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Rough ride for car owners in M'sia

Repair dilemma: Car owners have to dish out the difference between what the insurance companies are willing to pay and what the workshops charge.

Publication Date : 19-10-2012


If you own a car in Malaysia, which is over five years old, and get into an accident, be prepared to be squeezed by both insurance companies and workshops, resulting in you having to pay more or settle for poor quality spare parts.

Insurance companies stipulate that replacement parts should not be new and should be used originals of about the same age as the vehicle.

New spares are only fixed if the owners agree to pay a “betterment” charge which is usually between 5 per cent and 40 per cent of the price of the replacements.

Motor workshops are exploiting this condition by installing imitations and passing them off as new or original used parts.

The owners have to dish out the difference between what the insurance companies are willing to pay and what the workshops charge.

Of the 9,721,447 cars on the road, 1,984,140 are over five years old.

The experience of a 36-year-old sports league operations manager is typical.

Shamim Imran was unaware of the replacement parts clause when he sent his 12-year-old Proton Satria GTi for repairs after it was damaged in an attempted carjacking last month.

Having taken up a comprehensive insurance policy, he thought his entire repair bill would be taken care of.

Instead, the insurance company only approved 5,000 ringgit (US$1,638) for the workshop to replace his car’s ignition, alarm system and steering wheel.

“But I learnt that non-original parts would be fixed in my car. If I wanted originals, I had to top up 40 per cent as betterment charges,” he said.

He said his insurance company agreed with the panel workshop.

“According to them, Bank Negara rules allowed parts of vehicles 10 years old and above to be replaced with non-original makes.

“I was baffled. I thought the insurance would make good on any claim of damage,” Shamim said, adding that several of his friends got similar deals from their panel workshops.

Ahninaroah Mohd Noor from Kuala Lipis said that her panel workshop fitted her eight-year-old Proton Wira with imitations after an accident that damaged the front bumper, headlights, radiator and water tank.

“I was given 4,000 ringgit for the repairs. When the car returned from the workshop it looked fine,” said the 29-year-old teacher.

But she noticed that the newly-fixed Proton logo began to fade after a few days.

“When I shook the front bumper, it fell off. I realised that I had been given imitation parts,” said Ahninaroah, who complained to the insurance company which never resolved the matter.

“I ended up having to replace it with an original at my own expense.”

*US$1= 3.05 ringgit


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