So you’ve just had a car accident. Everyone is safe and unharmed, but both cars are a complete mess. You may have been at fault, or you may not have – either way, your main priority is to get your car back on the road as fast as possible.
So what do you do next? You call your insurance company to lodge a vehicle accident claim and get repair work started on your car ASAP. They lodge the claim, advise you of who was at fault and any applicable excess, and then advise you on where to take your car to get it repaired.
Seems simple enough. Letting your insurer handle the entire process seems like the easiest, fastest option, right? Not always…
There’s no doubt about it, having insurance makes the whole ordeal of having a car accident a lot easier to bear and cope with, however, you are not obliged to do everything the insurance company says when it comes to getting your car repaired.
Once the claim is lodged, the insurer will recommend that you take your car to their “preferred repairer”, and this is where you have a choice of repairer and need to know your options.
What does “preferred repairer” mean?
A “preferred repairer” means that an insurance company already has a pre-existing partnership with a chosen vehicle repairer to ensure that their vehicle repairs are carried out with consistency or quality, time and cost.
It also means that they can reduce their risk of having their insured vehicles repaired by an unknown repairer by sticking with a repairer that they know.
It also means that these kind of relationships give the insurer some leverage over the repairer in terms of cost and quality, due to the guaranteed additional work they will be referred.
The “preferred repairer” may be the easiest option, but is not always the best option.
By developing these relationships with repairer, it ensures the “preferred repairer” as the best option for the insurer, but it might not always be the best option for you.
Firstly, an insurers recommended repairer may not be located near where you live and may require you to go out of your way to get to. And even if they are conveniently located for you, they may be more booked out than an independent repairer due to the excess of work guaranteed by insurance companies.
Also, the “preferred repairer” may not be equipped to manage your vehicle if it is a specialist, luxury or prestige vehicle.
Another controversial reason that has been argued is the compromise on quality for the sake of cost. One of the most attractive prospects for an insurer to partner with a repairer is their guarantee on having the best available quote compared to other repairers. Due to the fact that the “preferred repairer” has to provide the best quote, they may be forced to cut corners or sacrifice quality. This might be thought of as quantity over quality.
This may not always be the case with the “preferred repairer”, and with no surprise it has been completely denied by insurance companies and executives alike.
Executive Manager Roy Briggs from insurance giant IAG, which owns brands including NRMA, CGU, Swann and Coles Insurance believes the industry is going through some changes which is resulting in this type of noise:
‘There is no systemic problem in the industry – [claims of] assessors slashing quotes and creating those problems [are] simply not true.’
However, the evidence from consumers in undeniable. The insurance company is the top of the food chain that can demand low prices in return for continuous work, whilst remaining seemingly oblivious to the inevitable pressures put on the repairer, and the effects that could possibly arise from this.
You have a choice!
This is why it is so important to be aware of who is repairing your car, and to advise them that you have repairer you would like to use. If you do not already have a preferred repairer, then you can always start by finding out some more information on the insurers “preferred repairer” first, to find out whether they are a suitable choice of repairer for your vehicle.
If you do end up going with a repairer of your choice and not using the insurers designated repairer, there are a few things that you should be aware of.
Things may be done differently with a non-preferred repairer.
So you have lodged your claim and advised your insurance company that you want to have your vehicle repaired by a repairer of your choice. What now?
Laising with Insurer: Similarly to an insurers “preferred repairer”, if your chosen repairer wants your business, they should be able to take care of all communication between the insurance company on your behalf.
Guarantee: The insurer may advise you that they cannot offer a guarantee on the work carried out by the repairer. In this instance, you will be relying on the available guarantees from the repairer, as opposed to the insurers guarantee. The downside of this is that if you move away, an insurance company can send you to another repairer in your area for guaranteed work, whereas it would be impractical to travel back to the original repairer that repaired your car to carry out guaranteed work.
Will i get a hire car?
In some insurance policies, a hire car may be included and provided by the insurance company, regardless of the repairer you choose. However, if you choose Fuller Brothers a courtesy loan vehicles will be provided at no cost, which may be easier to take advantage of than going through your insurer.
Ultimately, it is your decision…
Australian Consumer Law dictates that you always have a choice of repairer when it comes to getting your vehicle repaired, regardless of what is recommended by the insurance company. It may be easier to let the insurance company manage this aspect of your repair, but it may not always be the best option for you specifically. Whilst choosing your own repairer does come with a few extra considerations, by doing so, you may find that you are able to get a more suitable solution for yourself.
Choose Fuller Brothers:
Call Us: If you are ever unsure of what to do in this situation, simply pick up the phone and call us – we will explain everything in an easy to understand way, and provide you with the easiest solution for you.
Guarantee: Fuller Brothers provides a lifetime repair guarantee on all work, so rest assured even if your insurer fails to offer a lifetime guarantee on our work, we will!
Courtesy Car: We will always be able to arrange a courtesy loan car for you even if your insurer cannot or it is not covered in your policy.
Location: If we are not conveniently located for you, we will come to you! We can arrange towing, pickup and delivery of your car if necessary.
These are just a few of the reasons why you should choose Fuller Brothers as your vehicle repair specialist.