Ensuring fairer car repair costs in insurance claims

The system of third-party insurance claims has a flaw.

I once met with a minor car accident. The fault was mine as my vehicle hit the other party's vehicle from behind.

We, the drivers, both took pictures of each other's vehicles. 

The other driver informed me that he had a headache as a result of the impact and left the scene in a hurry.

Thus, I did not have a chance to exchange particulars and telephone numbers with him, which left me unsure as to how he wanted to be compensated. 

In the end, I reported the accident to my insurance company - only for record purposes. I sent my vehicle for repair and the cost was less than $900. 

A month later, I received a letter from my insurance company that the other party had submitted a claim against my third-party insurance. 

So I called up my insurance company to find out the ballpark figure of his repair. To my surprise, it came up to more than $3,000, excluding medical and car rental fees, among others.

I contacted my own workshop to find out how much the repairs for the other driver's vehicle would have cost and was told that usually, claims made on insurance policies would be based on "list prices" while personal claims would be based on "least price".

In order to ensure fair repair costs, the General Insurance Association should put in place a system whereby the motor surveyor must obtain three quotes of repair costs from three separate, approved workshops. 

With three quotes received, the lowest quote would get the repair job, and this will create fair competition that will drive down repair costs for the insurance company's benefit.

Chang Jia Min