If you are taking your car for repairs there are five things you must check before booking the vehicle into your local body shop.
These “golden rules” are worth following if you want to avoid unforeseen issues popping up while your ride is being repaired, said Charles Canning, Chairman of the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association.
If you have insurance, your provider will have a list of preferred motor body repairers (MBRs) with which it has partnered.
“Check online reviews for the repairers on the list and ask for recommendations from family and friends,” said Canning.
Meanwhile, if you are not covered always make sure that you select an accredited MBR to do the damage repairs.
“This is the only way you will have recourse if anything goes wrong after the repair is completed. It is worth doing your homework as the important first step,” said Canning.
Find out what your insurer will and will not cover
Every insurance policy has limitations and exclusions, meaning not all damages may be covered when the time comes to claim.
Specifically for accident-related repairs, insurers typically cover damage that results from collisions such as fender benders or crashes.
“However, it is important to note that coverage may be subject to deductibles, limits, and other conditions that may affect the amount of compensation you receive,” said Canning.
“Moreover, insurance policies may exclude coverage for certain types of damages, such as wear and tear, mechanical failure, or intentional acts.”
If the repairs fall under one of these exclusions, you may have to pay for them out of your own pocket.
Therefore, to avoid unexpected expenses, it is crucial to review and thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of the contract, and to ask for clarification from the insurance provider if something is unclear.
If the coverage seems insufficient, it could be worth upgrading to a more comprehensive package or adding other options such as additional riders that cover specific types of damages.
Ask for a full explanation of the job
Before handing over the keys, ensure that the MBR fully explains the repair process and provides you with an estimated time frame for the duration of the job.
The MBR should preferably confirm exactly what work will be completed on the vehicle and also explain what is excluded in terms of your insurance policy.
“If you request any additional work to be done on your vehicle like a paint touch-up or dent repair, for example, this can be factored in but will be quoted for separately,” said Canning.
“Remember also when it comes to your battery, the MBR does not accept responsibility for a faulty battery. Your battery will be properly tested before any work commences and a weak battery will be reported to you.”
Notify the MBR of any warranties
If your vehicle is still under an after-sales agreement such as a warranty or motor plan, ask the MBR what parts will be fitted during the repair process.
Parts usually fall into four categories:
- Original (OEM) parts
- Alternate parts
- Used parts
- Certified aftermarket parts
“If you are unsure, please triple-check this detail with your insurer and your repairer on check-in and make sure you get a letter from the repairer stipulating what parts will be replaced on your vehicle,” said Canning.
Remove your valuables
Last but not least, remove all your valuables from inside the car if you want to keep them.
An MBR does not accept responsibility for the loss of any loose items and will not be held accountable for any paint or glass defects that may be hidden or latent if the vehicle is not clean on check-in.
It is also important to show the MBR any old damage and a reputable shop will be able to highlight to you any faults they see upfront.
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