Accident Repair / Body Shops
Accident Repair / Body Shops Information
After an Accident
If you are the driver of a car involved in an accident and:-
- A person (other than yourself) is injured.
- Damage is caused to another vehicle or another persons property
- An animal has been killed or injured, except for in your own vehicle or trailer.
You are obliged to:-
- Stop at the scene and remain there for a reasonable period
- Give your vehicle registration number, name and address to anyone with reasonable grounds to ask for them.
- If you are not the owner of the vehicle you must give the name and address of them as well.
If for some reason you do not exchange this information at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a policeman as soon as possible and regardless within 24 hours.
If a person is injured in the accident you must produce your insurance certificate to anyone with a good reason to ask to see it. If you do not have the insurance certificate with you, then again you can take it with you when reporting the accident at a police station – this should be done within 24 hours. If you do not have the certificate with you at this point then you can arrange to produce it at a nominated police station within 7 days.
It is important that you do all these things even if you were not directly involved in the accident but your presence was a factor.
It is often the case that your insurance company will want to be informed within a reasonable time of the accident and the failure to do so could give your insurance company the right to refuse you cover in the future.
Should I claim on My Insurance?
When you take out an insurance policy, it is natural to assume that you will claim on it should the need arise. Primarily, insurance is for the big disasters that could cripple you financially.
You should consider if it will be cheaper to have any repairs done privately depending on the extent of damage, policy excess, cost of repairs and loss of no claims bonus.
Choosing a Repair Company
Claiming on your Insurance
If you are claiming through an insurance company you may find that they have a list of "Approved" repair companies. Although you are not obliged to use them, there are a number of advantages. If you choose to use your own repairer then your insurance company will want a written estimate, will want to inspect your vehicle and will not necessarily give you the same guarantees on the repair that they would do if the car was repaired by a business which they have approved.
Therefore, using your own choice of accident repair company can lead to your repairs being delayed and you may not benefit from as long a warranty as you may get from your insurance company's recommended repairer.
Not Claiming on your Insurance
If you choose to use your own repairer or you are not claiming through your insurance company, you will have to make a decision on which repairer to use.
There are several things to look for:
If you have a little knowledge about a company or you know someone who has used a company before, this can obviously put your mind at rest and many reputable businesses will gain a large percentage of their work through recommendation and word of mouth.
- Trade Association Membership
If a company is a member of a Trade Association, then this is always a good indication of the standard of their work and offers an authoritative body for you to approach in the case of a complaint. Associations include the VBRA and MVRA.
- Main Dealership
Alternatively you can choose a main dealer who can offer fully equipped workshops and trained staff along with the level of service that is expected of a dealership who is backed by a large manufacturer.
Choose a dealer that specialises in the make of vehicle that you need repairing. They will have all the necessary genuine parts to hand and will be experts in repairing your model of vehicle. The down side is that you get what you pay for and main dealers can be an expensive choice.
What standard of repair should you expect?
Obviously you must be happy with any repair made to your vehicle but if you have had a structural repair it can be hard to know if they have been carried out properly.
Firstly, if you have a bodywork or paint repair carried out the repairer will often ask you to sign a release to prove you are satisfied with the repair. It is not difficult to see if the paint colour is not matched or if a panel shape is incorrect, if you are not happy with a repair you should voice your concerns straight away.
If there has been some type of structural damage then a bad repair can often be detected by driving the vehicle.
If your vehicle has been in an accident and has been the concern of an insurance claim, then this fact will be registered. When you want to insure the vehicle in the future your insurance company may want the vehicle assessed to satisfy itself that the repair has been done to a satisfactory standard.