Why is this important?
Your vehicle is lost, stolen or damaged at the garage
A garage has a responsibility to take good care of your vehicle while it is with them.
This page tells you what you can do if your vehicle is lost, stolen or damaged while it’s been left with a garage.
Depending on your insurance policy, the car may be covered for loss, damage or theft. You may lose your no claims bonus unless you can show that the problem was the garage’s fault. Your insurer will try to recover its costs from the garage.
If your car is not insured for loss, damage or theft, find out whether the garage has insurance to cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. The garage should tell you who their insurers are and they should offer to put the damage right or replace the vehicle.
The vehicle is damaged at the garage
If your car has been damaged while at the garage, take it back straight away. Point out the damage and ask them to fix it. If the garage agrees to repair the vehicle, they only have to put it back in the condition it was in when you brought it into the garage.
If the garage won't do the repairs, get in touch either with the garage’s insurance company or trade association, and negotiate with them. You don’t have any legal rights with the insurer or trade association, but they may help you to sort out the problem.
Getting the repairs done at a different garage
You can ask for the repairs to be done at a different garage if you want to. You will need to get in touch with the first garage's insurance company to see if this is possible. Most insurance companies should agree to the vehicle being repaired somewhere else if the new garage offers a good standard of service.
While your vehicle is being repaired
The garage should do the repairs in a reasonable time. If it's going to take a while, the garage may offer you either a loan vehicle or pay for the extra costs, such as hiring a vehicle. If the garage refuses to do this, check if the garage is a member of a trade association. They could help you negotiate with the garage.
Disagreement about whether the car can be repaired
If your vehicle is seriously damaged and you don’t think it can be repaired but the garage does, you will need to come to an agreement about what to do. If the garage is a member of a trade association, they may be able to help you negotiate with the garage.
The vehicle can't be repaired
If the garage’s insurance company thinks it is a write-off, you should be offered the vehicle’s current value as compensation. This is usually less than the replacement value of a new vehicle. If you’re not satisfied with this offer, try to negotiate with the garage to pay for the shortfall.
The vehicle's lost or stolen from the garage
Most garages will display disclaimers saying that cars are left there at the owner’s risk. If your vehicle is lost or stolen while it's in the garage, they are only legally responsible for replacing it if they didn't take reasonable care. For example, they shouldn't leave your car unlocked and unattended.
The easiest way to sort things out is to claim for the car on your own insurance policy. Your insurer will then deal with the garage’s insurer.
If you bought the vehicle on hire purchase or with a loan
If you bought the vehicle on hire purchase or with a bank loan, check if it's covered by a guaranteed asset protection (GAP) policy. This may pay out to cover the shortfall between what the garage offers for its current value and what it would cost to buy a new replacement vehicle. Check the small print in your credit agreement to see if you're covered.
- Find out if your garage is a member of a trade association
- How to complain about a garage
- If you need more help