Do I have the right to question an $1800 claim for: one light scratch and one displaced rear light cover?
I was at fault. Noted the damage. Did not contact my insurance as have a $1000 excess. I have not been the cause of an accident in 40 years, however have had a number of people cause damage to my various vehicles so I am not unaware of ridiculous prices of repairs.
I asked the owner of the vehicle to email me the quote / bill, so I could promptly rectify. Months later received insurance claim for $1500! I asked insurer Allianz to send me details of the costs of repairs. Not forthcoming. Next a recovery agency sends bill for $1800. Again I ask for details of the bill. No response.
Surely I have the right to know what I am expected to pay for and can question an excessive claim? How much can insurance agencies charge to issue a bill?
Have others had similar experiences?
You have essentially violated the T&C of your policy by admitting fault and apparently entering into an offer to pay for damages. See below.
You expected the restitution would be a private affair, but the other driver duly reported it to their insurer, Allianz who then took control of arranging the repair.
When you asked for details did they respond in any way or once the date for payment
passed did they pass the debt to the collection agent?
Comprehensive insurance repairs the policy holders vehicle and then collects their costs from the at fault driver. The process normally happens between insurance companies.
My understanding that could be corrected is the itemised costs are between the panel beater and Allianz. The issue between you and Allianz is Allianz’s costs that is a one liner, eg ‘Allianz costs’ and yourself.
If you have not, you should contact your insurance company and ‘come clean’ to see if they will offer any support, or if you are on your own.
The following or something similar is in each comprehensive policy I have read.
What you must not do
• do not admit liability or responsibility to anyone or pay for any damage before
• do not negotiate, pay or settle a claim with anyone else before contacting us;
• do not carry out or authorise any repairs without our consent, except for emergency
repairs described in ‘After claim expenses’ on page 36;
• do not dispose of any damaged parts of your car or your property without
• do not accept payment from someone who admits fault for loss or damage to your
car. Refer them to us instead.
If you do not comply with ‘What you must do’ and ‘What you must not do’ we can
reduce or refuse to pay your claim and/or recover from you any costs and/or any
monies we have paid and/or cancel your policy.
I suggest you settle before your costs escalate. If Allianz did not respond to your initial request for details you could try to negotiate back to the original $1,500. These days almost nothing is a $1,500 repair, or more.
The reality @wend faces is the other driver did the right thing assuming their policy reflects the T&C posted. After an offer to pay if @wend ended up not doing the right thing they could then have been out of pocket and decided not to take that chance.
Irrespective of an offer to pay, one should immediately notify their own insurer when one is insured. Insurance details should have been exchanged. Allianz will assume @Wend is uninsured as the reason for their approach.
Damage to two vehicles, even if both have what appears very minor, can easily exceed $1000 quickly.
While @Wend didn’t do this, she should approach her insurer ASAP. Hopefully it isn’t too late to get assistance.
As others have said, you should have reported it to your insurer.
I would go straight to my insurer and ask them to take the matter over. If you are lucky and they do take over your claim, you will only have to pay your excess of $1,000. Depending on your insurer, you may even keep your no claim bonus based on your lack of claims.
Thank You All for reading the T & C’s which I didn’t do! I appreciate your advice.
Two issues unanswered:
Why am I not able to view the repairers bill? Seriously I believe I could have made the repairs myself in 15 minutes with a cut and polish and sticking the light cover back on!
Someone is making an unreasonable amount of money out of this.
Why don’t we know how much insurance companies are charging to arrange payment for repairs?
We grumble about ever increasing insurance costs but don’t know where
our $$$$ are going.
Possibly as you weren’t the engaging party to get the quote. If you had said to the owner of the car you damaged, that you would personally arrange for the repair and payment directly, then you would be in control of the process and be the engaging party for the quote.
It appears unfortunately you have made a number of mistakes in relation to trying to resolve the accident, as outlined in the posts above.
I hope that your insurer takes on your belated claim/case so you aren’t out of pocket for the total claimed amount by the recovery agency. For interest, it would be great if you let the community know the outcome with your insurer as it might provide useful information to others who also think about approaching accident resolution like you have,
There is a difference between a ‘make do’ and doing it to the standard rightly expected by the not-at-fault driver.
Panel beating costs went up smartly a few years ago because of EPA regulations as well as the costs of modern paint, and especially metallic varieties that cannot be ‘cut’ without visually damaging the finish. Most cars today are one of those types unless they come in the basic colour. A larger area has to be painted to make it possible to blend the metallics, sometimes an entire door when the ding might only be a fingerprint size somewhere on it, to make the point.
