Statistically, drivers have an accident approximately every 7.5 years. If you have not had a claim recently, there might be a chance the rules regarding your choice of repairer have changed since your last accident.
Usually, you call your insurer and follow their instructions. That’s the fastest, easiest and best way to get your repairs carried out, right?
Well, not always.
Most comprehensive insurance policies in Australia now feature a ‘choice of repairer’. That means it’s your right to choose who works on your car. And, depending on who you nominate, you may be able to get faster, more conveniently located, or more specialised repairs.
Choice of Repairer is important
When a car owner is paying out of their own pocket for repairs, most will pay close attention to the quotes they receive and evaluate where they are getting the best value. It is up to the repairer to quote accurately, explain what they are going to do and try to win the job on service and quality values.
The situation becomes more uncertain when an insurance company is involved. Insurers who have set up recommended repairer schemes will sometimes go to extreme lengths to shift the consumer into their repairer network. The preferred repairer may be right for your insurer, but that doesn’t mean they’re right for you, the policyholder.
Protect yourself and your vehicle
- Make enquiries locally as to who carries out good repair work and, if possible, look at a repair completed by this repairer.
- Get a quote from the repairer and question them on exactly what the quote means and what work will be carried out. Any repairer who wants your business will take the time to explain this to you.
- Look at the repairer’s shop and equipment. Is it clean and well laid out, a place you could leave your asset with confidence?
- Contact your insurer and check your policy. Find out if you are required to use their repairer. If so, ensure you receive a copy of the quote and the work is explained to you. If a repairer will not give you a copy of the quote, see if the insurer will send a copy to you before you make a final decision. If they are reluctant to do this, tell them you do not want to deal with someone who is not prepared to undergo the scrutiny you require. Remember, your vehicle is your asset and you should protect your rights.
- If you feel strong-armed at any time, be prepared to argue for your rights or to walk away. You should be the one to choose who works on your car.
- You may have a repairer you are comfortable with and have dealt with previously. You will have to check your policy wording, but you can insist that your repairer carry out the work.