- By Indwe Risk Services
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The right to repair is an interesting, if lesser known, aspect of insurance. Indwe Risk Services examines why it is important and what consumers (and the insurers themselves) need to be aware of.
The right to repair is a voluntary code of conduct set by the Competition Commission. It recognises that the owner of a vehicle has the right to choose a repairer. And while this is not a legal requirement, the hope is that local insurers will be open to this, as it protects consumers and boosts the economy.
“One of the challenges of being prescriptive when it comes to vehicle repairs, is that it stifles competition and limits the options available to end users. Globally, more insurers are requested to open maintenance and repairs to independent workshops without voiding the warranty,” says Joe Szemerei, Executive Director, individual and volume business at Indwe.
So, even though the Competition Commission has advised that the implementation of an industry-wide Code of Conduct is not feasible, it stated in the media that it hopes to convert it into a guideline that authorities can use when it comes to applying the Competition Act in the automotive aftermarkets sector.
“Of course the risk to opening the market completely is that the consumer will be subject to sub-standard repairs or fly-by-night mechanics out to make a quick buck. The last thing that needs to be done is to create an environment where people are worse off than they were prior to the repairs being made. It’s all about balancing flexibility and economic growth opportunities with a responsibility of protecting people’s best interests.”
Moreover, the impact on the liability of ensuring that repairs are done correctly, might see a few insurers hesitant to fully embrace this concept. They might expand their list of approved service providers, but there will always be the need to provide a certain level of quality control and service consistency to customers.
“Consumers must always carefully read their policy documentation to gain a clear understanding of what their insurer allows when it comes to maintenance and repairs. This mitigates the risk against not getting paid the settlement amount or only getting paid a smaller amount. If there is any uncertainty, the best advice is to speak to you Indwe broker to be sure.”
If you would like more information on this or any other insurance-related question, please visit www.indwe.co.za or contact 0860 13 13 14.
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