What do you do when your own insurance provider damages your car?

My vehicle was involved in an accident sustaining damage to the front left of the vehicle. I was not at fault. My car was towed away to the dedicated AAMI/Suncorp car yard at 110 Lamington Avenue, Eagle Farm right after the accident. AAMI then organised a tow truck to transport my vehicle from their holding facility to their approved repairer.

In this span of 3 days, while my car has been under AAMI’s & the repairer’s custody, it has been further damaged, this time to the rear of the vehicle with estimated cost of repairs exceeding $10k.

AAMI refused to pursue the “at fault” party until I put in a second claim. Since AAMI organised the tow truck, I did not have the details of the tow truck driver or the tow truck company and was left with no choice but to put in a second claim in the hope that AAMI would go after them. Now that I have put in the 2nd claim, they are asking me now for the details of the tow truck driver. AAMI cannot or will disclose the name of the tow truck company or the driver that they used to transport my vehicle, but if I don’t provide them with the name of the “at fault” driver or witness account, I will be liable to pay an excess.

Is there anyway I can force AAMI/Suncorp to share the CCTV footage from their caryard & the repairers?

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Welcome to the Community @pk12345

This looks like an issue that may well require the advice of a lawyer.

Members here may well have opinions on how to deal with a situation, but really should not stray into legal areas. Consumer laws excepted.

A difficult set of circumstances that followed.

Is AAMI actually asking for evidence there was no damage to the rear of your vehicle prior to it being taken from the accident scene? If possible are there photos from the scene? Alternately a Stat Dec from you and one other might suffice.

Obtaining details from the towing operator/s re the damage when the vehicle was in their possession and proving accountabilities. The damage appears to being treated by AAMI as an independent insurable event. The best advice may come from a law firm which specialises in motor vehicle insurance and accident related claims.

It’s important that what has been communicated is formally recorded. IE Has AAMI or their agent advised you of the additional damage in handling by email or writing? Have you responded similarly, and raised your concern, that it is their responsibility? Have you asked for a written explanation from AAMI as to why you need to act as directed?

AAMI does have a complaints option for escalating your issue. They may see the legal implications of what you are relating and act to resolve?

Other avenues to consider.
There is an ombudsman’s service for resolution of disputes with insurance providers.
https://www.afca.org.au/make-a-complaint/insurance/insurance-products-and-issues
Note the AFCA may initially direct you to a legal service for further advice.
Canstar’s take on the ombudsman service.
Settling Claims With A Car Insurance Ombudsman | Canstar

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There will be a full set of photos taken by the repairer to justify their repairs on damage #1. The question is were they taken before or after damage #2.

Hi @pk12345, welcome to the community.

A quick couple of questions/comments…how do you know the vehicle had been damaged further once the vehicle had been removed from the crash scene by tow truck company? How do you know it wasn’t damaged when held in the AAMI/Suncorp holding yard?

When was the alleged secondary damaged caused? Was it between the crash scene and the AAMI/Suncorp holding yard, in the AAMI/Suncorp holding yard or between the AAMI/Suncorp holding yard and the repairer. Usually damage assessment would be carried out at insurer holding yard before sending to a dedicated repairer. If this is the case, AAMI/Suncorp will know how the vehicle was damaged prior to receipt in the yard. If it was between the crash scene and the holding yard, they won’t know when the other damage was caused.

You should have received a docket from the tow truck driver when the vehicle was taken from the crash scene. Have you checked this as it often has details of the driver, tow truck company and where the vehicle will be removed to.

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@pk12345 indicates 110 Lamington Ave, Eagle Farm.

It’s the address of Manheim Services. They provide a range of services including transport and towing.
Transport

It’s more likely they were contracted by AAMI/Suncorp. It’s also possible the same operator was used to transport the damaged vehicle to the repairer. If not AAMI should be well aware of whom they directed to pick up and move the vehicle. A third party or perhaps the repairer.

Apologies, ran out of time earlier today and wanted to add more about your situation…

In relation to sharing CCTV footage, AAMI/Suncorp possibly aren’t the owner of the material and as a result won’t be able to give it to you. As now suggested by @mark_m, the owner of the holding yard may not be AAMI/Suncorp but a separate private company. This separate company, its lessee or occupier may have ownership of any footage, if it exists. It is the others where such requests should be made, assuming there is evidence the damage occurred when the vehicle was within the holding yard. If you ask the wring party for footage they don’t own, you are likely to be stonewalled.

Good luck with trying to resolve and keep in informed on how you get on.

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Thanks @Gregr

Trying to search for insurance lawyers but can only find Injury & CTP lawyers. Might reach out to the Financial Rights Legal Centre https://financialrights.org.au/ for advice.

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There is a list of Consumer Law centres that are free and should be able to help you with advice and possibly representation.

Free Legal Advice Centres - Services - Community (choice.community)

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Would APRA be any use?

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AFCA are the one legislated with the power to make decisions (only for those businesses registered with them or those industries the Govt mandated as covered eg Superannuation). APRA are like ACCC in that they have oversight but they like the ACCC are slow to act and often calls for action must reach some opaque level before they step in. ASIC would be another and again slow to act (if they ever act in any given matter).

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Yes, the AFCA also gets the tick according to the following from the Government Money Smart web resource. Prior to that step the recommended actions include escalating the dispute to your insurers internal dispute resolution team. I provided a link with the relevant details in a prior post.

One of the outstanding concerns for @pk12345 is that they may not want to add the damage in transport as a new claim on their policy. I think I know the best answer to that, but it needs to come from a lawyer. It may or may not be quite what @pk12345 expects.

The larger law firms such as Maurice Blackburn, Shine etc will all have the ability and depth to advise on the circumstances, and support any claim if @pk12345 is concerned about who to approach. @grahroll has also suggested some other alternatives that may prove more suitable.

There is some further content on the Money Smart web link that may be important. This includes putting your claim/s and concerns without delay in writing to your insurer.

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I seem to have my acronyms scrambled.

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Thank you everyone for you comments and suggestions. This whole experience has been a steep learning curve, albeit a harrowing one.

In the last 5 days, I have done the following to hold AAMI accountable:

  • Posted my concerns on AAMI’s Facebook & Twitter public accounts
  • Made a formal complaint to AAMI via a Facebook Private Message and been in touch with their customer support team
  • Posted my concerns here on the Choice forum
  • Sent them a formal letter of complaint to their Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) email address which is managed by Suncorp, AAMI’s parent company.

One or a combination of all of these above actions seems to have worked as AAMI reached out to me yesterday and waived off the excess on my 2nd claim and also this morning processed the assessment and authorised the repairs on the 2nd claim - i.e, damage from Tow Truck.

Of course, I still don’t know how long the repairers are going to take to repair the vehicle and the quality of their work. I still have 1 more year of manufacturer’s warranty left on the vehicle and unsure if that will be impacted as a result of these damages/repairs.

While I’m not over the hump yet, I’m cautiously optimistic at this stage. It is a pity that they had to put me though hell before getting to this stage.

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That is good news.

In relation to quality of repairs, AAMI/Suncorp have a lifetime repair guarantee. See their PDS for more information…

AAMI Lifetime Repair Guarantee

The quality of the workmanship and the materials authorised by AAMI in the repair of your car will be guaranteed for its life. The parts used in the repair of your car will be of the same type as those explained on these pages.

If you are concerned about the quality of the repair of your car, you must call us on 13 22 44 and you must make your car available to us. You must not authorise rectification work without our written authority. We will inspect the repair and arrange any necessary rectification work

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