What should I do if my car is damaged in an accident and I have insurance?
Rule no.1 – be prepared! We suggest you contact your insurance and save their emergency numbers on your phone. Often insurance companies will not pay for any towing charges if you do not go through their own (not the towing company’s) call centres.
Do’s and Don’ts at the accident scene:
- Do look at the accident damage and decide if the damage is bad enough to warrant towing the car. If the car has been bumped at the back and the wheels are free to rotate, the car would generally be safe to drive.
- Don’t be lured into towing your car unnecessarily with the old one-liner “but your airbags will deploy later if you drive”. Airbags won’t deploy spontaneously after an accident.
- Do call your insurance’s emergency number that YOU have saved in your phone to make sure that the correct people tow your car to the correct repairer. Unnecessary storage and exorbitant towing charges can leave you out of pocket if you do not follow your insurance’s procedures.
- Don’t take calls from “your insurance” at the accident scene on any other phone that is not yours
- Don’t take advice from people who call you on your phone to confirm your insurance or car details.
- Do call Mac Towing on 083 266 6677 if you are feeling overwhelmed and would like the car removed from the accident scene without the risk of being charged those ‘hidden costs’ in the morning. We have used this towing company for the past 20 years and can vouch for the safety and release of your car.
After the accident, if you are still driving your car:
- Phone your insurance. They will advise you on how many quotes they need, who is on their panel of approved repairers, etc.
- Some insurance companies ask for photos to be sent with the quote. Please confirm with your insurance and then pass this information onto us when you come in for a quote.
- Santam and Old Mutual follow a different procedure to other insurances. You will need to register the claim before you get a quote. Once the claim is registered, Santam/Old Mutual will send a blank online quoting shell to their approved repairer closest to the customer’s address. The chosen repairer will contact you to arrange the quote. Remember, if you have a preferred repairer, make this known to your insurance.
Do you charge for quotes?
Insurance quotes are for free. We sometimes charge a fee of R475 on quotes for cash or third party repairs, BUT we will only charge for the quote if the damage is severe and takes our estimator time to compile the quote. This is purely a business decision – we cannot take up valuable time doing unnecessary quotes for repairs that we know we will not receive. However, this fee is refundable if we are your preferred repairer.
So you’ve found your choice of repairer but they are not on your insurance list. Now what?
Different insurance companies have different payment structures and sometimes a repairer will choose to opt out of payment terms with that particular insurance company. If you are insistent on using a particular repairer which is not one of your insurance’s approved repairers, you may request that the insurance either pay you out for the repairs or you can insist that they use your choice of repairer. It is IMPORTANT to note however, that should you opt to go with a payout, please make sure your repairer strips the car and makes sure that there is no unseen damage omitted from the authorised amount. Don’t get stuck with a portion that you will be liable for. Work closely with your chosen repairer in this case.
What information do I need to bring with me for an Insurance quote?
Please bring your claim number (if you already have one). Let us know who your insurance company is and if your insurance has asked for photos to be sent with your quote.
How long does a quote take?
A quote will normally take between 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the extent of the damage and how busy we are. To make your life a bit easier, we can email the quote to you, so you can leave as soon as our estimator has seen the car and get on with some of the other nitty-gritty chores that come with having an accident (Honeydew Police Station is a few hundred meters from us).
Can I buy touch up paint for my car?
Cars nowadays are painted with water-based paints. These touch up bottles can be made up, however they do not give you the flawless effect that you might be hoping for. If your car is being repaired by us and you would like a bottle of touch up paint anyway, please chat to reception to organise this.
Do I need to book a time for a quote?
Not at all, just pop in anytime during our working hours (Mon – Thurs 07:30 – 17:00, Fri 07:30 – 16:00).
Can I send photos via email for a quote?
You can, but we prefer to see the car physically in order to give you an accurate quote. Often, what might look like a simple front bumper smash that just needs to be “popped out”, actually has broken parts behind the bumper that can only be seen after removing the parts or looking between grilles and gaps. We prefer not to rely solely on quoting off pictures as this won’t give you an accurate quote.
What warranty/guarantee do you offer?
We offer a 3 year warranty on workmanship and a lifetime warranty on paint.
What should I be looking for when choosing a repairer?
When searching for a reputable repairer, we advise that you find a repairer with the necessary factory approvals. If you have a Mercedes, take your car to a Mercedes approved repairer; if you have a Hyundai, take your car to a Hyundai approved repairer, and so on. These factory approvals come with endless audits. It is these audits that keep the repairer’s standards up there. Without these audits, repairers are able to drop their overheads substantially by using different quality tools, paints and training of staff. These differences in quality are unfortunately only visible years later when the paint fades or the adhesives fail.
How long will the repairs take?
The easiest way to answer this question is – how long is a piece of string? But jokes aside, this is the biggest battle for any repairer. The repair process takes time. There is no way to get around this and so customers are often left feeling unhappy with the time needed to repair a car to a high standard. The repair process is labour intensive and not similar to dropping your car for a service. Please make sure you have car hire as an option on your insurance policy so that repairs are not rushed. The quicker we get your car out, the quicker we can invoice, so it is certainly not a case of us holding your car for any reason other than wanting to maintain a high standard of workmanship.