Be prepared: panel beaters may keep your car until your insurer has fully settled the claim.


Panel beaters can wait until insurance pays out

1 August 2019

Be prepared: panel beaters may keep your car until your insurer has fully settled the claim.


Being in a car accident, whether it’s your fault or not, is always stressful. Fortunately, if you’re insured there’s generally less to worry about. Depending on the type of insurance you’ve chosen and excluding the excess, your car insurance will cover the cost of the repairs to your car and often help you through the process and refer you to an approved panel beater.

Most people assume that once their claim has been approved and the car booked into a panel beater that is the end of the process and they just need to wait for the work to be completed and cover the excess.

Unfortunately, according to a recent article in Business Insider SA, panel beaters are growing frustrated with delays in payment from the insurance companies and may now refuse to return your car until the bill for repairs has been fully settled, either by your insurance company or you.

If the insurance company hasn’t settled the claim with the panel beater before the car is ready, you’ll need to either wait until this has been done, and be without your car for longer, or settle the amount yourself and then deal with the insurance company to be reimbursed.

You will also be required to agree that you remain liable for any amount that your insurer doesn’t cover, so if for any reason your insurer doesn’t settle the claim with the panel beater you will be liable for the cost of the repairs.

While the panel beaters’ industry association, the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), hopes that the impact on their clients will be minimal, they say that they were forced to implement these measures to protect their members from “insurer failure and poor payment administration”. 

At this stage, nobody is sure what the impact will be and how the insurance companies will respond but if you do have an accident claim in future, then check with your insurance company upfront how their claims are settled and what you would need to do to avoid having this issue with yours. 

Also, ensure that you’ve purchased the correct car insurance for your budget. If you have a high excess amount and you’re unable to pay it right away, the panel beaters won’t be paid quickly enough. A high excess amount might translate into lower car insurance premiums but when you have an accident you will need to ensure you have the funds available.

Is it time to shop around for new car insurance? Let MotorHappy do the work for you. Give us a call or fill out our online quote form and let us know what your coverage needs are, as well as your budget, and we will give you a selection of quotes from South Africa’s top insurers. 


This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the information contained in this article.

More Articles