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Hastings: Using own repairer vs Albany Assistance?


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I am hoping someone with a similar experience can help. This morning I was about to park behind a parked vehicle and did not stop in time causing my bumper to be quite severely bashed in and the front parking sensors have gone funny but the other vehicle just suffered scratches. Anyway, contacted Hastings and gave all the details and explained the incident and the lady I spoked to (Lauren) was polite and helpful. In the end, she told me Albany Assistance will find me a local garage who handle all the repair work which I thought at the time was good. Anyway, I was put through to them and after the formalities, I was told the "local" garage was 25 miles away. I explained the journey there would be at least 40 minutes on a good day and more if there is traffic so hardly "local". Also, I need to drive the vehicle there just for an estimate which is a good hour and a half journey there and back. But i was told that is the closest approved garage to me and when the car comes in for the work, I will be provided a courtesy car so the journey back will be fine. (After reading about the courtesy car issues here, it does not sound that attractive at all.)

 

Anyway, I then googled the garage and it is a Vauxhall garage who is going to handle my Volkswagen Golf. So I called Albany back to ask can i not use a local garage of my choice and one who has more experience with VW. They said, they can cancel this job now, and I should call Hastings back to explain that I would like to use a more local garage so I did. Unfortunately it was about 1pm and Hastings do not think people need to make a claim on a Saturday afternoon because their offices had already closed.

 

Sorry for rambling on, but the question is, I will now need to wait until Monday before I can talk to anyone at Hastings about it so is it likely they will insist on using Albany or can I choose my local VW dealer which is 5 minutes drive away or even a local independent German car specialist which is 2 minutes WALK away rather than a Vauxhall workshop 25 miles away. Does the fact I turned down Albany now delay my car getting fixed anytime soon? And will Hastings 'persuade' me to stick with Albany by incurring fees and hoops to jump through? Any help or words of comfort is much appreciated, I just don't want to stress too much over the weekend. Thank you.

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The problem with using a non approved repairer, is if the repair is not up to scratch, you have no comeback, your insurance company will not be interested

 

Also, will the garage of your choice provide you with a courtesy car, while yours is being repaired ?

 

I would of thought that the approved repairer would pick the car up from your house, have they said they won't ?

 

Colin

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Thank you Colin for replying. Well, if it was local I really don't need a courtesy car. Just a 2 minute walk back I can handle but a 25 mile one I cannot. Also, they said because the vehicle is driveable I will need to take it there myself. With regards to approved or not, is there any reason to think a VW dealer or a German car specialist will do a bodge job on my Golf while a Vauxhall workshop won't? It just seems more logical to me.

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I think any garage can make mistakes, being expensive, and a main dealer, does not make the immune

 

But if you are happy that the local dealer will do a good job, push to go with them

 

It was an episode of Watchdog that made me say about a dealer doing a bad job, and that was by BMW

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You can use a local garage of your choice, if you can evidence that they can do the work at the same price or less. So you would have to get quotes and provide them to Hastings. They would compare with what the are told is the likely cost at the garage 25 miles away. You may get told it is cheaper than your quotes and if you want your own garage, have to pay the difference.

 

Using an insurers authorised garage is easier and may be quicker. The repairs are guaranteed, so if you are not happy, Hastings would be responsible with the garage. When i had a repair done, it was a garage over 10 miles away, when i have garages near where i live. I could not be bothered getting quotes and negotiating for my choice iof garage, when i might have to pay towards the repair, if the insurers garage said they could do it cheaper.

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Thank you all for the replies. It really is a matter of inconvenience that the only approved repairer is so far away. I wouldn't bat an eyelid even if it was in a neighboring town rather than a neighboring county. So am I to assume the courtesy car issue others have been complaining about is not an issue anymore?

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Thank you all for the replies. It really is a matter of inconvenience that the only approved repairer is so far away. I wouldn't bat an eyelid even if it was in a neighboring town rather than a neighboring county. So am I to assume the courtesy car issue others have been complaining about is not an issue anymore?

 

They are not always available. You have to book in your car on the basis you must be provided with a courtesy car.

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It sounds like the accident was your fault.

 

Generally Albany are a separate company to Hasting who handle Hastings (and other Insurers) customers who are involved in non fault accidents. They make their money by providing a hire car at an inflated cost which they bill the fault drivers Insurer and also take a percentage of commission from the garage they send your vehicle to.

 

I believe Hastings have made a mistake and thought your accident was someone else's fault and thus directed you to Albany who pay Hastings circa £300 commission for referring customers to them they can place in an inflated cost hire car (Known as a "Credit Hire").

 

If this is the case then obviously as you're at fault Albany will have no one to recover their costs from so the repairs and "Courtesy" car will not happen and they will refer you back to Hastings for you to claim against your own comprehensive policy.

 

Things may have changed recently and Albany may be providing outsourced accident handling for Hastings own customers but I don't believe they have.

 

I would recommend you ring Hastings on Monday in office hours and check with them about what's happening to avoid a wasted journey

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Might be wrong, but i thought Hastings had outsourced most claims work.

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Yes, it is my fault and have not masked this. Hastings are fully aware of this and they said if I wish to claim for the repair, they will outsource to Albany. So with that in mind, does that credit hire thing apply? As the courtesy car is meant to be provided as stated in my policy.

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The courtesy car in your situation is simply the garage letting you use one of their cars while yours is in for repair. But you need to book the car in with the authorised repairers and request a courtesy car. They sometimes are not guaranteed and are subject to availability.

 

Credit hire is where you have a non fault claim and Albany supply a car for a period, because they think the cost can be claimed back from the third party.

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Might be wrong, but i thought Hastings had outsourced most claims work.

 

You're correct, looks like they started very recently.

 

Only Hastings could choose a company with Albany's reputation to handle their fault claims.

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