Nearly every car driver knows that vehicle repair isn’t cheap – even a small bump against the car door in a car park can cost up to a thousand euros if the car’s paint is damaged. Cases that are mostly beyond the driver’s control – such as a collision with wildlife – can be particularly costly. When can you expect help from insurance?
If the damage to the vehicle is caused by another vehicle and the person who caused it is known, the solution is simple – the damage is compensated by the motor third party liability insurance provider of the driver who caused it. According to Taavi Vals, Vehicle Insurance Portfolio Manager of LHV Kindlustus, the situation is more complicated when the person who caused the damage is not known – for example, a car has been hit in a car park and it is not possible to identify the car that hit it. ‘In that case, the motor third party liability insurance of the damaged vehicle will be of no help in compensating the repair costs, and only comprehensive insurance will be an option,’ said Vals. Comprehensive insurance also helps if the driver causes unexpected damage to his or her own vehicle, such as accidentally driving into a garage door.
A common incident – a cracked windscreen
According to Vals, one of the most common cases of damage is a cracked windscreen due to a stone flying into the glass. ‘The next most common type of incident is a “regular” traffic accident – collision with another car, accidents in a car park. Damage, which is usually beyond the driver’s control and often quite significant, is caused by collisions with wildlife. A person may be confident in his or her driving skills, but there is no way of predicting whether an animal will run onto the road in the dark from the woods – such incidents are most common in rural areas, where there are few other drivers and many wild animals. In the case of a collision with wildlife, the damage is often quite significant,’ added Vals.
People are often surprised to learn that if damage is caused, for example, by a bicycle or electric scooter, motor third party liability insurance is of no help and damages can only be claimed directly from the person who caused the damage. ‘In this case, comprehensive insurance can help, under which the client can have his or her vehicle repaired and the insurance company will then make a claim against the person who caused the damage,’ said Vals.
Cost of repair has increased
Average vehicle repair costs have increased significantly in recent years. ‘The average cost of windscreen damage is between €800 and €1,000, while body repair can cost around €2,000. Even in minor cases, where a car door makes a dent in the door or wing of another car in a car park and the paintwork is damaged, the cost of repair can be up to €1,000,’ said Vals.
The price of comprehensive insurance depends on a number of different factors. ‘For example, the insurance history of the responsible user or owner of the vehicle is checked. The model, age and power of the insured vehicle and the area where the owner drives are also relevant. The price of comprehensive insurance is also influenced by the insurance deductible – the higher the insurance deductible, the lower the premium. We have insured Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW models the most,’ said Vals.
Even if there is comprehensive insurance, it is important to properly document the accident. Compensation for damages is conditional on the accident being properly documented. If damage is caused to a third party other than one’s own vehicle – such as another vehicle, a road sign, a lamppost or someone’s fence – the accident must be documented in a written record with the other party or, if the injured party is not present, the police must be informed of the accident. An accident with wildlife must be reported to either the police or the Environmental Board. The insurance provider must be informed as soon as possible after the loss event has occurred. Repair of the vehicle may start if agreed upon with the insurance provider – it’s important to remember that insurance providers have trusted partners to carry out the repairs, such as recognised dealerships and highly qualified car repair shops.