If you own a car or planning to own one in the future, you definitely know how important getting your car insurance is.
Now let’s imagine that you’ve been involved in a car accident, and it severely damages your car. You want to fix your car ASAP and want to get back on the road. You put in your insurance claim and following the suggestion of your insurer you get your car into the repairer.
But is this the best way of getting your car repaired? Not necessarily.
Now let us be clear about one very basic thing. Your insurer can not force you to get your car repaired by any repairer. Your insurance company has no legal right to enforce a preferred repairer upon you, however, they may balk at the quote you put in for a claim if it is not competitive. This is something they have the full right of.
When you choose your car repairer yourself, you get to decide who that repair shop is, and test the quality of their work by your own standards.
This might include recommendations from friends or family. You may get the job done better, faster, nearer to your home, or in a more specialized manner for your car type.
Now let us try to understand who is this insurance company preferred repairer and how do they fit into your car insurance claim process.
An insurance company has partnerships with smash repairers, and they usually guarantee these repairs for the life of your car, whether you own it in the future.
These partnerships provide the car insurance company with good repair rates, while the smash repairers get steady work from the insurance company.
An insurer-preferred repairer means that the insurance company has formed a relationship and set up a deal with the repairer.
The insurance company wants you to use that smash repairer because they get a better price from that repairer, they aren’t dealing with an unknown company, and they feel confident in the quality of the repairs.
A preferred repairer, however, may not be the best repairer for your car or for you. An excellent example of this is where a preferred repairer is in a distant suburb, not open when you need them to be, or can’t fit you in quickly enough.
If you have a prestige car, you really need a qualified and an experienced repairer working on your model. Mistakes are too easy to make with inexperience, which will not be good enough in many circumstances.
Now, you may believe that this company preferred repairer will not do a satisfactory job with your car repairing and might use cheap materials to cut down the cost as much as possible. Let me stop you right there because that is never true because of a couple of reasons.
Firstly, these repairers are not company-owned, most of the time they are individual repairers who work by themselves, and the company sends you their way only because the company gets cheaper rates from them and trusts the work done by these repairers.
And secondly, by repairing your car cheaply, the repairer leaves the company vulnerable to getting the future damages of your car. Which in turn might become more expensive for your insurer and might further result in a bad reputation of the repairer with the insurance company.
As we can all guess by this flow of events, a huge loss on the part of both the insurer and the repairer.
That is why, even though you may have your doubts, but those doubts have not much practicality if you think it through.
What if you have a choice of a Smash Repairer?
You as a well-informed consumer must always remember that IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR SMASH REPAIRER.
Car insurance staff will always try to get you to use their smash repairer, but it’s your call. It’s unlikely (unless the price is different) that a car insurer will fight you on your smash repairer unless there is an excellent reason your choice is not suitable.
Luckily, if you have already chosen a smash repairer, you can let the two argue it out themselves.
ONCE CHOSEN, PUT THE BALL INTO THE SMASH REPAIRER’S COURT
Your smash repairer will then negotiate with your insurance company, providing a quote before work can take place. They will compare prices.
The smash repairer presumably wants your business, so will work with the insurance company to come to an agreeable price.
If your smash repairer wants you to negotiate with the insurance company yourself, find another smash repairer – they are not taking proper care of you and your needs.
Now, what if THE QUOTES FROM YOUR CHOICE ARE TOO HIGH?
If the quote from your chosen smash repairer differs too much from their own repairer, your insurance company will try to charge you for the difference in the price.
You can always argue against this if you have a good case.
Pro Tip 101: NEVER ever let an insurance company bully you into accepting paying more just so you can choose your own smash repairer.
The insurance company generally backs the work done by their preferred smash repairers, but they may not guarantee work carried out by your choice of smash repairer.
If there is faulty work done on your car, you’ll be negotiating that with your repairer, but they may also provide guarantees on their work. Check before agreeing to anything.
And like we have told you earlier, An Educated choice is ALWAYS better than a hasty decision.