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How to get your car repaired
If you are involved in an accident, you should exchange contact and insurance company details with the other party involved, assuming there was one. If they are vague or uncooperative, take down their registration number and, if you have one, take a picture of them, their car, and any damage caused. You must then quickly inform the police (if someone is hurt, this is a legal necessity) and your insurance company.
If your car has been damaged as a result of the accident you will need to send it to a garage for repair. Depending on the policy you have, generally your insurer will send your car to a repairer approved by them. Insurers usually contract a network of repair-centres around the country so that their customers never have to go too far to find one. This way will usually be the quickest for getting your car back on the road because estimates and so on are not involved and the repairers can start working on your car straight away.
You can in some cases take the car for repair to the garage of your choice, but you may have to supply cost-estimates back to your insurer BEFORE the work is done. This involves hassle and delay, so unless you have a specific reason, going with the garage your insurer recommends may be better.
If you decide to use a garage not approved by your insurer it is vital that you contact your insurance company. If you are supplied with a replacement car you may not automatically be covered under your policy.
Servicing cars is a big business, worth £8.9 billion a year in the UK. However, there is some disquiet about the quality of workmanship in the industry and the Office of Fair Trading is investigating.
When visiting the garage, consider the following:
1. Go to a garage recommended by a friend or colleague.
2. Read the manual for the standard safety check list.
3. Give a clear instruction of which repairs are needed.
4. Ask for a quote in writing before agreeing to the work.
5. Ask to be consulted before any additional repair work not originally agreed is carried out.
6. Ask for a detailed invoice.
7. Ask for a timescale.
8. Leave your contact details.
Also, consider garages that belong to the RMIF - Retail Motor Industry Federation. One of its aims is to raise standards through quality control procedures and training. You can find your nearest RMIF-approved repair centre at www.rmif.co.uk