Check small print on car insurance

Spring Hall Lane


Have you recently made an insurance claim for a motoring accident and been told that you MUST use your insurer’s own bodyshop or approved repairer to repair damage to your own vehicle?

More and more people are being told this on a daily basis, because they have not checked the small print in their renewal documents. The insurer’s of course do not bring to your immediate attention that they may have taken the liberty to alter your terms of contract, ie, that they have taken away your right to use your own repairer!

Although they cannot legally demand that you cannot use a repairer of your own choice, they get around this by using the sneaky tactics of applying a further excess amount (over and above any agreed excess) frequently an amount of £200.00 for the privilege of using your own trusted repairer.

We are finding more and more of our loyal customers, whom having come to us for a repair estimate, are then having to let their car be taken away, sometimes to another town or city, simply because they cannot afford to pay the extra amount imposed on them. I therefore strongly advise that anyone about to renew their insurance, especially those taken out online, check very carefully any amendments to their renewal conditions. Of course I could choose to go down the route of becoming an approved repairer, in which case I would have to spend tens of thousands of pounds to set up for each individual approval, each insurer of course has their own set criteria as the industry is not standardised, and one type of estimating system etc, is not good enough for the next.

So the next time you need to make an insurance claim please bear in mind, that your insurer will no doubt use all the excuses under the sun to make you use their own repairer, excuses like, “your work won’t be guaranteed“, (so we guarantee our own work), “you won’t receive a courtesy car“, (so we can provide one), and although they may provide you with a courtesy car straight away, this doesn’t mean that your repair will be started immediately, it merely means that you are pushing up your own insurance costs, driving around in a car that someone else is paying for whilst your’s is stood in a compound waiting to be looked at.

Please check your individual policy details with your own Insurer, but be sure to have about half an hour or so to spare, be prepared to be passed through approximately five different call handlers until you get one that can understand/speak plain English and can find your policy details! I might sound quite cynical, however having worked on all sides of the motor industry, including Insurance, as an engineer/assessor and as a supervisor in one of the bigger Insurance bodyshops, I feel I am more than qualified to comment.

The moral of the story here is, don’t just back down when a claims handler tells you that, ‘you must use their own network of repairers’, the more people who complain, the more the Insurance Companies will have to take notice that what they are doing is morally wrong! Although I have my own interests at heart I have many friends throughout the Motor Trade and this letter is written on behalf of all my colleagues in the smaller Independent bodyshops. Paul Mottram