyone is convinced that this is a good deal for consumers.

The California Department of Insurance has received complaints from motorists who say they were pushed into taking their vehicles to garages that did poor-quality repairs. And at least one driver has taken his case to court.



Your Wheels, W2