Would your cut and polish and sticking the cover back (if it was not scratched or cracked) include a lifetime warranty on the work such as insurance normally provides? Does it include painting to restore rather than thin the paint depth as a cut does, as well as doing the mandated environmental controls such as any paint hoods and disposals of unused paint and chemicals? The quality of that work would make the end product more or less susceptible to future chipping from door dings or errant pebbles.
A guess, and it is a guess, is that Allianz has no obligation to reveal that. The contracted work was between the panel shop and Allianz and you are a third party to that transaction who has admitted fault and thus are liable for Allianz’s costs that could be presented as ‘Restitution’, end of description. That being written they could provide a statement such as
Repairs to vehicle - $1,000
Allianz administrative costs - $500
Total owed - $1,500
“If you had said to the owner of the car you damaged, that you would personally arrange for the repair and payment directly, then you would be in control of the process and be the engaging party for the quote.” I did ask and the owner of the car went to his insurer, apparently by doing this I contravened the T&C’s.
Thanks for clarifying. NB The vehicle was not new, and not without other minor damage. I think I will contact their insurer again and negotiate a payment plan. I’m now reluctant to contact my insurer because as you have pointed out that I’ve contravened T&Cs, I don’t want to risk becoming uninsured.
Thanks- will tell you the outcome.
If money owed is now in the hands of a recovery agency, you should just pay up.
Don’t play games with them.
It is too late to question the cost of any repairs, and the amount demanded is what you will be pursued for, and may well get higher if you delay.
Your insurance company will have no interest in this event since they had no opportunity to inspect the damage, and neither will the other parties insurance company since they have paid for the repairs and now employed a debt recoverer.
Sorry you have had this experience, but the best thing to do is leave even minor car incidents to your insurer to handle. They are far better at dealing with claims and other parties. That is their business. That is what you pay for with your yearly premiums.
As @gregr implied, Allianz may have sold your debt to a collection agent and no longer has any interest in it. Nothing ventured nothing gained, but if they pass you back to the collection agency that is what happened.
Collection agents earn their dollars either as a percent of the debt they collect FOR a client, or by BUYING the debt from the ‘client’ for less than value and trying to collect full value. In the latter case they have full ‘ownership’ of the debt and are rarely inclined to take less than full value but may be amenable to a payment plan.
The collection agent could be working for Allianz on commission, eg the $300 premium above your debt so you might get lucky with Allianz; but if not you will have an idea as to why. They also might have bought your debt from Allianz for ~$1500 and added their own $300 markup and your debt is their ‘property’.
In this day and age most people have a smart phone . You should have taken photos of the damage as well as existing damage on the vehicle . It looks like they may have repaired existing damage along with the damage you caused . This is why they are not forth coming with paper work as it will show all work performed on the vehicle .
Contact your insurer immediately and they may still be able to invoke the " knock for knock " agreement . Your insurer will then insist on the paper work before a payment is made .
I believe it means money doesn’t always change hands between two insurers. It is the period’s outstanding balance between the two organisations not each and every accident that is settled. This is what is meant by “knock for knock”. Wend’s insurer and the other may agree to use the cost as part of working out who owes and how much they owe when settling the outstanding difference between them. If Wend is in time the insurer may still accept the claim as a goodwill gesture to her.
Thanks for the explanation. It makes it not only hilarious but absurd.
So the other person, who was clearly not at fault, finds that their insurer will deem their claim to be an at fault or other party not identified one. They will want the excess amount repaid, probably cost the other person their no claim bonus if they have one, and then jack up the next premium, assuming the customer hasn’t departed in disgust and gone to another insurer.
No it is just accounting, if the bill is over the the excess then sure the person has to pay that excess amount if an at fault or unidentified driver accident. The no fault driver is still no fault, it is the total amount of claims which is assessed during a period that is used in the knock for knock. An example one driver with x company hits a driver who is with y company and it is a bill of $3,000; next a driver with y company hits a driver who is with x company and the bill is $3,500…this means the difference is $500 owed by y to x. Nothing to do with no claim bonuses unless the accidents were assessed as having some shared responsibility for the accident. If a no fault accident for one party then it won’t affect their policy at all.
Does the whole saga go back to the original position that the party at fault offered to pay directly for the repair?
What was actually communicated and understood in the moments following the incident? Without an independent record, the communication and understandings at the time of what’s happened and what is agreed is open to more than one interpretation.
Paramount is resolving the claim by the insurer/collection agency before it escalates.