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Agency versus non-agency repairs on your car insurance

08 Dec 2021

When insuring your car or making a claim, you may be given a choice of ‘agency repairs’ in the event of an accident, but with an extra cost attached, or paying a lower premium or excess and having a ‘non-agency’ repair. Whether or not you should pay more or save money comes down to several points, particularly how old your car is, what type of car it is, and how important it is that you keep the highest possible resale value.

An agency repair is when your damaged car is fixed at the same dealership, or ‘agency’, that originally sold it new. There are some good reasons for wanting an agency repair. Firstly, an agency will almost certainly use original parts, not aftermarket. If your car is still quite new, an agency repair helps keep the ‘dealer’ service and repair history intact, and ensures any remaining warranty stays valid. For less common models or luxury cars, the agency will be more familiar with the car and its features. When the time comes to sell the car, the agency repair may make it easier to find a buyer and possibly get a slightly better price.

A non-agency repair is when the insurer sends the car to an independent workshop for repair. The big advantage of a non-agency repair is price, and it can be significantly less expensive than going to the agency. Non-agency workshops are also often faster than agency ones to assess and repair the damage, putting you behind the wheel sooner. Price and service are sharper because the independent, non-agency workshops must compete harder for business, whereas the agency has a semi-monopoly as the only ‘official’ workshop for a brand. Non-agency workshops will also use non-genuine parts, which are less expensive than the manufacturers’ own, branded components.

Most insurance policies include terms-and-conditions allowing the insurer to send the car to a non-agency repairer if they wish, and to use non-genuine parts. This should not be a concern. Your insurance company works with a network of reputable, reliable, independent workshops, whose quality of service and work should match or exceed that of the agency, and the parts used will be high-quality and come from reputable sources, even though they are an ‘aftermarket’ version.

Whether a customer chooses agency or non-agency repair would depend on their individual circumstances. Both options have their benefits and as long as there is a good insurance policy in place, the customer will be adequately protected.