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After the accident, the owner of a damaged vehicle will usually get quotes for repairs.
The repair quotes will be evidence of the cost of repairing your car, if the other driver was at fault.
If the accident was a minor one, repair quotes will help you decide whether to claim on your insurance.
You don't need to get a set number of quotes, but it is common to get more than one quote. Sometimes getting more than one quote can help show that the amount you are asking for is 'not excessive' and is 'fair and reasonable'.
You can get quotes from panel beaters and mechanics. Some panel beaters may charge for written quotes, so you should ring around.
Quotes should include:
If you need your car, you can go ahead and get the car repaired before you have settled the claim with the other driver (or the other driver's insurance company).
In this case, you would need to keep copies of receipts and tax invoices for the work carried out to fix your car. Remember to take photos of the damage to your car before you get it repaired.
You can only claim the reasonable costs of repairing your vehicle. If you spend more than what is reasonable to fix your car, you may not necessarily recover the total cost.
If it costs more to repair your car than its value before the accident, your car is usually 'written-off'. If your car is written-off, you should get a report with the pre-accident value of your car.
There are a number of organisations that can provide such a report for a fee of $15.00 - $25.00. You can search for organisations on the internet under 'second-hand car valuations'.
You will also need to get a written estimate of the salvage value of the car from a second hand parts dealer or wrecker.
The salvage value is the amount that a second hand parts dealer or wrecker will pay for the car. The amount you can claim for a car that is a write-off is worked out as follows:
Pre accident value - Salvage value = Amount you can claim.
If you and the other driver cannot agree on the pre-accident value of your car, you should get legal advice. If your car is insured, you can go through your insurer's internal dispute resolution process. For more information, see Insurer – dispute resolution.
If the other driver thinks you are at fault and wants you to pay for repairs to their car, they will usually give you one or more quotes for the cost of fixing their car. You can ask the other driver for more than one quote, or to have your own repairer look at their car, but you can't force the other driver to agree.
You can take the quote from the other driver to your own mechanic or panel beater to check that the amount asked for is reasonable.
If the other driver's insurance company is handling the claim, the insurance company will usually go ahead and repair the car and claim the repair costs from you.
If you don't agree with the amount they are claiming, you can try to negotiate with the other driver or their insurance company.
If you agree to pay the amount claimed, or negotiate a reduced amount or instalment payments, you may be able to settle the claim.
For more information, see Resolving your dispute.