After an accident, you look to your insurance company for honest advice on what you should do after a loss. Unfortunately, the advice they give you is in most cases not always in your best interests.

Did your insurer almost make it impossible to go to the repairer of your choice?

dorns towing after an accident

Do you feel that they were almost planting seeds of doubt about why you are going to a body shop other than the one they want you to go to?

Do they want you to use their “preferred” network or “express repair location”?

Do they claim to offer lifetime warranties?

Are they telling you that it will take longer to repair or inspect your vehicle if you don’t take it to one of their body shops?

Are they saying that your rental will not be covered?

This is known as “steering,” and all fifty states have laws to protect consumers from this illegal practice.

It’s also a common practice for insurance companies to skirt the law, using misleading statements and intimidation to direct their policyholders to shops that will save them money at the expense of quality, resale value, and more importantly, you and your families safety.

Who loses out when insurers and shops use inferior parts, do not follow O.E.M procedures/requirements, and cut corners? You, the vehicle owner. Not only will you lose value at the time of sale or trade, but your safety can also be a risk.

It is your legal right to have your vehicle restored to the condition it was in before the accident and at the repairer of your choice.

Do not give in to steering. Defend your right to a safe Factory certified collision repair by preparing yourself for these five common statements your insurance company uses to steer you after an accident:

“That shop isn’t on our preferred network.”

Insurance companies use the word “preferred” to describe shops that have entered into a discounted contractual agreement with the insurer in exchange for referrals.

Describing these insurance networks, or “Direct Repair Program” shops as “preferred” suggests that they are selected for superior quality. In reality, insurance company profits are the priority of these shops. They also know that unless they perform the repairs at the lowest possible cost, they will be removed from the program and lose volume.

Preferred shops have been found to use inferior parts and omit factory procedures needed to keep your vehicle safe. Think of all the advanced driver assist systems your vehicle has; would you want someone to guess if they are completely functioning or not? Do not choose a shop that insurance companies prefer.

Choose a shop that demands the vehicle be restored to O.E.M certified using O.E.M procedures, one that protects your interests over your insurance company. Most carriers want one thing at the end of the day, inexpensive repairs.

“The dealer body shop is certified in collision repair, right?”

Keep in mind a dealer can be some of the worst offenders when it comes down to omitting OEM procedures. Most dealer body shops repair the sales side when it has a lot of damage or smaller dents and dings that need repairing prior to sale. In most cases, they are NOT certified on the collision repair side. The service and sales side will be, but the collision repair side is usually an afterthought, and collision repair is NOT something they specialize in doing.

“If you take it to that shop, we can’t guarantee their work.”

This is a common, and blatantly misleading statement. In almost all cases, it is the shop that provides the warranty on the work, not the insurance company. You have an issue at one of the “preferred shops” and you call the carrier, they will simply tell you to contact the shop that repaired it.

At Dorn’s, we provide a nationwide lifetime guarantee on all of the work we perform, regardless of the insurance company. Plus, knowing that we give you an OEM certified collision repair takes the worry out of the repair process.

“The charges at that shop are higher, and you may be responsible for the difference.”

99.9% of the time, the initial insurance estimate on repairs is completely inadequate. This estimate is simply to set their own loss reserves and is not a repair document. This is why we always ask at the initial point of contact who the insurance company will be. When our factory-trained and certified technicians perform an in-depth blueprint/analysis of the damage, they show what is necessary to properly, accurately, and safely repair your vehicle to OEM specifications. This is part of the process, and insurers will pay for needed repairs once the need for necessary repairs is proven.

Dorn’s Body and Paint Inc has certifications from 31 major vehicle manufacturers, including Tesla, Porsche, Audi, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Sprinter, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Nissan GTR, Infiniti, BMW, Mini, Hyundai, Genesis, Volvo, and Volkswagen. These certifications are not given out, and they are NOT “pay to play.” In most cases, we are the only certified repair facility in the Commonwealth. Our technicians train an average of 6 weeks per year out of state at the vehicle manufacturer training centers.

This is why we can tell you the facts about your vehicle loss rather than opinions or hearsay.  We insist on fully restoring the safety of these vehicles, never using inferior imitation parts, and never cutting corners. Sometimes insurance companies resist this approach.

We do everything we can to protect our customer’s vehicles’ safety and resale value and ensure that necessary repairs and procedures are covered.

“Claims take longer to settle at that shop.”

In our experience, delays in the claims process result from a strategy employed by insurance companies to delay and deny justified claims. Unfortunately, for most carriers, it’s all about profits. Sometimes, they will even say, “If you use that shop, we can’t get someone out for several days, but if you use our preferred shop, we have some there to start on it right away.”

This is just another tactic insurance companies use to manipulate anti-steering laws and pressure policyholders to a network shop that will use sub-standard parts, skip required procedures, and do not have the required tooling, training, and equipment in your vehicle needs.

You then must ask yourself, why are they trying to force me to take my vehicle somewhere else? Is this in my best interests or theirs?

“They’re charging for parts and procedures that aren’t necessary.”

