What is covered by comprehensive insurance?
A comprehensive insurance policy covers your car for theft, vandalism, fire, natural disasters (including storms and floods), objects falling on the car, damage caused by animals, and civil disturbances such as riots. Your car is also covered for damage caused by a collision, whether it is your fault or not.
All of the above should be covered, but you need to check the policy details in case there are exclusions.
In contrast, if you have third-party insurance rather than a comprehensive policy, your cover provider will only payout in the case of fire, theft and malicious damage.
If the car repairs are the result of a collision that is not your fault, you can claim for repairs. Your insurance company will claim against the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident.
Most car insurance policies have an excess, which is an amount you have to pay towards any claim. You may also lose any no claims bonus you have if you make a claim.
If the cost of repairs is less than the excess amount, it isn’t worth making an insurance claim. If the repair costs are just above the excess amount, it may still not be worth claiming as the excess plus the reduction of the no claims discount could end up costing you more than the repairs.
Repairs due to parts failing
Though modern cars are reliable, parts can wear out or malfunction and a car insurance policy will not cover you for this. If the car is fairly new, it may still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and this will pay for repairs. If your warranty has run out, you can purchase an extended car warranty that will cover certain repairs.
Contact the insurance company before arranging car repairs
A car that is not safe to drive until it is repaired can be very inconvenient, especially if you rely on the vehicle for work or for other important things such as taking the children to school.
However, don’t be tempted to arrange car repairs yourself if you wish to claim the money back on insurance. If the damage to the car is extensive, a claims assessor may need to inspect it before approving repairs. The assessor may observe that the cost of repairs is more than the car is worth, and that makes the car a write off. You will then receive a sum of money equal to the value of the car.
Alternatively, the insurance company may insist that you take the car to one of its own approved car repairers. If you arrange your own car repairs before approval by the insurance company, they may refuse to pay out.
What to do while waiting for the car to be repaired
Some policies will include the use of a hire car whilst you are waiting for the car to be repaired. If not, and you need to use a car, you will have to either borrow one from friends or family or pay for a hire car.
If you borrow a car, make sure your insurance policy covers you for driving it. Not all policies do, or you may find that you are only covered for third-party, which could make you responsible for repairs as a result of an accident that was your fault.
The short, the answer to ‘will car insurance pay for car repairs?’ is it depends on the policy terms and conditions - and the cause of the damage. Make sure that you read all your insurance documents carefully so that you are clear on what repairs you can claim for.
Another option to cover the cost of repairs that is suitable for some motorists is vehicle warranties.