Help? A vehicle manufacturer, we are approved by, has informed us that it is important that we;
undertake a sweep of the vehicle’s diagnostics system prior to starting the repair process, and
also undertake a sweep when the repair process has been completed.
Apparently checking the diagnostic systems before the repair will highlight if there are any faults with the systems which may have been caused by the impact. Checking after confirms that certain fault codes that may arise as a result of the repair process can be removed.
Some insurers have informed us not to undertake this task and refuse to pay for undertaking a diagnostics sweep, what can we do?
It is surprising that an insurer appears to be contradicting the advice from vehicle manufacturers, and doubtful that this is a ‘policy decision’. Perhaps an internal engineer has misunderstood an internal instruction? The reputational risk to an insurer mandating a potentially unsafe method of repair is in itself likely to prevent an insurer taking such action.
Perhaps a simple question on email to the person you were speaking with at the insurer would clarify this situation; you could ask something such as the following,
Dear [insert name]
On [insert date] we discussed a proposed repair to [insert vehicle details and registration number] assessment number [insert], you are aware we are authorised and audited by [insert manufacturer] to repair their vehicles.
During the conversation you appeared to suggest that we could not undertake a sweep of the vehicle’s diagnostics system, and stated that [insert name of insurer] would not pay for this service to be undertaken.
Please confirm that [insert name of insurer] specifically instructs us not to undertake this potentially safety critical aspect of the repair, and will not pay for this service being undertaken.
When we are in receipt of your clarification we will make a note on the repair method that, contrary to our recommendation, [insert name of insurer] has instructed us not to undertake the diagnostics systems sweeps.
If [insert name of insurer] instructs us to operate in a manner contrary to the process stipulated by the vehicle manufacturer, we may refer your response to the vehicle manufacturer to check that it is safe to deviate from their stated method of operation.
Clearly this is likely to delay the repair process and so we trust you will confirm that this delay will not have an adverse affect on the Key Performance Indicators you use to determine whether we can remain within your approved repair network.
Thanking you for your assistance.
As a professional repairer you are required to repair the vehicle to a professional standard, and return the vehicle in a safe condition. Most repairers will be aware that it is an MOT failure to have certain warning lights illuminated on a vehicle’s dashboard. Returning a vehicle with a fault which is likely to illuminate the warning light upon delivery could result in the vehicle being supplied to a customer in an unroadworthy condition, which is a criminal offence and contrary to section 75 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Therefore repairers should ensure that diagnostics sweeps are undertaken in order to ensure a vehicle is returned in a ‘roadworthy’ condition.
The risk to your business’ reputation if prosecuted in the Magistrates Court, for supplying an unroadworthy vehicle, should not be dismissed. It is worth noting that this offence could also be committed by the insurer if they ‘cause or permit’ the vehicle to be returned in this state so both you and the insurer could be prosecuted together for the same offence.
RML members should contact the helpline if they require specific advice, or assistance in drafting correspondence with an insurance company or in creating a suitable disclaimer.
You can visit Retail Motor Law here and read their original posting.