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What does ‘choice of repairer’ mean, and is this an insurance option you really need?

Georgia Brown avatar
Georgia Brown
- 4 min read
What does ‘choice of repairer’ mean, and is this an insurance option you really need?

When shopping for car insurance, it’s worth understanding what options may be available under different policies and how much value they could offer you.

In the unfortunate instance that you are involved in a car accident, your car may endure damage that requires repairs. If you make a claim with your insurance provider to cover the cost of the repairs, you will generally either take your car to your choice of repairer, or your insurer’s preferred repairer – depending on your policy.

If your policy offers a choice of repairer, then you can choose where to take your car for repairs. Some insurance providers have this built into their policies as a feature, some have the option to include a choice of repairer in your policy at an added cost, while others may not offer it at all.

Drivers whose policies don’t include a choice of repairer will have their car repaired by their insurance provider’s preferred repairer.

Whether having a choice of repairer is an insurance option you really need will ultimately depend on your personal needs. Consider the pros and cons to help you make your decision.

Potential benefits of choosing your own repairer 

1. You can choose a repairer you trust 

If your vehicle is your pride and joy, you may not trust just any repairer to fix the damage after an accident. You might have someone in particular in mind or may simply want the option to shop around for who you deem to be a reputable repairer rather than having to put your trust into your insurer’s choice. 

2. You can choose somewhere that’s convenient to you

Insurers typically have a network of preferred repairers on a database that you can search through to find one that’s located nearest to you. However, it’s not guaranteed that they’ll have a preferred repairer in a location that’s convenient to you. Having the option to choose your own repairer allows you to pick exactly where to have your car repaired, reducing the burden on you.

3. You could be back behind the wheel of your car sooner

Your insurer’s preferred repairer could have a large backlog of repairs to get through before your car is even seen to. If your policy doesn’t include a choice of repairer, you’ll simply have to wait your turn – even if that means you’re without your car for an extended time. If you do have a choice of repairer, however, you’ll have more control over the wait time as you can choose a repairer that can offer you a fast turnaround.

Potential downfalls of choosing your own repairer

1. You could have to cover some of the cost yourself

If the repairer of your choosing provides a quote that is significantly higher than what your insurer believes is reasonable, you may have to cover the gap, in addition to paying your excess. 

2. If there are any issues with the repairs, you may be left to deal with it yourself

Typically, if you use an insurance provider’s preferred repairer and any issues arise following the repairs, your insurer will be responsible for making it right. On the other hand, if you choose your own repairer, you’ll generally only be covered under the repairer’s guarantee as your insurer won’t be liable.

3. You’ll have to spend time arranging the repairs yourself

While it may seem appealing to have the flexibility of choosing your own repairer, it also comes with additional work. You’ll be the one responsible for arranging quotes, making the booking, and communicating with both the repairer and the insurer. If instead you go with your insurer’s preferred repairer, they’ll arrange the lot.

Is having a choice of repairer on your policy valuable to you?

At the end of the day, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of having a choice of repairer on your policy, as well as the additional cost and whether it’s a feature that’s offered by your preferred insurance provider.

To compare car insurance policies on offer from a range of insurers and find out what features they include, consider using RateCity’s car insurance comparison table.

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Product database updated 14 Jun, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.