How do I get my car's damage assessed and repaired?

Budget Direct has a national network of around 180 repairers who can assess your car's damage and/or repair it. We also have seven dedicated assessment centres.

When you lodge your claim via your online account or over the phone (1300 139 591) you will be able to secure your booking.

Where must I take my car for its damage assessment?

If your damaged car is driveable, we’ll ask you to take it to one of the following, depending on your location:

  • one of our network repairers, who will also be able to fix your car; or
  • one of our vehicle assessment centres – in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane; or
  • a local repairer (if there isn’t a network repairer or assessment centre near you).

If your car is assessed by a local repairer, we’ll ask them to send us a repair-cost estimate and images of your car’s damage.

We’ll then decide whether to assess your car remotely or to send one of our own assessors to inspect your car’s damage.

My car has hail damage – what happens next?

If your car is damaged by hail, we’ll arrange an assessment with our specialised hail repairer. They’ll assess your car and advise on the best repair approach.

Depending on the amount of damage to your car, we may be able to use a paintless dent repair technique that removes dents and dimples without the need for traditional bodywork and repainting.

This technique involves gently pushing or massaging the dented metal back into shape. It’s usually faster than traditional repairs and preserves your car’s original factory finish because there’s no need for repainting.

What if my car’s not driveable?

If your damaged car is not driveable, call us on 1300 139 591 and we’ll arrange for it to be towed to a safe location for an assessment.

Note that residents of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and Adelaide are required by law to call an ‘allocation centre’ or ‘centralised operator’, who will arrange the tow on their behalf.

What exactly does a motor-vehicle assessor do?

A motor-vehicle assessor evaluates the extent of the damage to your car before deciding whether it’s economical to repair or a total loss (i.e. a write-off).

If it’s repairable, they’ll determine the best way to fix the car and how much it will cost.

Who will repair my car?

After assessing your car's damage and authorising the repairs, we can appoint a repairer.

Our network repairers use the latest equipment and methods and are required to carry out each repair to a high and safe standard.

Alternatively, you may be able to nominate your preferred repairer if you have the Choice of Repairer optional benefit.

How quickly can I expect my car to be repaired?

Each repair job is different, so it’s difficult to say for certain how long each job will take. Some can take a few days, others up to two weeks or more, depending on the severity of the damage.

The repairer will give you an estimate of how long the job is likely to take and keep you informed of progress.

How do I get my repaired car back?

Normally, you would collect your fixed car directly from the repairer.

If that’s not possible, please contact us to discuss alternative arrangements.

Do you guarantee repairs to my car?

Yes – repairs authorised by us are guaranteed for as long as you own the car.

Can I choose my own repairer?

You can nominate your preferred repairer as long as your policy includes the ‘choice of repairer’ policy option.

If you nominate your preferred repairer, and they are not a repairer from our repair network, we’ll ask you to provide us with the repairer’s quotation for the repairs so we can determine whether:

  • the quotation is competitive, and
  • the proposed repair method is satisfactory.

If either of these criteria is not met, we may decide not to authorise the repairs, and instead offer you the option of:

  • having your car repaired by an alternative repairer chosen by us, or
  • paying you the reasonable cost to satisfactorily repair your car.

If the car is unsafe to drive, we will pay the cost to tow the car to your preferred repairer up to a maximum of 100 kilometres.

Note that, if we authorise your nominated repairer to undertake the repairs, we’ll guarantee the quality of the repairs but not the time it takes to complete them.

Can I arrange for repairs to my car myself?

Except for essential repairs of up to $500 to make your car driveable following an accident, all repairs must first be authorised by us.

What is a total loss settlement?

Budget Direct considers a car to be a total loss if it’s:

  • stolen and not recovered
  • damaged to the extent that, having considered all available information and relevant laws, we decide it would be unsafe or uneconomical to repair.

If your policy covers theft and/or damage to your car and it becomes a total loss, we’ll usually settle your claim by paying you the amount your car’s insured for.

Any applicable excesses will be deducted from the settlement amount.

(If you pay your premium in instalments, we’ll also ask you to pay any monies owing for the full period of insurance. Alternatively, we may deduct it from the settlement amount.)

If you purchased your comprehensively insured car new or as a demo model and it becomes a total loss within a certain timeframe, we’ll give you a new-car replacement.

Your written-off car becomes our property and we keep the proceeds of any salvage sale and we will provide you with the necessary documentation to enable you to apply for a refund of the unused portion of your registration and compulsory third party insurance.

My car's a total loss, or write-off – what happens now?

If we decide your car is a write-off, we’ll negotiate with you to either:

  • pay you the amount your car is insured for (market or agreed value); or
  • replace your car with a new one of the same make, model and specification if you purchased the car new or as a demo model and it becomes a total loss:
    • Within two years or 40,000km (whichever comes first) of the original registration (Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance)

If a new replacement car is not available in Australia, we will pay you the amount you originally paid for the car.

If your car is financed, we're obliged to pay the finance company any money you still owe them first. We'll then pay you any residual from the insured amount.

We’ll also arrange and pay for your written-off car to be towed away from the repair shop and disposed of.

Get a car insurance quote online