Car Insurance with a Choice of Repairer

If you’re looking for car insurance with a choice of repairer you can compare your options online today.

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, updated on February 15th, 2024       

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Car Insurance Banner - Windscreen repairer holding a new windscreen ready to install it in a black car.

If your car is damaged, you’ll want it repaired and back on the road as soon as possible. But who do you trust to fix it? Most car insurance policies will provide someone to mend your vehicle, but you might have another repairer in mind.

If you are looking for a car insurance policy that allows you to select your own repairer, you can compare your options online to find a policy that suits. Get started with a free, no-obligation quote today.

What is a choice of repairer on a car insurance policy?

When you take out car insurance, your insurer may let you choose between using your own choice of repairer or their preferred repairer to fix your vehicle in the event of an accident or damage.

‘Choice of repairer’ means you can choose the repair shop or mechanic you want to repair your car. The other option is to go with your insurance company’s ‘preferred repairer’ – a specific authorised repairer chosen by the insurer.

Many insurers will allow you to choose your own repairer, but before you sign up, you should check the policy wording to ensure this is the case and whether there are any stipulations.

How much will it cost to choose my own repairer?

There is a chance that choosing your own repairer could cost you more than using your insurer’s preferred repairer. This may be because it’s included as an optional extra on the policy and you have to pay to get it, or because repair costs quoted by your chosen repairer are higher than what the insurer thinks they should pay. However, the exact cost depends on your policy and your circumstances.

What are the differences between ‘choice of repairer’ and ‘preferred repairer’?

There are advantages and disadvantages with each option, so it’s important to compare key points to help you determine the best choice for you.

Choice of repairer Insurer’s preferred repairer
Subject to insurer approval, you can use a repair shop or mechanic you trust, which is especially important if you have a vehicle that requires specialist care, such as a classic car.
As you won’t have a choice of repairer, you may end up with one that doesn’t suit you or your requirements.
You can choose a convenient location close to where you live, which can save time and effort when it comes to dropping off, checking on and collecting your car.
The repair shop chosen by your insurer may be further away and tricky to reach, making it harder to coordinate collecting your vehicle.
You may be able to save time by using a repairer who can fix your car as soon as possible.
Preferred repairers get a lot of work via insurers, so you may have to wait as they work through the backlog.
You’ll likely have to arrange the repairs yourself and negotiate the price with the repairer.
Your insurer will already have negotiated a deal with the repairer, so you may only need to drop off your vehicle.
If the price you’re quoted is higher than the price your insurer has negotiated with their supplier, you may have to pay the difference.
If you use your insurer’s preferred repairer, all costs are covered – all you’ll pay is your excess.
If your vehicle is poorly repaired and requires further attention, you may have to pay for any additional work out of pocket.
Repairs are guaranteed, meaning that if there are any problems with the work done, your insurer will cover the cost.

Are there any restrictions on the repairer I can choose on my car insurance policy?

Car insurance companies can limit your choice of repairer. Some may have a list of approved repairers to choose from, while others may have specific requirements or limitations. Generally, no repairs can be made without the insurance company’s permission, so it’s vital you inform your insurer about your chosen repairer to ensure they agree with your choice.

Your insurer may require a second quote from a repairer they’ve approved or may choose to pay a reasonable cash sum for the cost of repairs if they don’t agree with your choice, which could leave you having to pay any difference yourself. You should familiarise yourself with your policy documents to understand your insurer’s specific criteria.

Types of car insurance you can choose from

What factors should I consider when choosing a repairer?

Common questions about car insurance with a choice of repairer

Is there additional paperwork when choosing my own repairer?

When choosing your own repairer for your car insurance claim, there may be additional paperwork involved. The extent of this can vary depending on the insurance company and the specific requirements they have in place. You may need to provide a repair estimate or quote from your chosen repairer detailing the cost of repairs and the parts needed. You'll likely also need to submit supporting documentation, such as photographs of the damage or receipts for previous repairs, which are standard with car insurance claims.

What if the repair cost exceeds the coverage limit of my insurance policy?

What your car insurance covers depends on the type of policy you have.

Under a comprehensive car insurance policy, whether you’re using your choice of repairer or the insurer’s preferred repairer, your insurer may deem the car a repairable write-off and offer a cash settlement if the projected repair costs exceed the car’s value. You may still be able to get your car repaired after this, but you'll be responsible for the cost.  

If your insurer disagrees with your choice of repairer, they may offer a set cash sum for repairs instead of covering the full cost. In such cases, you would have to pay the difference.

What if repairs cost less than my excess?

If you’re in an accident but your car sustains only minimal damage, the cost of repairs may be less than your excess. In such cases, you may be refunded the difference or you may wish to cover the cost yourself rather than lodging a claim, which would also allow you to keep your no-claim bonus intact.

What can I do if I’m not satisfied with the repairs done by my chosen repairer?

If you aren’t happy with car repairs done by your insurance company’s preferred repairer, your insurer will generally organise and cover the cost of further repairs to resolve the issue. However, if you’ve opted for your own choice of repairer, you’re responsible for communicating with them and may have to pay for any additional work on your car, though you may be covered by certain warranties and guarantees under Australian Consumer Law.

If you do want to make a complaint, the first step is to contact the business to discuss the problem; if an agreement can't be reached, you may be able to complain to the industry body or lodge a formal complaint with your local state or territory consumer protection agency.

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