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Motor insurance – right of veto

When a customer’s car is damaged in a road traffic accident, is he/she free to choose which workshop will repair the vehicle?

Under normal circumstances, most motor insurers will not intervene in a customer’s decision as to which workshop will repair the damaged vehicle. Car dealer workshops normally charge more, with the customer having to pay more for depreciation as a result. Non-dealer workshops normally charge less, resulting in a lower cost of depreciation.

On some occasions, however, in an effort to protect the interests of both the customer and insurer, the insurer may exercise the right of veto given under the policy and object to the customer’s chosen workshop. A case in point is where the practices/procedures of the workshop deviate significantly from accepted market standards. For example, some workshops ask for a deposit before starting work. This is unacceptable to most insurers because it could jeopardise the interests of both the customer and insurer in the event the workshop fails to complete the repair work for reasons such as bankruptcy. 

In some cases, the workshop may not provide a full quotation before starting work and reserve the right to charge more even after the repair work has started. Motor insurers are reluctant to accept unreasonable demands of this nature as they are not in the best interests of either the customer or the insurer. In circumstances like these, the insurer will exercise the right of veto under the policy.

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