Fleet News

Insurance row over charges to use 'unofficial' repairers

A ROW has broken out over costs and waiting times for repairs to company vehicles following the decision of insurer Zurich Financial Services to make policyholders pay the additional cost if they use more expensive non-approved repairers.

The Retail Motor Industry Federation claims that forcing customers to use a select band of repairers will mean fleet managers have to pay escalating bills and face delays as work backs up in the approved bodyshops.

But Zurich Financial Services refutes the allegation, arguing its strategy will improve standards and keep premiums down for their customers. According to the firm, policyholders are free to take their cars to non-approved bodyshops as long as their prices are lower than the recommended levels. However, the RMI believes those levels are far below the market average, and could force bodyshops to cut corners in order to make money.

RMI bodyshop services director Bob Hood said: 'ZFS appears to be deliberately restricting consumer choice by refusing to accept its responsibility as a motor insurer to cover the costs of accident damage repairs in such circumstances. ZFS policyholders should not stand for this.'

Charles Long, network manager for ZFS, replied: 'It's all about keeping costs and premiums down. We have got a large network of approved repairers around the country, which are closely managed. They are under strict service level requirements. Many of those garages are RMI members.'

The RMI believes that practices like this are not acting in the spirit of the law. The federation's legal adviser, Tim Ensor-Clinch, said: 'Contracts of insurance are quite clear. Policyholders are legally entitled to use repairers of their choice and insurance companies should meet the costs of repairs, providing those costs are reasonable.'

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment

Comments

No comments have been made yet.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee