A Crash Course in Collision Shops

Liz and Randy Pruitt of Pruitt’s Auto Collision explain the difference between direct repair and independently owned collision shops.

By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Professional Services | Issue: May 2012

Liz and Randy Pruitt of Pruitt’s Auto Collision.

Liz and Randy Pruitt of Pruitt’s Auto Collision.

Having an auto accident can be overwhelming, especially when you have to deal with collision repairs. You need your vehicle fixed quickly, but you want to make sure it’s repaired safely and at a trustworthy shop. Your insurer may refer you to a direct repair shop, but you wonder why they want you to go there – is it for your benefit or theirs?

Randy and Liz Pruitt of Pruitt’s Auto Collision in Owasso feel consumers are wise to ask these questions and more. “It’s like anything else,” says Randy. “Until you are in the position of having to decide who to use, you may never give it much thought.” With over two decades in the auto repair business, the Pruitts are a good source for information.

Liz uses the comparison of medical insurance to explain the difference between a direct repair shop and an independently owned shop such as Pruitt’s. “A direct repair shop is like an  HMO for collision repairs; it’s offered as a convenience, but the shop signs an agreement that means they work for the ­insurance company, not for you.” As a result, these direct repair shops are obligated to limit your repairs to your insurer’s cost guidelines, and not to the strict quality and safety standards set by your car’s manufacturer.

On the other hand, an ­independently owned shop is more like a PPO plan. Pruitt’s Auto Collision does not have a contract with any insurance ­company. “Our goal is to repair the vehicle the way the customer wants it repaired, using original equipment manufactured parts,” states Liz. “As an independent shop, we have the flexibility to say no to inferior parts that a direct repair shop may have agreed to use.”

The Pruitts are seeing more and more customers who share that after an accident, they have called their insurance company and been assured that their repair will be handled more quickly, or with less paperwork or a better price, if they use a repair shop recommended by the insurance company. Liz says sometimes they are even told they can go anywhere, but the adjuster can’t get there as quickly, they will have to pay for a rental car out of pocket and be reimbursed, or they will have to pay the difference in repair costs if they choose to use a shop not recommended by their insurance agent. “We’ve even had customers who were told that their repairs would not be guaranteed if they didn’t use a direct repair shop, which is ­simply not true,” says Liz.

Today’s vehicles have many safety systems in place, and they must be properly repaired or replaced after an accident in order for them to perform ­correctly in a collision. Bumpers are one of the most frequently damaged parts and one that is critical to provide proper ­protection in a crash. “Always ask where the parts are coming from – are they new or after-market or refurbished?” Randy advises.

Randy says the bottom line is being able to trust the shop. Randy is ASE and I-CAR trained, and is certified on the Chief frame machine and PPG paint systems. The Pruitt’s painter, John Nash, adds over 40 years of experience, and Jason Linzy has over 15 years ­experience. Tulsa Tech student Nathan Haar is a shop helper.

Free estimates and front door service welcome you at Pruitt’s. Just pull up under the canopy, and Randy will evaluate the damage and give you a ­written estimate for parts and labor. There is a Hertz Rent-A-Car onsite, and Pruitt’s will be happy to work with your insurance provider, while ­providing you the final say in repairs.

Visit the Pruitt’s website, www.pruittsautocollision.com, and find them on Facebook and Twitter. Pruitt’s Auto Collision is located on the east service road of Highway 169 at 8231 N. Owasso Expy. Business hours are Monday through Friday from7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

For more information, contact

Pruitt’s Auto Collision

8231 N. Owasso Expy.Owasso, OK 74055(918) 274-4499www.pruittsautocollision.com

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Pruitt's Auto Collision

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Pruitt's Auto Collision

(918) 274-4499 | Fax: 918-274-0405
8231 N. Owasso Expressway | Owasso, OK 74055
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