The use of recommended repairers
For many years now insurers have encouraged claimant’s to use their approved network of motor repairers. In theory this provides several advantages, such as automatically authorising repair work, control of the repair process and provision of a repairer provided courtesy car.
When the system works, there is no doubt this offers a good solution. The damage is reported to the repairer, the repairer contacts the policyholder and arranges to collect the vehicle leaving a courtesy car for the duration of the repairs, the vehicle is repaired and valeted and returned to the policyholder. The repairer then invoices the insurer direct and the only thing the policyholder needs to pay is their policy excess.
However, more and more recently I have found this process to be unworkable, I believe largely due to the amount of work accepted by the approved repairer networks.
Two recent claims have highlighted this poor level of service with approved repairers either carrying out substandard work or simply not being able to fit in the work to their busy schedule leaving the policyholder waiting for an unacceptable period of time. Both of these claims were also characterised by an unacceptable inability to communicate clearly to the policyholder what was happening regarding their repair. Both claims were eventually relocated to the policyholders local garage who were able to provide a much higher level of service, albeit with a little extra administrative work upfront in agreeing their proposed costings.
It is always worthwhile discussing the proposed repairer with your insurer, especially if you have a local preferred bodyshop and this is where a quality broker can ensure that the best repairer is chosen for your circumstances and you are not forced down an inconvenient route.
If you have any experiences of using an insurer's recommended repairers scheme then I would love to hear your comments.