Good comments Horatio - but most insurers will insist on using VBRA approved repairers that way if a duff repair is carried out there is some comeback
I thought you still had the right to choose your repairer, or has that changed? Yes, they try to insist on you using the repairer of their choice, but if you stick to your guns, they should back down.
All of the Renault dealers I have used do their own body repairs, and they've always done an excellent job. They also invariably manage to turn around the car in a sensible timeframe, which is more than can be said for the big specialists.
Now that I think of it, I've actually used a big specialist company twice (different ones on both occasions.) The first time around, I was due to go on holiday with the caravan and needed a car with a towbar, so the other party's insurers stumped up for a Discovery TD5. The car was off the road for about three weeks that time too, though there was more work to be done (rear-ended by a Beemer on the motorway.) I'd probably have remembered it more vividly if I'd been stuck with a lousy poverty spec courtesy car.
As it was, I didn't mind pottering around in The Hogger for three weeks, but then again I wasn't picking up the 85 quid per day rental tab