Five months after accident, sour experience with insurance company leaves car owner wondering when vehicle will be fixed

It has been exactly five months since Joanna Foo May Po met with an accident in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

As she tried to avoid a motorcyclist who suddenly entered into her lane, she slammed her brakes, hit the road divider and veered off the road, damaging her 2012 Volkswagen Golf. At that particular time, Foo believed that her radiator and undercarriage were damaged.

Little did she realise that her nightmare had only just begun. Despite sending her vehicle to a “super premier panel workshop” by her insurance company, Etiqa Insurance and Takaful, Foo is disappointed and frustrated as her episode remains unresolved.

“I had an accident on Jan 5. My car was towed to an Etiqa Super Premier Panel Workshop in Segambut,” said Foo, 35.

“From the beginning, we weren’t informed of the process and details of the claim. My policy includes a new spare part replacement coverage. On the list of repairs, it was stated I would have to pay a betterment fee.”

According to the General Insurance Association of Malaysia, betterment will apply if a new original part replaces a damaged component. The insurance company will require the car owner to bear the difference in costs as “the vehicle is in better shape than before the collision.”

“Nearly three months later, I was informed my car was ready to be collected via a photograph sent through WhatsApp. I noticed they had changed my front headlights. I don’t remember my headlights being damaged. Also, they were not part of the repair list,” said Foo.

She claimed there were other parts, including the gearbox transmission and mechatronic, which were replaced but were not on the repair list. She added original parts were not used to repair her vehicle.

Claiming she didn’t get “proper clarification” regarding the matter, Foo demanded that her car be towed to the official Volkswagen service centre in Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

Foo said she met a representative from the insurance company during a joint inspection, who told her that the insurance company would get a quotation from the car manufacturer to repair the car.

She was told the insurance company’s panel workshop would bear the cost.

Foo documented the meeting in an email, but Etiqa replied that repairs would be on the sum covered. She claimed this was against an agreement during the joint inspection.

Following a quote by Volkswagen which came to RM214,046.50, the insurance company allegedly told Foo her car was beyond economical repair and suggested writing it off.

While hoping for the matter to be resolved, Foo’s vehicle remained at the service centre in Shah Alam.

“I’m frustrated with this episode. I also somehow feel cheated. For starters, why were parts not on the repair list replaced? Why isn’t the information forthcoming?”

Foo said she has raised this matter repeatedly with Etiqa. Twentytwo13 reached out to Etiqa on May 27, but the company hasn’t responded.

Foo has also complained to Bank Negara Malaysia. She now wonders if other vehicle owners also suffer the same predicament.

“I just want the concerned parties to stick to their words and repair the car,” she said.

“All I’m looking for is justice. What happened to me is extremely unfair. This shouldn’t happen to anyone else,” she added.