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Repair rip-offs: Avoid the sting

Repair rip offs Avoid the sting

How to make the most of car insurance if you’re faced with an accident.

By Amy Bradney-George
January 25, 2010

Getting a car fixed after an accident can be expensive regardless of insurance, and for people who do not know much about the inner workings of their cars, “garage talk” ends up confusing and often costly.

Dealing with an accident by phoning the police, collecting insurance details and contacts is one thing, but what happens afterwards when your car needs repairs?

Lack of planning and a little bit of dishonesty from the repairer can leave you overcharged for the services and unprepared for costs, which is why it pays off to know a bit more about your car and how insurance cover can help.

Steps to smart repairs

1. Meet the repairer: Most insurance companies will also ask for three quotes before deciding which repairer is suitable, however, if you do not have insurance cover, it is still important to make sure the repairer will suit your needs and your budget. Many insurance companies provide their members with a list of trusted mechanics and panel beaters to do repairs and suggest you make sure other mechanics are certified before agreeing to the repairs.

2. Keep a clear head: Accidents are stressful and it is important to make sure someone has a clear head to deal with the repairer. It is wise to make a list of what needs to be repaired so there is no doubt for you or the repairer. Otherwise, if they fix more than the damages done from the accident, the price will be higher and insurance may not cover it.

3. Question time: Ask questions about the cost, what needs to be repaired and have the mechanic write it out before work is started. Many insurance policies will collect quotes from several repairers and recommend one based on the amount of detail included in the quote and competitive pricing.

4. Insurance policy: Having a competent understanding of your car insurance policy will better prepare you in the case of damage to your car. In some cases simply knowing what the insurance cover is enough, but many car insurance providers now have extras that make the whole accident process easier.

The most common and practical extras include:

  • Free towing after an accident
  • Repair guarantees and quality checks
  • Cover for hire car costs
  • New for new car replacement

Considering these types of benefits before taking out a car insurance policy is the difference between quality, cost and convenience. While it is tempting to go for the cheapest insurance premium you can get, knowing what additional benefits are available, and factoring in value for money is a worthwhile task.

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