Choice of repairer car insurance
Choice of repairer car insurance gives you control over the repair process for a little extra per month.
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'Choice' vs. insurers 'preferred' repairer
When you take out a vehicle insurance policy, you will usually be offered 'choice of repairer' or 'preferred repairer' following an incident. If you're given a choice, the insurer will allow you to send your car where you want it to go, even if it ends up costing a little more. If you're under 'preferred', your insurer will send your car to a repairer that they have an agreement with.
Here's a quick overview of some important points of comparison between the two:
|Choice of repairer||Insurers repairer|
What's the cost difference between the two?
Unsure whether it's worth adding 'Choice of Repairer' to your policy? We received some quotes from car insurers that included the benefit as an optional extra to see how much more it would cost a month to have your own choice of repairer.
On average, it'll set you back an extra $10 a month. If you've used the same mechanic for a number of years and have found them to be trustworthy and reliable, then that extra bit of money might be worth it. Otherwise, it's probably money you can save.
Keep in mind that your quote may differ depending on factors such as your age, gender, car and where you live. The excess will also affect your premiums. Keep in mind that the below costs are not indicative of what you should expect to pay for a policy - the costs simply indicate the difference in price for opting into your own choice of repairer. Be sure to check the product disclosure statement (PDS) on the provider page to help you make the right choice.
*Quotes based on a 30 year old male driving a 2019 Toyota Corolla in NSW.
|Provider||Without 'Choice of Repairer' included||With 'Choice of Repairer' included|
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Why choose your own repairer?
Choosing your own repairer comes with a number of benefits, especially if you're worried about how fast or how well your car will be repaired. Additionally, if you know your regular mechanic well and are happy with how they treat your car, you'll get the added bonus of not only being able to provide them with work but knowing your vehicle will be cared for.
Here's some of the big benefits of picking your own repairer:
- You can repair specialist cars. Choice of repairer is vital for owners of prestige or vintage cars. Taking your Mercedes to someone who knows how to treat it will likely lead to better outcomes than if a mechanic used to regular vehicles takes a shot at it.
- You might not have to travel as far. While preferred repairers could be almost anywhere, you can choose to take your car somewhere in your local area. This can save you a lot of time and hassle in getting it there, checking in on the progress of repairs, and picking it up when it's completed.
- You won't need to wait in line for a repairer to look at your car. Preferred repairers can have a big backlog of repairs to be done due to the high volume of work they get from insurers. Taking your vehicle somewhere that can get the repairs done as soon as possible can cut down the time you're left waiting without a car.
- Quality repairs. Because your own mechanic gets paid more for the job and you can pick someone you know to use high-quality parts, you're more likely to get quality repairs.
Why choose the insurer's repairer?
While picking your own repairer is often useful, as explained above, that doesn't mean they're better than preferred repairers in every way. Using the repairer that your insurance company nominates can have its own benefits, including:
- No extra charges. When you have an accident and choose your own insurer, the insurer will compare the quote your repairer provides for the damage against their own preferred mechanic. Since preferred repairers will generally have lower quotes due to their deal with the insurance company, you may well be charged some of this difference when you make your own choice. With preferred repairers, you'll only pay your excess.
- Streamlined repair process. Because your insurer works closely with their preferred repairer, you won't need to go back and forth with quotes or try and justify repairs as much. You also won't have to worry about certain repairs being knocked back or only being covered partially for some costs.
- Insurer repair guarantee. When there's a problem with repairs that have been carried out by a preferred repairer, you can claim the subsequent damage under your car insurance policy. With your own choice of repairer, you'll be liable to pay for whatever damage might occur as a result of their repairs. 'Lifetime repair guarantees' that appear on policies will usually only apply to preferred repairers.
Who offers a choice of repairer in Australia?
|Provider||Choice of repairer||Get quote|
|Optional extra in comprehensive policy||Get quote|
|Optional extra for comprehensive and third party, fire and theft policies||Get quote|
|Optional extra on comprehensive policy||Get quote|
|Optional extra on both comprehensive policies||More info|
|Included in comprehensive policy||More info|
|Included in comprehensive policy||More info|
Filter for choice of repairer with these companies
At the end of the day…
If you're at all concerned about how well your car is going to be treated after an incident and want to make sure you have a say in how the repairs are going to get carried out, you should always go with a policy that allows you a choice of repairer.
On the other hand, if you're content to let your insurer handle all the back and forth about repairs and specifications - particularly if your car could be placed under a 'lifetime repair guarantee' - then preferred repairer is a decent choice too.
Overall, having the option to pick your own repairer can save you a headache in case of trouble and is just more flexible. After all, you always have the choice of going with your insurer's preferred repairer if you want to, whereas with a preferred repairer policy the decision is out of your hands.
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