There is a lot of misinformation out there about the legality of waiving a deductible. My understanding is an agreement between a private party and the body shop is between them. However, That being said, you have to consider who is offering it and what you are going to not get and are their illegal activities occurring that make this possible. There just isn’t enough profit in the collision repair business to eat deductibles. You will find that most of the time, the customer is going to get something different than what the insurance is going to be billed for. It may save you money but it may be unethical and possibly fraudulent.
Typically an auto body shop that works with an insurance company will not discount your deductible amount. This would seem unethical in that it would appear they would just over-inflate the estimate to cover your deductible amount so that the insurance company ends up paying the entire amount for repairs, which is not right since you agreed to a deductible amount in your policy.
If the body shop did not inflate the estimate to cover the deductible (which is insurance fraud) but instead took your deductible amount off their profit it is likely they would then find ways to cut corners to make up for this amount they did not receive. We would advise against repair or body shops that would cheat insurance companies since they are also likely to cheat you as well.
If you read through your insurance policy you will see that it says that you are responsible for paying the first portion of a repair bill in form of a deductible. If the cost of damage repair comes in less than the estimate, you are still responsible for the amount of the deductible. Any savings legitimately belongs to the insurance carrier. Remember your contract says you will pay the deductible first. Often the amount of the deductible can be more than the body shop makes on a repair so if they discounted customers this amount it would be hard for them to stay in business for long.
When you purchased your insurance policy, you signed a contract agreeing that you will pay the first amount of the claim up to your deductible. Repair shops should not try to hide or pay your deductible for you. This would be considered insurance fraud and thus illegal by both parties in most states. Penalties for insurance fraud are usually quite severe.
Insurance company and body shop appraisers know the cost of repairs and are rarely tricked by inflated or inaccurate estimates. Be wary of the repair shop that offers to save you your deductible. They may be taking short cuts in your repair, which could depreciate the value of your car. There must be a reason they are willing to involve themselves in violating your insurance contract and possibly committing insurance fraud depending upon your state’s laws.
Be wary of anyone who is desperate enough to take these tactics. The chances of them being around long term, to honor any warranty, is slim.
I suggest you shop around. You will definitely feel a difference of professionalism at a shop that isn’t taking these desperate tactics.