Auctions of Canberra’s hail-damaged vehicles are set to begin next week, offering potential bargains to buyers unconcerned about dimpled bodywork.
But excitement at the prospect of a cheap car needs to be tempered with the knowledge that there will be conditions and restrictions compared with an undamaged vehicle.
Mannheim Auctions will stage the first of many expected sale events on Monday with an online, ‘Simulcast’ auction of hundreds of vehicles of various makes and models, some not very old, on behalf of its insurance customers.
The vehicles, damaged in the January 20 storm, can only be viewed in the online catalogue due to safety concerns at the storage site in Hume. They are sold unregistered and without plates and cannot be driven from the holding yard.
Mannheim’s Head of Salvage Jonothan Ellerton said the auctions provided a fantastic opportunity to purchase a written off hail damaged vehicle for a great price.
“The benefit of hail damaged vehicles is that most of them are still structurally sound and the damage is largely cosmetic,” he said.
Mr Ellerton said that ACT-registered repairable write-offs could be repaired and re-registered locally or in another state, but he said potential buyers should do their own research into registration conditions, insurance and repair costs.
“Most of the vehicles that have been written off by insurers were because they were deemed too expensive to repair. Also, broken windscreens can be costly, especially if there are rain and wiper sensors embedded in the glass,” Mr Ellerton said.
He said vehicles registered in NSW that had been written off were classified as statutory write-offs and could not be repaired or re-registered in any state.
“Vehicles in this category tend to be purchased by vehicle exporters who tend to buy late model vehicles or parts recyclers who break the cars down and sell their individual parts,” he said.
An ACT Government spokesperson said that to re-register a repairable write off in the ACT, the vehicle had to have been registered in the ACT prior to being notified as a written off vehicle, and the ACT was unable to register a vehicle from interstate with a current written-off restriction.
“While some consumers may seek to get a bargain when buying a hail damaged vehicle, there are a number of important factors and associated costs you must consider before choosing to purchase a written-off vehicle,” the spokesperson said.
A vehicle which has been assessed as a statutory write-off cannot be registered and may only be used as a limited source of spare parts or scrap metal. Only an economic repairable written-off vehicle can be repaired and re-registered.
ACT Road Transport legislation prohibits re-registration of written-off vehicles in the ACT unless the vehicle is an economical repairable write off and was registered in the ACT at the time it was written off.
Even in a repaired state, the value of a written-off vehicle will generally be diminished in comparison to a vehicle that has not been recorded as a write-off.
While cosmetic damage may not need to be repaired to clear a vehicle’s written-off status for economic write-offs, the vehicle must be structurally sound and have passed a full roadworthy inspection.
All vehicle structural repairs must be done in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines or industry standards that relate to structural integrity and safety and must be certified by an appropriately licensed motor vehicle repairer.
Consumers may experience stricter conditions and higher premiums when taking out insurance on a previously written-off vehicle.