10 Aug Choice of Repairer (Part 2) – Can I Choose My Own Repairer?
If I’m involved in an accident am I allowed to choose my own repairer?
This is a common question and it has a lot to do with who your car is insured with. Unfortunately for a lot of us we often know very little about our insurance and whether our insurer is any good until we actually need them. So what are the factors that will determine whether you will actually have a choice in where to repair your vehicle? The main contributors are:
- Who your insurer is
- Whether you or another party was at fault
- How you deal with your insurance when processing your claim
To see if your insurance policy includes a choice of crash repairer, check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and policy. All top tier insurance companies will provide you with choice of repairer. These include RAA, Allianz, Swann, Guild, Elders and QBE, and while it is always worth double-checking your PDS to confirm this, you can usually rest assured that you can take your car where you would like to take it.
Was someone else at fault? If you are dealing with a 3rd party claim through a lower-end insurance (using the other party’s insurance) you will often still have your own choice of repairer. As it isn’t your policy and they have a responsibility to repair your car on behalf of their client they will often allow you to take it to your chosen crash repairer. Conversely, as you are not their client they won’t necessarily make any extra effort to assist you, so this won’t always be the case. We strongly recommend making sure your car is comprehensively insured with a top-tier insurance company to avoid running into any headaches that may arise from dealing with an insurer that is not your own.
When putting your accident claim in, make sure to inform your insurer of your chosen repairer. If you’ve already lodged a claim and only just come to a decision where to have your car repaired, you can call them back to advise them – the sooner the better. Once you have done this you will know where you stand with them. If they accept what you have chosen, you are free to go ahead and have your repairs quoted.
If they are not rejecting your choice of repairer, however are trying to pressure you to go somewhere specific, it may be worth checking your PDS and calling them back. Many mid-low range insurance companies are obliged to let you choose your repairer, however are still hoping to save money by sending you somewhere cheaper. If this is the case they will often suggest that your repairs will not be covered under warranty unless you use their repairer. Remember that a good crash repairer will always guarantee their work regardless of insurance claims, and will often warrant it to a higher standard than shops working predominantly for these specific insurance companies. Talk to your preferred repairer and confirm whether they will warrant their workmanship, and if they will you can insist to your insurer that this is where you want to take your vehicle.
If your insurer requires you to obtain multiple quotes, this may seem like an opportunity to choose your repairer, however unfortunately this will often be a case of making you run around only for them to choose the cheapest repairer to save themselves money. Usually they will require you to obtain at least one quote from a specified repair shop, and often unless other shops can match this quote they will require you to take your car to their chosen shop. Again, speak to your preferred repairer and ask if they can help you. Sometimes they will be able to, however sometimes the cheaper repair quote will require too many cut corners for a reputable repairer to agree to.
When it comes to getting the best outcome out of an already less-than-ideal situation, a little due diligence goes a long way. Take the time to know what your insurance cover does and doesn’t include. If you do your research it won’t necessarily cost too much extra to ensure you can have your say if you are involved in accident.