Useful Information

Choose your insurance provider carefully

In this era of packaging, presentation and hype, anything and everything that is sold in the market is promoted by highlighting its virtues and hiding its vices, so to speak. As you try to shortlist a car insurance provider you need to bear this in mind. Typically, most Australian car insurance companies may have tie-ups with low-bidding smash repair companies. The damaged cars are sent to these companies, who in turn ‘fix’ them using cheap and poor quality spare parts and mediocre service. Therefore, while looking at the benefits of a car insurance provider, it is important to verify whether the “claims” that your insurance provider sells you, holds true at the actual time of your smash repair claim.

You must have a very clear idea of the damages that the car insurance policy covers. It could be comprehensive or limited and you need to choose the one that matches your needs the most. While choosing a car insurance service provider, do extensive homework and have a basic understanding of the options available in the market. Of course, you can do this online but before you begin the task, do make a personal check list of the points that you want covered. This helps you to identify the companies that fulfill your insurance needs. Once a few have been outlined, simply compare their premium rates and the flexibility of payment plans.

The cheapest car insurance is not always the best. In the event of a claim, your cheap annual premium may mean that you will receive less quality repairs, or take more of your time to organize claims. On the same note, with the right insurer you may be eligible for a discount such as No-Claim Bonus which will assist in an affordable annual premium.

A comparison should also be made in terms of the extra benefits that each of the shortlisted companies offer. There are companies that provide discounted car hire service or a towing service in case of accidental repairs and valet service in the event of breakdown or accident on the move. Though, such perks are intended to pull more customers, they do matter if, and when, required – you may actually need them on real time basis and their total cost adds up to a reasonable value that you would otherwise have to pay from your own pocket.

You should of course read the Product Disclosure Statement provided by your insurer very carefully before entering into a policy with them. The PDS can usually be found on their website, and they can send one to you upon request.

As you prepare your checklist of the things that you need in a car insurance policy, here are some of the typical aspects that must be taken care of:

COVER

  • Is it comprehensive or 3rd party?
  • Extent of liability (excess) by causing damage to a 3rd party property
  • Extent of cover in the event of theft and/or misuse

CLAIMS

  • Parts & components of the vehicle covered in case of accident – These are some points that are often disclosed at the very end when the estimates are handed over for signing and you realize that you will be paying for parts like the dashboard or windscreen.
  • Quality of repairs – This is determined by the associated accident repair centers and guarantee on the parts replaced.
  • Choice of Smash Repairer – In the PDS, the insurer will identify whether you have any choice about where your vehicle is repaired, and the extent to which they can insist on their preferred repairer. By law, if the insurer agrees to give you choice, they must abide by this agreement. If you want freedom of choice, you must ensure that you are not locked in to the insurer’s network of possible low-quality smash repairers.

AGREEMENT

  • Though most of the information is available on the website of the company, make it a point to interact with a representative and verify all claims made in the brochures and website. Ask them what would happen if you were to make a claim 6 months from now, what you would need to do, and confirm with them that you are able to choose your preferred quality smash repairer. Remember though that they are bound by what is written in their PDS.
  • Ensure that all that is claimed in the promotional material will be delivered, by having it in the written agreement signed by the insurance company.
  • Beware of the hidden costs and things mentioned in the small print in the agreement.

All said and done, your instinct in judging people and situations is an intangible but indispensable requisite and trait for choosing your car insurance provider.


 

Handling the Plastic Bumper Colour Match Challenge

In recent years refinishers have been faced with new challenges regarding bumper colours. Many newer vehicles have plastic bumpers and fascias that wrap around and are “edge to edge” with the adjacent metal panels of the vehicle. Paint colours may vary between plastic and metal substrates because:

Paint used usually employ different technologies and are often supplied by different paint manufacturers. Paint applied on metal parts is a high – bake coating, while plastic parts are painted using low – bake paint.

Different pigments might be used for manufacturing paint for plastic parts and the main body colour, the shade of the topcoat may appear differently under various lighting conditions. What might be regarded as a perfect colour match in daylight, could be only “fair” when viewed under incandescent or fluorescent lights (or vice – versa).

The OEM body shell is painted on-line with metallic pigment particles within the wet paint which, when applied onto an electrostatically charged body, align themselves in a certain manner. Plastic substrates, being non conductive, use more conventional spray guns and therefore do not rely on this distribution pattern. This results in a somewhat different appearance of the topcoat. They are also sprayed at different locations (subcontractors).

The type of reducer, the method and speed of drying, as well as the spray painter’s technique, may also affect the shade of the topcoat, in particular in the case of metallic and pearl colours. This is primarily due to the time allowed for flotation and alignment of the pigments in the wet paint, i.e. before it sets.

Often the colour of the primed metal substrate is quite different to the plastic part (e.g. light grey or beige vs black). This may cause the topcoat to appear differently, especially when the topcoat is somewhat transparent. It is often the case with silver, light blue, metallic or yellow.

The texture of metal panels is usually completely smooth, while the surface of bumper bars is often granular. This may deceive the observer into thinking that the bumper bar colour is off-shade.