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Five things you need to check before you book your car in for accident-damage repairs


Being involved in an accident ranks right up there on the stress barometer. Not only do you have to deal with the stress of the accident but now you are probably going to be without your car for a couple of weeks.

“At times like this the last thing you need is the added stress of unforeseen issues popping up when you finally need to collect your vehicle,” says Charles Canning, Chairman of the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). Canning says to avoid any surprises there are a couple of golden rules worth paying careful attention to when you initially book your car in for the repair.  Here are the top five tips from SAMBRA to be aware of:

•             If you are insured your insurer will most probably give you a list of preferred motor body repairers (MBRs) to select from. Check online reviews for the repairers on the list and ask for recommendations from family and friends. If you are not insured always make sure that you select a reputable accredited repairer to do your accident 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.

•             Make sure the MBR fully explains the repair process to you and provides you with an estimated time frame for the duration of repairs. He will confirm with you exactly what work is going to be completed on the car. He should also explain what is excluded from the repair in terms of your 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. 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. .

•             Make sure you do your bit to remove all valuables before you check your car in and remember it is much better to check-in a clean car. Your MBR will not accept responsibility for the loss of any loose valuable items or be held responsible 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 highlight any old damage and a reputable repairer will be able to highlight to you any faults they see up front.

•             Being insured provides a sense of security and peace of mind in case of accidents or unexpected events. However, it is essential to understand that insurance policies have limitations and exclusions, which means that not all damages will be covered. When it comes to accident damage repairs, insurance policies 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. Moreover, insurance policies may exclude coverage for certain types of damages, such as wear and tear, mechanical failure, or intentional acts. If your accident damage repairs fall under these exclusions, you may have to pay for the repairs out of pocket. To avoid unexpected expenses, it is crucial to review your insurance policy carefully and understand the terms and conditions. You can also talk to your insurance provider and ask for clarifications or additional coverage options, such as comprehensive insurance or additional riders that cover specific types of damages.

•             Then there is the whole parts debate. It is important your repairer knows if your vehicle is still under warranty or has an extended motor plan. You need to question what parts will be fitted to your car during the repair process i.e. OEM parts, Alternate parts, Used parts or 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.

Charles Canning Chairman Of The South African Motor Body Repairers Association (sambra)
Charles Canning, Chairman of SAMBRA