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The Vehicle that Couldn’t - What to Do When Your Car is a Write-Off

Some faithful cars that have served you reliably for some time just aren’t able to make it out of even small and non severe collisions, even if you have counted on their steadily purring motors for many years. Particularly in the cases of older vehicles or those who were nearing the end of their driving life, anyway, they may be done in completely by a relatively non serious fender bender or bumper accident. If this is the scenario that you have found yourself in, and your vehicle has become a write-off after a motor accident with another party, you may be in a tough place.

The costs of hiring a temporary car to get around in, possible earnings that you may be losing during your time when you have no transportation, and the fees associated with replacing your old vehicle can add up to a hefty price to pay. Luckily, if your insurance company assesses the damage that your car has incurred and comes to the conclusion that the costs of repairing your car outweigh the costs of purchasing a comparable new or used vehicle, you may be in luck. 

What will happen next is that the insurance company, once it has had the vehicle damage examined by a garage of their choice, may take the vehicle from you into their hands and then make you a financial offer. You can either choose to accept or reject this outreach, and sometimes it is helpful to enter into negotiations with your insurer as to the amount that they should offer you in exchange for the loss of your previous vehicle. 

As a general rule of thumb, whatever they offer to you should be round about the market value of the vehicle that was written off. For example, if your 1995 Volkswagen was considered to be a write off after an accident in which the other party was at fault and smashed up the bonnet of your old clunker, you would be offered an amount (of around a couple of thousand pounds) that is the going rate of a Volkswagen of that age on the used market. 

The Market Value of Your Vehicle is Not What You Are Being Offered

If you feel that the offer your insurance company has made is unfair, and that your car was worth more, you may choose to go a couple of different routes to ensure that you are getting your vehicle’s worth in full. One way you may go about getting a higher offer is by doing a substantial and well documented amount of research on local car prices in your area. Make a document that includes the vehicle details, photographs, conditions and pricing of a number of different motors near you that roughly match the year and model of your car that was done in. Or, you may choose to hire an independently qualified mechanic, assessor, or engineer to do a detailed examination of your vehicle and present you with an official quote of its current value. 

Submitting these well researched documents to your insurer will help make your case of a higher value car offer strong and worthwhile. Only accept offers from your insurance company that you feel are truly fair, otherwise you may wish to reject their offer entirely and keep your damaged car until you can settle for a better deal. While your insurance agent will likely send your write-off vehicle into a scrap yard or junk yard for spare parts and recycling, you may choose to do this yourself and collect the earnings from the salvaged value of the vehicle. In any case, the decision of whether you want to keep the vehicle for scrap parts, or accept a fair or low ball offer of replacement value, is yours to make.