Vehicle damage can be a real nightmare, especially when it is not your fault. Damage to your car or van can be caused for a number of reasons; however, we often find most damage occurs when your vehicle is actually parked. Unfortunately, most of the time people do not leave their details for you to get in touch with them regarding the damage, meaning you have to take things into your own hands when it comes to having the vehicle repaired.
Minor crashes are also a common occurrence, whereby a short lapse in concentration can cause significant damage to your vehicle. From bumper damage to paintwork damage, it can all be a pain to deal with. You may also feel it is too small to make a claim on your insurance. However, we recommend giving your insurance company a ring beforehand, as you may be able to choose an independent insurance repairs specialist.
Many people do not realise there are a number of companies across the UK who are actually insurance approved repairers. It essentially means you can have your vehicle repaired by a garage and your insurance company will cover the cost of minor insurance repairs.
Here we have run through how choosing an independent insurance approved car repair specialist works and the top tips you will need to find one. There are a couple of things you need to look out for to ensure you can have the work completed so make sure to take the time to read through each section before you make a decision on where you have your vehicle repaired after a minor crash or accident.
What do I need to know when it comes to insurance repairs
When you claim on your insurance company, they will often want to take care of all of the repairs for you. While this may seem helpful, it can sometimes be a painful experience as many people claim their insurance company have not done a good enough job on the repairs.
As a vehicle owner in the UK, as part of the consumer rights directive 1993, Association of British Insurer’s (A.B.I.), the FCA and Vehicle Body Repair Association (VBRA/RMI) all came to the agreement that consumers have the right to choose. Therefore, EU law now reflects this by allowing consumers to freely choose any repair garage or shop to provide them with services and repairs to their vehicles.
Insurance companies also have an obligation to you as a consumer to provide you with all the information regarding your policy before you purchase it. They are not allowed to inform you after purchase of any restrictions to your policy; this includes telling you where you can and cannot have your car repaired after having an accident. Should they do this to you they are breaching The Consumer Protection for unfair trading regulations 2008 and application 8 of 2002 enterprise act.
As part of your consumer rights regarding vehicle repair:
- You have the right to choose the repair shop
- You’re entitled to have your vehicle repaired to its pre-accident condition
- By law, you only have to obtain one repair cost estimate
Make sure to check your policy before you go ahead with your insurer
We always advise many of our clients to check where their insurance company recommends for car repairs. You may find that after reading through your policy, the insurance companies choice does not give you the option of having genuine parts fitted to your vehicle, you may want to complete a thorough check of the company first. Non-original parts can be damaging to your car; it is common non-original parts are often cheaper copy parts, which may not react in the same way as originals if ever caught in another accident in the future.
If you have a newer model car the last thing you want is cheaper parts to be fitted as it does not benefit you in any way, it will only benefit the insurance company as it will not cost them as much to repair your vehicle. Having non-original parts may also affect your warranty, so you may want to get in contact with where you purchased the car from.
Using an approved insurance repair company means they have invested heavily in winning the contract. All insurance approved repair specialists have to have all of the correct equipment to be able to carry out any work on your vehicles. All of the staff working within the garage or repair shop will also have to be highly qualified to be able to before the work on any car.
Independent car repair specialists will also take more pride in their work, meaning they will take time and care when working on your vehicle. As they are independent body repair shops or garages, a bad job can often tarnish their brand. So, they will ensure the work they carry out on your vehicle is top notch.
Insurance companies can be a little sneaky when it comes to letting you choose your own repair specialist. Make sure you thoroughly read into your insurance policy, and if you are unsure about anything give them a call. It is their obligation as an insurance provider to give you all of the information surrounding your policy. Some insurance companies will put things into small prints whereby there may be an additional charge if you choose to go with an external car repair specialist. If the charge is only small, it is most likely worth going with someone you prefer.
Most insurance companies provide you with a courtesy car if you choose to have your repairs through them. If not they may revoke the right to a courtesy car if you decide to go elsewhere. The cost of a claim dramatically increases should you choose to go to an independent garage, so your insurance provider will take away the courtesy car in order to keep their costs down.
You may want to look for independent repair specialists who offer a courtesy car as part of your repairs appointment. Here at Scuff N Scratch Solutions, we have a fleet of courtesy vehicles as we know how annoying it can be not to have your car for a couple of hours or even days depending on how long the work takes.
GoCompare.com found that over 225 comprehensive car insurance policies offered a courtesy car as part of the repairs process. However, only a small 7% of those provided the courtesy car if the customer chose to go with their own car repair specialist.
Cost of repairs
When it comes to having your car repaired, you may have decided which company you want to go with. However, once you have done so, you should always ask for a quote on the repair work needed for your vehicle. Many people find that they have the work done without checking the cost with their insurance companies and find that the insurance won’t cover the full cost of the work.
Insurance companies might argue that they could have arranged your repairs at a much cheaper price then you have. If this is the case, then your insurance provider may only agree to pay for a partial amount of the repair costs. It usually is equivalent to what they would have paid to have the car repaired by their own car repairers.
Getting a quote beforehand means you can inform your insurance company of the cost of repairs. It also gives them time to come back to you with what they are willing to pay out for the full cost of repair.
What do when in an accident
If you ever find yourself in an accident, there are a couple of things you need to know before you do anything. If you are looking to make a claim on insurance for any of the damage then you should:
- Never admit fault at the scene of the accident
- Make sure to exchange personal information with the other drivers involved in the accident. You will want to get their names, number, number plate and address if at all possible. If there are any whitenesses to the accident, it will also be highly beneficial to get their information. The number plate is the most important bit of information you can get, as your insurance company will normally be able to trace the person should they not give you their information
- Make your insurance company aware of the accident straight away, even if you are not looking to make a claim on your insurance
- If there is anyone who is injured as a result of the accident make sure to show the authorities, i.e. the police your insurance certificate. If you do not have this information with you at the scene of the accident, you must provide it to the police within seven days
- If you feel it is safe to do so, take as many pictures as possible, as this can be used as evidence if you are going to be making a claim
Why making a claim on an older car may make you worse off
If you have an accident in an older vehicle, some insurance companies may write the car off rather then repair as it is probably cheaper to do so. In this instance, you may choose to get the vehicle repaired yourself by an independent garage, as it will save the car from being written off. If the car is written off, it will mean you are unable to drive it. If you would like more information on what you should do if you have an older vehicle we highly recommend taking a look at Citizens Advice.
What you need to do if you want to use your own insurance approved contractor
Insurance companies can only stipulate where you take your car to; they may give you a few suggestions of car repairers if you do not have a garage you regularly go to.
We recommend getting in touch with car accident repair in Milton Keynes for any information on the cost of certain services. It may be worth calling around a few garages you like the look of so you can get a couple of quotes. You will then want to forward the quotes to your insurance company for approval.
If your policy does not provide you with a company car once you choose to go with an independent specialist, make sure to check if your garage of choice offers a courtesy car as this allows you to stay mobile all of the time.
If your insurance company does approve the costs, make sure you know how to make payment. Depending on your insurance company they may work slightly differently. Check whether you have to pay the garage directly and then claim the money back or whether your insurance company will pay the repairer.
If you are looking for insurance approved car repairs in Leighton Buzzard get in touch with a dedicated member of the Scuff N Scratch Solutions team who can provide you with a free no obligation quote.