Insurance must also pay costs of a brand-name repair shop
Dr. Britta beate schon
Britta beate schon is responsible for all legal topics at finanztip. stahel, who holds a doctorate in law and is a lawyer, has worked as head of the legal department at financial service providers such as telis finanz AG and interhyp. She previously taught and researched in Japan as a DAAD junior professor for German and european law. She studied in munster, geneva, regensburg and leipzig. You can reach the author at [email protected]
- Motor vehicle liability and comprehensive insurance must always cover the cost of repairs, regardless of whether the victim has the damage repaired or not.
- The costs of a brand repair shop can also be invoiced in this connection.
- The insurance company may object that it will only reimburse the costs of a less expensive, unbranded workshop, provided that it is easily accessible and has a comparable quality standard.
- Consumers can defend themselves if the car is no more than three years old or if they have always had it serviced at a brand-name workshop in the past. Then the insurance may not reduce the claim.
In this guide
You are stuck in a traffic jam, the driver behind you is not paying attention – rear-end collision. How high the damage is difficult for a layman to judge. That’s why it’s necessary to go to a specialist workshop. The experts make a cost estimate. As a rule, this is the basis for invoicing. Some insurers, however, try to make the repair cost shorten.
What repair costs are reimbursed by liability insurance?
injured parties can claim the money for a repair from the motor vehicle liability insurance of the person who caused the accident. It is written in the law (§ 249 abs. 2 sentence 1 BGB).
as an accident victim you have to prove to the insurance company that their customer caused you a damage. An accident report from the police and witness statements are sufficient to prove how the accident happened. In addition, you must explain how much the damage is. This can usually be solved by a expert opinion document that you commission.
The decisive factor is whether there is a total economic loss. Then the insurer can settle on a so-called total loss basis. The injured party then receives the replacement value less residual value and not the repair costs. there is one exception: higher repair costs must be covered by the insurance if the owner of the broken car actually has the repair done professionally and the costs do not exceed the replacement value by more than 30 percent.
Lying no economic total loss before, you can decide whether to have your car repaired or not. You can also have the repair costs alone paid according to the cost estimate or the expert opinion.
Our tip: always stay up to date – with our free newsletter!
Our tip: stay on topic [category] always up to date – with our free newsletter!
May I freely choose the repair shop?
Provided that you, as the damaged party, decide to repair your car, you can make choose, how and where to have the repair work done: in a brand-affiliated specialist workshop or in an independent car repair shop.
If the vehicle is already a few years old and the damage is not particularly high, a repair as inexpensive as possible is a good option. Even if you hire the cheaper, non-branded repair shop, you are entitled to the amount that would have been charged by a branded repair shop. The difference between the two cost estimates can be quite considerable. you don’t have to present the actual bill to the insurance company.
Do I get the repair costs, even if I do without repair?
Even if you decide to repair the damage, you can’t do not repair the liability insurance has to pay the so called fictitious repair costs replace. This also applies if you sell the car without repairing it. In principle, you can claim the costs of a brand-affiliated specialist workshop that an expert has determined on the general regional market (BGH, judgement of 29. april 2003, az. VI ZR 398/02; judgement of 20. october 2009, az. VI ZR 53/09; judgement of 22. June 2010, az. VI ZR 302/08 and az. 337/09).
When does the insurer have to pay the cost of a specialist garage?
Often the liability insurer will only reimburse the costs of a cheaper, easily accessible, unbranded repair shop. This is permissible. But there are four important exceptions, the liability insurer must reimburse the repair costs of a brand-affiliated specialist workshop and may not reduce them:
- Not older than three years
if your car is not older than three years, you can insist on the reimbursement of the costs of a brand-affiliated specialist workshop (BGH, ruling of 20. October 2009, az. VI ZR 53/09).
- Always repaired at a specialist workshop
if the car has always been serviced and repaired at a brand-affiliated repair shop in the past, you don’t have to be referred to a cheaper reference repair shop. This also applies if the car is more than three years old (BGH, judgement of 20. October 2009, az. VI ZR 53/09).
If you regularly take your car in for an inspection, you should also check that in a service booklet have it confirmed. If the insurance company wants to reduce the costs in the event of damage, you can easily present the service booklet.
