Repairs, insurance and your excess


If you’ve ever spent several hours of your valuable time quibbling with your insurance company in the aftermath of a prang, you’ll know how frustrating and stressful – not to mention damaging to the wallet – the whole process can be.

Of course, when you entered the annual renewal fray, before committing your hard earned cash to another year’s premium hike (whatever happened to that old chestnut about it getting cheaper the older, ergo more sensible, you grow?) you’d followed all the received wisdom and done your research. Listened to the consumer experts, pored over websites, tinkered with excesses, protected no claims, named drivers and gender specifics. Finally arriving at a figure you could bear to part with.

You might have nailed down the premium but at what cost? How many of us truly consider the consequences at the other end of the process – when we might have to make a claim? Because, after all, it’s never going to happen to us.

Keeping the insurer happy

But now it has and, blood pressure rising steadily with the inordinate amount of time spent negotiating the ‘Press one for this, Press two for that’ trap, ridiculously grateful for the human being with whom you can eventually converse, you’re filling in a telephone claims form and being told to take the car to an ‘approved repairer’. But why should you?

The way it works is this. 86% of all accident repairs are paid for by the insurance companies. And all insurance companies have approved repairers. Insurance is a very competitive business – witness your own early efforts to save money – and, clearly, it’s in the interests of the insurance company to retain as much of their hard won income as possible.

That insurance company might be a sole source of income to their ‘approved garage’, putting the garage in the difficult position of running faster and faster on the treadmill to maintain the margins necessary to keep the insurers happy. Many insurers have in-house engineers in the larger suppliers whose sole purpose in life is to keep the cost down. They, the insurers, might supply cut price parts, many of them ‘pattern’ (not made by the vehicle manufacturer). They even supply paint. Then they ask for a 10% discount on the final invoice. Down to wafer thin margins, there’s a real possibility that a repair goes through the workshop on a bonus driven basis, with the technician paid in relation to billable hours, rather than those actually worked. In other words, there’s a menu of charges and that’s what they’re charged out at, however quickly the job is completed. It’s a natural instinct, and in the interests of technicians and garage alike, to work faster achieving more profit per hour. But can pressures such as these equate to quality in the repair process?

From the customer point of view, life seems to have become so much easier. Gone is the hassle of filling in a complex form unaided. Now you ‘simply’ ring the call centre and they do it all for you. However, the chances are that the call centre staff are tasked with, and possibly incentified on, getting the repair into an approved facility. Note the intake of breath when you admit to already having the vehicle picked up by your own favoured repairer – someone, incidentally, with whom you might have a longstanding relationship built largely on their service record, helpful attitude and proven ability to get the job done. But if the vehicle is still sitting there waiting to be repaired or recovered, you might find it hard to resist the sell. So what to do?

Call AYCEN first

Easy. Call us first, before you call the insurers. We’ll pick up your car and put you in a courtesy car. When you report the accident, simply give the insurer details of the incident and inform them the car is with AYCEN. Then let us deal with them.

Why do it?

AYCEN have no insurance ‘approvals’. We work for all insurance companies daily but they are not a volume supplier to us and, whilst asked for discounts, we don’t give them to insurers. We’re under no pressure to maintain margins. And we don’t have a cost conscious insurer standing over us, so we can take the time required to do the job properly. A poor repair can take over three years to show signs to the untrained consumer eye – usually outside the standard three year warranty period. AYCEN guarantees the repair for life. No quibble.

10% bottom line discount

We will also give you that 10% bottom line discount which the approved repairer gives to the insurer, against your excess. So a £1000 repair, with an excess of £100 on the policy, costs you nothing. A £600 repair means your excess would only cost you £40. We pay the rest.

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