Problems with the quality of repairs arranged by the insurer
This fact sheet is for information only. It is recommended that you get legal advice about your situation.
Justin’s car was damaged in a car accident. Justin claimed on his car insurance for the damage with BIG INSURANCE COMPANY. The insurer approved the claim and his car was fixed at JOE’S SMASH REPAIRER. Justin was unhappy with the quality of the work done on his vehicle. Justin requested BIG INSURANCE COMPANY repair the vehicle to a satisfactory standard.
BIG INSURANCE COMPANY said they paid for the repairs and that Justin will have to sort out his issues with the smash repairer directly. Justin wrote to the insurance company’s internal dispute resolution section describing why the repairs were unsatisfactory and he also pointed out that the insurer is responsible for the quality of authorised repairs. Fifteen days later the insurance company sent him a letter stating they did not believe additional repairs were necessary.
Justin lodged a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). Following a period of mediation AFCA found that insurer had to fix the repair work and Justin’s vehicle was returned to him in same condition it was prior to the crash.
I AM UNSATISFIED WITH THE QUALITY OF HOME /CAR REPAIRS MY INSURER PERFORMED. WHAT CAN I DO?
If you had repairs done by your insurer and you are unsatisfied with the quality, workmanship, parts used or the timeliness of the work there are steps you can take. The insurance company is responsible for the quality of the repairs done by repairers the insurer has selected and authorised.
The General Insurance Code of Practice states that when an insurer has selected and directly authorised a repairer, they will:
- Accept responsibility for the quality of workmanship and materials, and
- Handle any complaint about the quality or timeliness of the work or conduct of the repairer as part of our complaints handling process. (Clause 7.20 General Insurance Code of Practice.)
In general, if repair work to your house or vehicle is not done to your satisfaction you may do the following:
- Request that the insurer fixes the problem.
- If your insurer refuses to fix the problem, lodge a complaint with your insurer’s Internal Dispute Resolution department. You can get the contact details for this department on the Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s online member search function. In your complaint, make sure you clearly outline the reasons for your complaint.
- Your insurer has 45 days to provide you with a written response outlining their decision.
- If your insurer refuses to fix the repairs or does not respond in 45 days, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). You can call AFCA on 1800 931 678 and lodge online at the AFCA website afca.org.au AFCA can be heavily reliant on expert evidence so you may need to get your own expert evidence as to why the repairs were insufficient or poor quality.
- After investigating the matter:
- If AFCA finds in your favour, the insurer is obligated to carry out the repairs, or
- If AFCA finds in favour of the insurer you still have the option of taking the insurer to court – but remember ALWAYS GET LEGAL ADVICE BEFORE GOING TO COURT!
More information about raising a dispute and lodging in AFCA is available in our insurance dispute resolution fact sheet here.
IMPORTANT: Time limits apply to AFCA and court proceedings. Get advice if you have any concerns about either, or both.
WHAT IF I HAVE MY CAR OR PROPERTY REPAIRED BY THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY?
Sometimes the other driver’s insurance company will offer to repair your car or other property for you. You need to consider this carefully because if you are unhappy with the repairs, you do not have access to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) and your only option will be to take the matter to court. This expensive and risky.
NEED MORE HELP?
See Fact sheet: Getting help for a list of additional resources.
If you found this helpful and have further questions, why not try our Motor Vehicle Accident Problem Solver
Last updated: July 2019.