When you hear this statement, be aware that some insurers are just trying to avoid fulfilling their legal obligation to you, the policyholder, to restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition. We will never “charge” for anything your vehicle does not need. We base our assessments on the facts based upon our hands-on factory training and not third-hand opinions of random unknown “experts”  The worst part about this is that using inferior parts and skipping procedures has been proven to compromise the safety of your vehicle, to say nothing about the loss of resale value.

Think about it, are today vehicles anything like vehicles from only 3-4 years ago? The technology that comes in today’s vehicles is extremely complex. All of these safety systems MUST work together as one, or they will not work correctly. Carriers use fear and intimidation as a tool as they know most consumers believe that they have their best interests at heart (Thinking about your agent or the person who sold you the policy). They do not know all that is required to repair their vehicle.

Preferred shops will, in almost all cases, bow to insurance company pressures to use inferior parts, not perform required procedures. In contrast, our factory-trained and certified technicians insist on repairs that fully restore the safety systems of your car. If this isn’t done correctly, this is a liability for all involved.

Insurance companies use these statements to intimidate you. They want to scare you into going to a shop that cares more about their profits than they do about your best interests.

Now that you understand the motivations behind these statements, you’re better equipped to make the right choices after an accident. If you have any questions or want to know more, please contact us at (804) 258-6794.

You Have the Right to Dispute Your Car Insurance Company’s Appraisal

The Right of Appraisal Clause allows you, as a policyholder, to dispute the estimate provided by your insurance company. This is already in your policy as protection for you, the consumer, in the event of an issue with the carrier. When the Appraisal Clause is evoked, both you and your insurance company each select an unbiased appraiser. These appraisers will go before an Umpire, who will determine the fair and reasonable amount based on the facts of the repair and subjective opinions. Keep in mind, the people you bought your policy from are, in fact, a salesperson.

They are there to sell policies, and they make a commission off that sale. They will tell you how great the company is and how you will never have any issues…. Until you have a claim, you have no way of knowing this. Now, the claims side has nothing to do with the sales side. They have a completely different agenda that involves cost containment.

They Must Return Your Vehicle to Pre-Accident Condition

Every consumer needs to realize that all insurance policies provide that your vehicle is to be returned to pre-accident condition, with parts that equal to or better than the parts they’re replacing.

The initial estimate your insurance company gives you will often not provide enough to restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition. Fortunately, you are not at the mercy of this initial estimate, and the Appraisal Clause gives you an avenue to receive the proper repairs your policy provides for.

At Dorn’s, we’re one of the few collision repair facilities shops that employ factory-trained Repair Plan Managers to help you navigate the appraisal process. For more information or help with a claim, contact us at

For more information about the Appraisal Clause or any further assistance, call us at (804) 258-6794.

What is a Post-Repair Inspection?

A post-repair inspection is an evaluation performed by a qualified third-party, (Factory Certified Collision Repair Center) in which they examine the quality of the repairs that have been performed after a car accident. The inspector will check that manufacturer guidelines were followed to ensure that the vehicle will perform as it was intended and that it has been restored to pre-accident safety standards.

At Dorn’s, we perform many reinspection’s every year. We see a lot of bad repairs coming from all over the Commonwealth. These are not just poor quality, these are unsafe repairs to the point of the vehicle is now deemed a total loss and scrapped. Yes, even the repair was completed at another shop. We see from independent shops, large chain shops, franchise shops, and ever dealers. This is not that someone willfully wanted to perform a bad job. In most cases the technician had little to no training, little or no equipment and the insurer pushed them to cut corners on repairs so that they could rush the car out of the shop to lower rental car costs. Nonetheless, you the vehicle owner are the ones who suffer the most.

Never take a chance. Even if Dorn’s did not repair your vehicle. Schedule an appointment and allow us to review your vehicle and we will let you know if it is safe or not.

What is a Re-Repair or Corrective Repair

After we review the repair, in some cases, the vehicle will be deemed repairable. We will discuss the repairs with your insurance company and the shop who repaired it. We will only do this service if we know we can provide you with a safe factory certified collision repair.

collision repair tech welding
A lifetime warranty on all collision and auto body repair services and a 24 month / 24,000 mile warranty on mechanical repairs.
collision repair detailer working on car
Getting your vehicle repair can be inconvenient, but not at Dorn's. We have 24/7 towing, friendly service, and on-site rental cars.
collision repair tech sanding
We hire only the very best people to join our team. Then we make sure they are certified and trained to the highest standards.


Your Local Auto Body Shop for All Your Auto Body Needs

Is there a part of your vehicle’s body in need of repair? Whether it’s a fender bender in the grocery store parking lot, or a rusted quarter panel, Dorn’s can help. Our top-rated Richmond auto body shop is your one-stop-shop for all your vehicle repair needs. Not all repairs require auto body work and paint, sometimes the best option might be a pdr repair so we don’t have to paint anything.

Put your car in good hands and get your repairs done right. Contact Dorn’s Body & Paint today for a free estimate!

Call us at (804) 258-6794