Car Repair

To get your car Repaired

If you have a comprehensive policy: Ask your insurance company for advice. Take your car to a competent repairer and tell your insurance company immediately. If your insurance company recommends a garage then take your car there if possible. This may avoid the need to get a separate estimate and could speed up the repair considerably.

Many insurers' recommended repairers would be able to provide you with a courtesy car whilst your vehicle is being repaired.

Unless your insurer has special arrangements, send a repairer's estimate to them. They will check it and if it is agreed they will authorise repairs subject to your completing a satisfactory claim form.

When you collect the car after repairs you will have to pay the first part of the claim if you have excess on your policy. You pay this money direct to the garage, whether or not you were to blame for the accident. Your insurers may also ask you to pay a part of the cost of repairs if your car is put into a better condition than before the accident.

If you are registered for VAT, pay any VAT due to the garage and claim it back from Customs and Excise. If you are not VAT registered your insurer will pay it.

The cost of repairs is your responsibility until your insurers have agreed to pay. For your peace of mind, you may want to obtain confirmation from your insurer that they accept liability and will pay the cost of repair.

If you have chosen third party fire and theft cover, your policy will not cover accidental damage to your car. You therefore have to pay the repair bill yourself or claim from the other driver if he or she was legally liable for the damage.

Write to the other driver saying that you intend to claim from him/her.

Say that you hold him/her responsible and ask him/her to tell their insurers.

Write direct to their insurers, if you have details, quoting the other driver's policy or certificate number.

Send a repairer's estimate as soon as possible - their insurers may well ask you for additional estimates.

Tell your own insurers that you are claiming against the third party.

The other driver should tell their own insurer of the accident. They will only be able to deal with your claim if the other driver asks them to. They can only act on the instructions of their own policyholder.

On receipt of your letter the third parties may settle your claim themselves or may pass the matter to their insurers. If they consider their policyholder entirely to blame they will pay your claim provided they have full information. If they consider that you were entirely or partly to blame they may refuse your claim or suggest a compromise.

The third party may refuse to co-operate at all in which case you should seek advice from your insurance company, insurance adviser, motoring organisation or solicitor. You may, at the end of the day, have to take legal action against the other driver; your policy may have a legal expenses section that will cover your costs.

Recommended Repairers

Many insurance companies have lists of approved repairers. When you tell your insurance company about the accident ask them for the name and address of the nearest recommended repairer. You are not obliged to use a repairer recommended by your insurance company although this will speed up handling of your claim and you may not need to obtain a repairer's estimate at all. Many insurers have arrangements with their recommended repairers whereby you may be able to use a courtesy or hire car free of charge whilst repairs are carried out.

Similarly, many insurers have arrangements with specialist windscreen replacement companies. Keep a note of these in the glove box of your car.