Car insurance isn’t just about your car and the cost of getting it repaired. Think about the difference your vehicle makes to you and your lifestyle, not to mention your family, your job and your independence. As smash repairers we manage car insurance claims for people every day, and if there’s one suggestion we have for every driver it’s to pay for exactly what you’ll want in the event of damage to your car.
The tricky thing about this is that it can be hard to know what you’ll need until the worst happens and you’re stuck dealing with the mess! If you don’t know which questions to ask, it’s easy to get blindsided by the things you didn’t consider – and by then it’s too late to make changes.
The first thing to think about is your damage assessment. Getting an assessment at the insurer’s yard is often a cheaper option, but it can also be less reliable. An insurer’s assessment yard is a busy interchange of tow-trucks, assessors and repairers which pumps out assessments all day long. They don’t have hoists or proper lighting to check for damage underneath your vehicle so you can end up with incomplete assessment and estimating, which in turn leads to delays in parts ordering, scheduling and repair work.
An assessment in our workshop is much more thorough. We are able to put the vehicle on a hoist, get parts diagrams and pricing and discuss possible repair options with our tradesmen straight away. We also research the recommended repair procedures and specifications with the vehicle manufacturer database and Thatchems, which gives us details on every inch your vehicle, down to verifying weld types and locations of joins. We take the time to get your assessment right, so we can provide the most accurate information to you and your assessor.
Questions to think about when choosing your policy:
- If you can still drive your car, are you willing and available to drive all over town getting quotes? Or would you prefer to get one quote at your choice of repairer, and book your insurance assessment and repairs all in one place?
- Are you happy to travel 10-20km to your repairer, without your car? Or would you prefer to get your car repaired locally, within walking or cycling distance?
- If your vehicle is undriveable, will your insurer get multiple quotes on your behalf?
- How long will it take to process multiple quotes and allocate a repairer? Do you need the car as soon as possible or do you have alternate transport you can use over a longer repair time?
- Will your insurer tow your vehicle to the repairer of your choice and liaise directly with them?
- Will your insurer allow a partial dismantle of the vehicle by your chosen repairer to determine the extent of the damage?
- Do you have a replacement hire car on your policy for accident and theft?
So when you choose a policy, take the time to decide what’s important to you. Peace of mind and convenience are important considerations to weigh against the price of your premium. Ask the insurer the appropriate questions and pay for what will suit your requirements, not just your budget.