The Ultimate Guide to Agency Repair
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A major concern after car insurance claims is what exactly buyers need to keep in mind as far as car repair is concerned. Car repairs are the bulk of the cost after an accident, and that doesn’t take into account the regular mechanical check-ups. Then there’s the question of the agency or non-agency repair, which opens a whole new can of worms.
It is always a great idea to be thoroughly aware of what exactly is part of your insurance policy. This holds true for all aspects to motor insurance, not just car repair. If you aren’t aware of what is covered how will you know what you can claim? Car insurance in the UAE is simple as it is divided into two policies – Third-party liability, and Comprehensive coverage. While third-party liability only protects those injured as a result of your negligence, comprehensive coverage gives you and others on the road protection in case of an accident.
Agency repair is offered as an inclusive feature of some comprehensive policies. However, some insurance companies don’t include it in the original policy. Buyers can request it at a higher premium.
But what is agency repair and why is it such a big deal?
Agency repair is basically opting for the original manufacturer of your vehicle for car repair. It might sound simple but it’s not. Agency repair is expensive. It is discouraged by many insurance providers because it hikes the premium up considerably.
Most insurance providers offer car repair from non-agency garages but of repute in the network to keep costs to a minimum. This lowered cost on their end helps them bring the premium down for you. This is ideal for buyers seeking lower premiums on car insurance.
If you’ve conducted online car comparison and would like to get car repair done by a specific garage because of a longlasting working relationship or personal reasons you can always ask your insurance provider to comply. However, the insurance provider can pose some extra stipulations in this case which might cause inconveniences for you.
Getting car repairs done from a garage of the insurer’s choice has a few benefits. The approved garage’s work, as well as the parts provided, are guaranteed by the insurer for at least the next three years.
Another factor that is usually overlooked is that the insurer approved garage keeps a strict tab on what changes and repairs were made. This way the insurance provider automatically makes note of these modifications in your policy. You don’t have to make any extra effort to provide receipts and documents for them to include those changes into your policy.
However, if you choose to go for agency repair or a garage that is not on the insurer’s list of approved network garages then you will not be able to avail this guarantee. The garage might guarantee the repairs but your insurer can always term the as unsatisfactory when it comes to a claim.
Additional Excess Charge
Of course, the insurance provider is not going to like you opt for a repair shop of your choice. The insurer has built a business understanding with his network of garages. They offer discounts because of all the bulk work sent their way. This allows the insurer to pass the good-will about and slash your premium.
Interacting with a garage they have no past experience with, where they can’t pull any weight is not ideal for the insurer. They have to pay full costs. As was with the discounts, similarly, the insurer will want to spread the cost around. They will charge you higher additional excess to discourage the switch from their garage.
Make sure you read your policy to make sure how much additional excess can be charged. This way you can counter any charges that seem inflated.
Not Paying the Full Cost of Repairs
Now we come to the little matter of reimbursement. If you choose your own garage for car repair instead of agency repair or insurer preferred non-agency garage it is most likely that you will have to pay out of pocket. You can then submit receipts and ask for reimbursement on the costs.
The problem arises when the insurance provider only pays a portion of the sum. They claim that they could have provided the same services for a lesser cost and will, therefore, not be paying more than that.
This, of course, means that you will lose out on money. It is a way for insurance providers to steer you to their network of garages.
No Courtesy Cars
This is another way insurance providers would like to limit you to agency repair or preferred garage repair. The common courtesy car provided to you while your vehicle is in the shop is completely denied.
It is true that courtesy cars cost a lot. They also hike up the cost of a claim. It is in the insurance provider’s best interest to deny you the car, not yours. They can manage to offer this service only when their network garages are cutting the repair cost. If that’s not the case it costs them more to provide this service.
So if you’re opting for your own repair shop keep this in mind. You will also have to add the cost of renting a car in the meantime or hiring a cab.
How to Get Your Own Repair
There are ways you can overcome the above. Here are some suggestions.
Take the insurer on board – In the case of going for your own garage repair, you should talk to the insurance provider first. Go through your document and assess how much additional excess can be charged. Get an accurate quote from your garage and send it to your insurer for approval.
Get everything in writing – If the quote is approved by your insurer make sure that you discuss how payments will be made. Will you pay initially to the garage and get reimbursed? Or will the insurer pay the garage directly? Get it in writing so the insurer can’t back out later.
Do a thorough check on the garage – Whichever garage you chose make sure they are reputable. Some garages sell ake parts. You don’t want to be duped. Also, consider asking your garage of choice is they provide courtesy cars during the repair. Your insurance provider will deny it, but maybe the garage won’t.
Car repair can be daunting, especially right after an accident. But it doesn’t have to be confusing. We hope the guide brought you much closer to understanding car repair and deciding what you want in the event of a collision.
Originally published Oct 12, 2019 17:49:05 PM, updated May 05, 2021