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      08-27-2012, 05:48 PM   #19
gtappers
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Drives: 135i
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Australia

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Okay, I've just had a similar experience in the past couple of months where my '08 135i was damaged. I was not at fault, and my insurer was AAMI while the "at fault" guy was with NRMA. I suspect the gap between AAMI and NRMA, is similar scale to the gap between AAMI and Budget Direct.

As previously suggested, you can go through the 3rd party's insurrer as long as they've acknowledged to be at fault - that was also the advice I got from the repairers (Mick @ Stow Smash Repairs & Greg @ Peter Mabey BMW as my mechanic) as the AAMI job will always be awarded to the cheapest repairer, which will almost certainly be "their" guy regardless of what shopping around you might do. This is a bit different to how more premium insurers will operate, where you have more choice in the matter - in my case I was able to choose Stow because they're NRMA approved, and although NRMA might try to sway you you can stay firm and it will get done. In my case it was smooth sailing. (I also had a loaner Lexus IS250 throughout the repair process, and which Stow organised for me without prompting.)

Now, on the issue of new vs. replacement parts - what NRMA (and I'm sure the others) do is NOT replace with brand new parts unless the vehicle is under 3 years old. This is not usually any particular issue, but if there's two problems with those parts then the third time it will be brand new. (This happened with my driver side mirror replacement for my 2008 1'er - one mirror was faulty, one was the wrong fit... so third time it's brand new.)

All of this was enough for me to drop my full benefit, lifetime AAMI insurance and move everything to NRMA this year for basically the same premium as AAMI, but $150 more on excess. NRMA cover mods up to the insured value of the car, including engine mods. Apparently Allianz are a "better" insurer again, but despite a perfect driving record they wouldn't insure me after I ticked the "any mods?" question on the web quote. I'm in my 30's so not really sure what the problem was.

Good luck, hope it all works out though obviously there's a bit of pain and frustration to get there.