So your car has been damaged in an accident. You need to get it repaired and you call your insurance company. What do you do now?
Your insurance company is going to suggest one of their shops. They always do. Why? There are a variety of reasons, some real, some imagined. The real reasons first. It is more cost effective for the insurance company. They get a better deal on the repairs. They have negotiated a lower mark up on parts and usually a lower rate on labor. They can put an appraiser there to approve repairs.
Do you notice what is missing from that list? There is nothing about how it helps you. They will tell you it does. They will tell you how the repairs can be done faster. They will tell you about how they guarantee the work. They will tell you that they have made sure this shop has high quality work.
Guess what? The repairs do not get done faster. Most shops guarantee their work. Most shops have high quality work, or they go out of business.
How do you find a good shop? Ask around. Ask your friends or family. Post it on Facebook or Twitter. Someone you know has had their car fixed and knows a good shop - or knows a bad shop to avoid. In California, you have the right to have your car repaired at a facility of your choice. It is called the Auto Body Repair Consumer Bill of Rights.
Make sure you know your rights and you control the repairs. After all, it is your car!