Taking out car insurance should be about peace of mind in the unlucky event your car is in an accident. Often times however dealing with some insurance companies and their preferred repairers after an accident can be as much of nightmare as the actual accident itself.
The following are our tips for you take back control over a tough situation so you have a say in how your vehicle is repaired, who repairs it and when it is repaired.
"Ultimately it's about choosing an insurance company that respects that you paid a premium and gives you the opportunity to decide the fate of your car"
Your car is one of your most important assets. You always want to be assured that if your car does get damaged that it gets taken care of properly. Checking you have chosen the right policy is key to avoiding the double whammy of your car getting damaged and not having it repaired the way you want. Ultimately it’s about choosing an insurance company that respects that you paid the premium and gives you the opportunity to decide the fate of your car.
TIP #1: Ask Questions
Asks questions and make sure you’re satisfied with the answer. If not, change to a policy that you’re comfortable with. There are lots of options available and car insurance pricing is competitive, but the way your car is repaired can be worlds apart.
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK
Do I have choice of repairer?
What happens if I choose my own repairer?
Will my vehicle be repaired with original (OEM) parts?
Do I have a say in how it will be repaired?
THINGS INSURERS MIGHT SAY
Some insurance companies use subtle tactics to steer their customers to where they want them to go. They say things like:
“We can’t guarantee the repairs”
All credible repairers offer a lifetime guarantee on their work which includes the repairs and paint. Again ask your repairer about this for more information.
“If you choose your own repairer settlement or repairs will be delayed”
Coordinate with your chosen repairer they work with insurance companies on a daily basis and can help guide you through the process. A repair quote can take up to 6-24 hours to write – check with your repairer. Once the quote has been written and submitted to the insurance company it’s up to them to assess it and authorize repairs. In my experience, in the worst case scenarios, assessments should only take up to 3-5 days to be scheduled and authorised.
“Your car will be sent to an assessment centre”
Most assessment centres are off-site from the repairers and can be far away – especially inconvenient if it is towed away. Vehicles are assessed and the insurer tender for quotes, they then allocate the job to a repairer of their choice - often with price over quality being the overriding consideration. Check if your insurance will assess and repair at the premises of your preferred repairer at a fair and reasonable negotiated price.
TIP #2: Read Your PDS
It’s always wise to look read your PDS (product disclosure statement) to see exactly what you’re covered for. These are long documents but are usually formatted well so it is easy to jump across sections to find answers to questions you may have.
TIP #3: If in Doubt Seek Advice
Dealing with the stress of getting your car repaired can be daunting.
Accredited body repairers who are members of Motor Trades Association Queensland or trade association groups like Car Craft, AARN, CCRN can assist you with insurance claims or give you advice to which insurance companies gives you the freedom to choose your repairer.
TIP #4: Read Reviews and Avoid being in Situations like this:
WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT CHOICE?
Choice of repairer is all about the right to discern who you feel can do the right job. The beauty of choice means you can dictate the fate of your own car rather than having the choice dictated from insurers that may value controlling costs more than they do quality and customer satisfaction. Refuse to be treated like number and take back your choice.
For the independent repairer it's about shared value in a free market. When the customer is allowed to exercise their right to to choose based on the merits of a business rather than having that choice dictated to them it will then drive fair competition and elevate the standards of the industry - now that's great for everyone!