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Shaun Clayson ASKED THE GUIDE

Crunching the figures

MY PARTNER was hit while waiting to turn right at traffic lights. The damage to our six-week-old Mazda 6 Sportwagon is considerable. The centre pillar, doors and sill need replacing, and the rear quarter panel, front guard and other panels need repair. The repairer suggested by my insurer estimates the cost at $6000. Another repairer says given the age of the vehicle and the structural work needed, it should become a repairable write-off because my policy will replace a car up to two years old. My concern is I know the car won't be repaired to my standards, and I know from experience that a car is never the same after repair. Where do I stand with the insurance company if I don't agree with the assessor's opinion? Can I ask that it be made a repairable write-off or are there other avenues I can take? I want a new car not for personal gain, but because of its age. I don't want a new car that has been cut up and welded together.

FIRST you should read your insurance policy to see exactly what you are entitled to. The insurance company must return the car to the condition it was in before the crash, and that was virtually new condition. You can't second-guess the quality of the work that will be done, so you either have to let the repairs go ahead, then address anything that isn't up to your standard. Perhaps you could negotiate to buy the damaged car and have it repaired by a repairer of your choosing.

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