- Cheaper repair shop is too far from home
if the cheaper workshop named by the insurance company is far away from your place of residence, it is not easily accessible. the district court of frankfurt am main judged that a distance of 20 kilometers to a less expensive repair shop was already unreasonable (judgment of 27. August 2010, az. 380 C 3652/09). A distance of 130 kilometers is unreasonable in any case, even if the insurance company pays the transport costs (BGH, judgment of 28 April 2009). april 2015, az. VI ZR 267/14).
- Reference workshop does not have market prices
the reference workshop named by the insurance company is only less expensive because it is not based on normal market prices, but on contractually agreed special conditions with the insurance company (BGH, ruling of 28 June 2009). April 2015, az. VI ZR 267/14; judgment of 22. June 2010, az. VI ZR 337/09). It is difficult to prove. In the case in question, there was a sign at the entrance to the workshop saying: "schadenservice spezial-partnerwerkstatt VHV versicherungen". However, this alone is not sufficient to show that agreed special conditions apply at the repair shop.
Must the insurer reimburse the value-added tax??
The insurer must reimburse the value-added tax on the repair costs, provided that it is actually incurred is (§ 249 abs. 2 S. 2 BGB). If the injured party has the repairs carried out at a repair shop, he can demand full reimbursement of the sales tax incurred.
If he repairs the car himself or uses outside help, he will only receive the tax in the amount that was incurred for the repair, for example if he paid sales tax when purchasing replacement parts. If he waives the repair, he can also not claim sales tax from the insurance company.
More about car insurance in our guidebook
- Compare your car insurance every fall to see if it is still the cheapest available.
- Recommended way to find the cheapest rate: first compare rates on verivox or check24, then obtain a quote from huk24.
Which repair costs are reimbursed by comprehensive insurance??
In the event of an accident, comprehensive insurance policyholders can also choose whether to have the car repaired or not. If you forego a repair, you can fictitiously settle on the basis of the expert’s opinion. The insurer must cover the costs of a brand-name repair shop if this is necessary in the individual case. According to the case law of the German Federal Court of Justice, this is the case if
- Only in the brand workshop a complete and professional repair of the vehicle is possible or
- It is a newer vehicle or
- The insured party has always had the vehicle serviced and repaired at an authorized repair shop.
If the comprehensive insurance policyholder can prove one of these three constellations, the insurance company must pay the costs of the brand-name repair shop (BGH, ruling of 11. November 2015, az. IV ZR 426/14). In the case in question, the comprehensive insurance company had reduced the bill by 3.000 euro reduced.
For more information, see the guidebook on partially comprehensive insurance – fully comprehensive insurance
- In the case of self-inflicted accidents, only fully comprehensive insurance will help you. In case of theft and fire, partial coverage is sufficient.
- Recommended comparison portals and providers: verivox, check24, huk24
Dr. Britta beate schon
Britta beate schon is responsible for all legal topics at finanztip. The doctor of law and attorney at law worked as head of the legal department at financial service providers such as telis finanz AG and interhyp. Previously, she taught and researched in Japan as a DAAD junior professor for German and European law. She completed her studies in munster, geneva, regensburg and leipzig. you can reach the author under [email protected]
* what the star means:
Finanztip is 100 percent owned by the non-profit finanztip foundation. the mission is to promote financial education in germany. All profits distributed by finanztip are donated to the foundation and used for charitable projects, such as our finanztip schule education initiative.
With our recommendations, we want to help as many people as possible to make their own finances. therefore our contents are available free of charge on the net. We finance our elaborate work with so-called affiliate links. We mark these links with an asterisk (*).
At finanztip, we handle affiliate links differently than other websites. We only link to products that have been previously recommended by our independent expert editorial team. Only then can the relevant provider have a link placed to this offer. we get money when you click on a link like this or sign a contract with the provider.
Whether and how much a provider pays us has no influence on our recommendations. What our experts recommend to you depends solely on whether an offer is good for consumers.
You can find more information about our way of working on our about us page.
many price increases at banks invalid
Get the star with our sample letter your money for paid bank fees back – retroactive to january 2019.
you will receive the sample letter free of charge with your registration for our newsletter.