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All you need to know about the third-party claims specialists, also known as Ba Kias, who often ply the roads looking for accidents to offer their services.
Category: Miscellaneous Advice
Today's like any other day. You are making your way through the peak hour traffic, trying to get to work. But, as you slow to a stop at the red light, 'bang!' you feel a strong shunt - someone has crashed into the rear of your car!
Like what online guides teach, you get out and start taking photos and, at this moment, a car pulls up, some guy (or guys) jumps out and offers to help you with the claim procedure, or he enthusiastically recommends a workshop to you that can get your car back to as good as new again.
Now, here's the thing, are these people good Samaritans who happened to pass by? Or are they the 'claims specialists', also known colloquially as Ba Kias (Alligators) who offer to handle your third-party insurance claim? Now if it's the latter, is it really so bad to accept their help?
What is a third-party insurance claim
When the incident is clearly not due to your fault, such as when someone rear-ended your stopped vehicle at the light, the liability almost always belongs to the one that crashed into you.
In such cases, you wouldn't want to be spending your own hard-earned money to rectify the damages done upon your car. And this is where third-party insurance claims come into the picture.
The idea is simple, you claim against the other party's insurance policy to have your car fixed. But is the execution as simple?
So, it's just that simple?
Sort of. It isn't an industry practice for your insurer to act on your behalf to file a third-party claim, so you can't really just pick up the phone, and get your insurer to settle everything for you.
To claim against the other party for your losses, you'll have to arrange with their insurer and let them inspect your car's damage before sending it for repair.
There are also various documents that you'll need to prepare to complete the claim process, such as GIA Accident reports, repair bills and others. There's quite a bit of hassle and things can get rather complicated.
However, it is likely that your insurer's authorised workshops, or your preferred workshop that can help to guide you along the entire process, simplifying the ordeal.
It gets more complicated…
There's just another little detail to consider. When you attempt to claim from a third-party, the payout process might take some time, which means that you might have to fork out a sum if you want your car's repair work to start immediately. Otherwise, you might have to suffer without the use of your car for the time being (if the damage renders it inoperable).
Workshops will likely suggest a second option that might expedite things, which is to claim from your own insurance policy and get your car fixed. Your workshop and insurer will then work together to recover the spent amount from the other party's insurer.
However, if for any reason, the claim were to fail, you will be deemed to have claimed against your own policy, with your NCD, insurance premiums and excess affected.
With all these complications and red tape, you might think, hmm, what's so bad with patronising those 'claims specialists' who can help expedite the process, some of whom might even offer you cash or other goodies when you decide to go to their workshop.
What can go wrong with accepting a stranger's help?
Now let's not tar everyone with the same brush, there are good Samaritans around who truthfully wish to help you get out of your predicament.
But at the same time, there are opportunists out there who wish to make a quick buck off your misfortune. But what can really go wrong? You would still arrive at the end goal of getting your car fixed, with minimal hassle right?
Well, that might not always be the case. In order for claim specialists workshops and their touts to rake in a sizeable profit, there are only two way to go about it - increasing the amount of money received, or to save on repair costs.
See what I'm getting at now? Unless they were to resort to some ways to inflate the insurance claim amount - some might do just that - the only other way is to repair your car with minimal costs incurred, and this can result in an unsatisfactory repair job which can turn out to be a huge hassle in the long run. Going with an unknown workshop might also carry risks such as unsatisfactory customer service and long response time.
There can be other complications as well, remember the second option? If the workshop handling your claim were to coerce you into it, they would be able to secure the claim amount. And if they are the unscrupulous type, they might not bother to follow up with the claim from the other party - you can end up absorbing the costs incurred in the form of increased insurance premiums, while the workshop will be laughing their way to the bank!
So, how do you avoid these pitfalls?
Ever notice how these 'claim specialists' always approach the car that's clearly not at fault? Well, it's quite common sense to be with the side of the winner, especially when they are in it for the money. So think again, how likely is it that they are offering the help purely out of goodwill?
Now, there are some tell-tales to these opportunists. Are they coming onto you aggressively to tout for business? Well, the likely motivation for such hard-selling techniques are probably sizeable profits (remember, profits at your cost!) behind it.
Are they offering you the idea of cash or other gifts if you were to get your car repaired by them? Well, don't let greed get the better of you. If there's such a tantalising offer, chances are things aren't that simple - are there really so much excess profit from a clear-cut repair job, that they can fix your car, handle all the claims procedures, turn in a profit, tip the tout, and on top of that, gift you the latest iPhone as well?
My advice is, if you just want to get your car repaired properly and leave the incident in the rearview mirror, you'll do best going to a trusted workshop or one that is authorised by your insurer. Stay straight as an arrow and don't fall for temptations, trust me, you'll benefit in the long run. It's your car that you are gambling with over here.
Not sure who to turn to in the event of an accident? Check out these recommended accident repair & claims workshops and choose one that you can trust.