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I have a major gripe with how insurance companies treat their customers 'behind the scenes'. It is a natural assumption to think that after an accident, your insurance company will pay for the full cost of repairs done by the body shop, but sadly this may not be the case any more.
Here's a brief explanation of how the accident repair process works to the best of my knowledge. Major insurance companies now have contracts with body shops whereby they send a little over £1,000 with every job, and that is the payment. It is then up to the body shop to complete the repairs to your vehicle within this cost.
I think this is officially called 'The average repair cost'. It is a figure that the insurance companies say will balance itself out over the course of the year as they are supposed to send the bodyshop both large and small jobs, with the smaller jobs being, of course, overpaid.
This might work out well on paper, but in reality, and with the greed of the insurance companies most of the small jobs would end up being sent to the other body shops with whom they have no such contact. I suppose it's understandable as they wouldn't want to pay their £1,000 contracted cost for a £200 repair job. However this leaves the original body shop having to fully absorb the cost of any repair.
Now think about it. If they were sent, for example, a standard size job that costs in the region of £4,500 to complete, and only getting paid £1,000 for it, something has to give. Firstly, as much as possible would be repaired and not replaced. This is because the cost of every single new part comes directly out of the £1,000 cost. Could it be that most jobs are simply beaten back into shape and filled with body filler, broken headlamps and bumpers are plastic welded back together and the absolute minimum is done? Basically, as you can imagine, the vehicle body repair industry must now be turning into a cost saving exercise.
...have slipped right back to the bodging 70's again
I personally think the whole process is disgusting. People pay a lot of money for their insurance policies and the least they expect is a decent job done on their vehicle if they ever need to make a claim. We are living in the 00's but have slipped right back to the bodging 70's again, and its all due to the greed of the insurance companies. We are not talking about the smaller insurance companies here, but the main names (I'm sure you know who we're talking about!). No wonder they can offer such cheap insurance.