Choosing a repairer for a car insurance claim

Damage to your car, whether it’s cosmetic or mechanical, is going to cost money to repair. When you make a claim, most insurance providers offer to get the damage fixed using one of their approved repairers. But what if you want to choose your own repairer?

Here’s what to consider when choosing a repairer for a car insurance claim.

Damage to your car, whether it’s cosmetic or mechanical, is going to cost money to repair. When you make a claim, most insurance providers offer to get the damage fixed using one of their approved repairers. But what if you want to choose your own repairer?

Here’s what to consider when choosing a repairer for a car insurance claim.

Daniel Hutson
Motor insurance expert
4
minute read
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Posted 19 FEBRUARY 2020 Last Updated 16 MAY 2022

What’s an ‘approved repairer’?

When you make a car insurance claim, you’ll need to agree with your insurance provider on who will repair your damaged vehicle. There are two possibilities:

An approved repairer

An approved repairer is contracted and approved by an insurance provider to carry out repairs on your car, in the event of a claim.

Not only do insurance providers prefer it if you use a repairer approved by them, they may also impose certain limits and conditions if you don’t. For example, some will only make a courtesy car available if you use a repairer provided by them.

A repairer of your choice

You might decide to go with a repairer of your own choosing. It might be that they offer a high-quality service you’re happy with, or it could be that their location is easier to reach.

The right to choose your own repairer

Not only are you free to choose your own repairer, it’s your legal right to do so.

The Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulations is an EU law which gives car owners the right to freely choose any repairer or body shop to repair their vehicle. Under your UK car insurance repair rights, you’re not obliged to go with an approved repairer chosen by your insurance provider if you don’t want to.

Pros and cons of choosing your own repairer

There are some advantages and disadvantages to choosing your own repairer.

Advantages

  • You get to choose who fixes your car.
  • Your choice of repairer might be more local to you.
  • An approved repairer might not fit original parts – check your policy to see what it says about this.

Disadvantages

  • Many comprehensive car insurance policies include a courtesy car - but typically that’s only if you use an approved repairer.
  • Your insurance provider won’t usually guarantee repairs unless they’ve been done by one of their approved repairers. And if further damage is done to your car while it’s being repaired, you might not be covered.
  • Your insurance provider might charge an additional sum on top of your excess if you choose your own repairer.
  • Your insurance provider might not agree to pay the full cost of the repairs, if they believe it would have been cheaper to use an approved repairer.

If you do decide to choose your own repairer, you’ll need to get an estimate of the repair costs and send it to your insurance provider. In order to claim, the estimate must be approved by your insurance provider before repair works begin.

Regardless of whether you use an approved repairer or one you've chosen, read your policy documents carefully so you understand exactly what terms and conditions apply to repairs.

What happens once your claim’s approved? 

Once the repair costs have been estimated and approved by your insurance provider, you can then have the repair work carried out. Make sure you hold on to any invoices or documents from the repairer. You may need them later.

If your insurance provider decides that the accident wasn’t your fault, you might not have to pay the excess on your policy. Instead, this may be covered by the other driver’s insurance policy. If the accident is deemed your fault, you’ll need to pay the excess yourself. This will also likely make your future premiums more expensive.

How long it takes for the claim to be approved and paid out depends on various things. How quickly you register the claim, provide supporting evidence and agree on a repairer all play a part. After all this, the claim is then paid, completed and closed.

If you’re unhappy with repairs carried out by an approved repairer

If you’re not satisfied with the repairs done by an approved repairer, or the way your insurance provider dealt with your claim, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to investigate your complaint.

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