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Written off car – advice wanted

By luccas - 22 August 2015 6

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I had a truly minor hit on the side of my old car (1994 model), just a scratch on one side of the back door occurred during a parking manoeuvre.

The person responsible for the damage was kind enough to inform his insurance company (AAMI) to go through the repairing process.

It seems that the repair is going to cost more than the value of the car (not a surprise!), so there is a fair chance the vehicle will be written off (well, so I have been told at the repairing centre). Since I’m quite new on the legislation here, I’m wondering what’s the next steep, and more importantly which are my rights.

1) The damage is just cosmetic, and it doesn’t impact the safety nor the functionality of the vehicle. Does the car really need to be written off?

2) Assuming that’s the case, what’s gonna happen to my car? I guess I will receive the money corresponding to the value of the car, but will the insurance company keep the vehicle? It’s old, but well maintained and works like a charm, so I don’t want to look for another car which will cost me much more!

3) If I’ll be returned the vehicle, can I register it again, and how much will it cost?

4) Can I just walk away from the entire thing, and keep the car as it is (i.e. with only a minor scratch)?

Thanks in advance for your advice!
L.

What’s Your opinion?


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6 Responses to
Written off car – advice wanted
tim_c 1:49 pm 27 Aug 15

#4 – if someone damages your car, you always have the option not to have it repaired. If you never take it for assessment, I don’t see how it could be written off.

And yes, you’re right – sometimes the older cars are worth more to us as a car than the $$$ market value of the car. You know the history of the car so if the scratch doesn’t worry you, it’s probably best to hang onto it – buying another second-hand car always leaves you with a bit of unknown regarding its history.

If the scratch annoys you, you could always get it patched without insurance being involved (you may even be able to negotiate a cash settlement from the other party’s insurance company to cover these costs – just take it to a repairer of your choice and ask them to quote on patching the scratch, noting specifically that it will be a non-insurance job).

rubaiyat 10:51 am 24 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

Recently my fifteen year old car was rear ended. The rear of the car was crumpled and pushed into one of the rear tyres making it undrivable, although it was drivable enough to get it off the road. The front of the car was okay, as until then the very low km car was in great mechanical condition. (The last elderly – hence the very low kms – owner had put a few scratches (no dents) on it, so the body work could have been prettier.) The person who ran into me was insured and contacted their insurance company within the hour and my claim went through very quickly. The car was insured for $5,000, which was not enough to cover the damage, so (sigh!) it was written off.
What I think is wrong, but going on the net I find this is standard practice and not just the NRMA, is that the insurance company takes the remaining cost of registration off the price and I didn’t get paid the full $5,000, but that minus the figure they calculated of just over $300 for registration. So I was paid something like $4,700, instead of the insured $5,000. The registration value I got back separately, which in theory makes up the $5,000. Fortunately the insurance company calculated wrongly and I got back about $100 more for the registration. What is so wrong about this is that if I had been driving on my last day of registration I would have been paid out the full $5,000, for the same amount of insurance money paid. So the payout varies between the full amount insured to, say, if one has just paid a full amount of registration (What’s that…about $600?). This appears to me of just being an excuse by the insurance company of paying as little as they can.
Many years ago I had a friend whose old car was written off for a small amount of damage, but the car was still drivable and she figured she could repair it herself. Someone she knew who worked in the insurance industry suggested she take the payout then offer to buy the car back for $500. She did and the $500 was accepted. She fixed the minor damage herself and kept driving it. She thought she came out rather well, as the payout was more than the $500 and she then only insured the car for damage to other cars, reducing her insurance costs. This was many years ago, so a $500 offer might not be enough today.

Just recently I bent my MyWay card, in one of those horrific ACTION bus incidents that doesn’t seem to make the news, being blacked out by the evil Greens ecoStasis, but I straightening it out myself and it’s working fine now. 😉

montana 10:15 am 23 Aug 15

1) The damage is just cosmetic, and it doesn’t impact the safety nor the functionality of the vehicle. Does the car really need to be written off?
it only gets put on the written off register list if a claim is made to the insurance company.

2) Assuming that’s the case, what’s gonna happen to my car? I guess I will receive the money corresponding to the value of the car, but will the insurance company keep the vehicle? you can buy it back if you want at an agreed price, but you wont be able to register it because its then on the written off list. i think they changed the laws recently that does not allow repairable write offs to be registered ever again. it will only be good for spare parts or a track/racing car

3) If I’ll be returned the vehicle, can I register it again, and how much will it cost?
only if a claim hasnt been made, you can go on as though nothing happened.

4) Can I just walk away from the entire thing, and keep the car as it is (i.e. with only a minor scratch)?
as above. yes. this is probably your best choice. just ask the other person to give you cash to the amount of how much their excess would have been. im sure they would be happy with this. win for you as you get some amount of money without having the car written off, and win for them as they wont lose their claim bonus.

Maya123 9:12 am 23 Aug 15

Recently my fifteen year old car was rear ended. The rear of the car was crumpled and pushed into one of the rear tyres making it undrivable, although it was drivable enough to get it off the road. The front of the car was okay, as until then the very low km car was in great mechanical condition. (The last elderly – hence the very low kms – owner had put a few scratches (no dents) on it, so the body work could have been prettier.) The person who ran into me was insured and contacted their insurance company within the hour and my claim went through very quickly. The car was insured for $5,000, which was not enough to cover the damage, so (sigh!) it was written off.
What I think is wrong, but going on the net I find this is standard practice and not just the NRMA, is that the insurance company takes the remaining cost of registration off the price and I didn’t get paid the full $5,000, but that minus the figure they calculated of just over $300 for registration. So I was paid something like $4,700, instead of the insured $5,000. The registration value I got back separately, which in theory makes up the $5,000. Fortunately the insurance company calculated wrongly and I got back about $100 more for the registration. What is so wrong about this is that if I had been driving on my last day of registration I would have been paid out the full $5,000, for the same amount of insurance money paid. So the payout varies between the full amount insured to, say, if one has just paid a full amount of registration (What’s that…about $600?). This appears to me of just being an excuse by the insurance company of paying as little as they can.
Many years ago I had a friend whose old car was written off for a small amount of damage, but the car was still drivable and she figured she could repair it herself. Someone she knew who worked in the insurance industry suggested she take the payout then offer to buy the car back for $500. She did and the $500 was accepted. She fixed the minor damage herself and kept driving it. She thought she came out rather well, as the payout was more than the $500 and she then only insured the car for damage to other cars, reducing her insurance costs. This was many years ago, so a $500 offer might not be enough today.

wildturkeycanoe 9:48 pm 22 Aug 15

From what I understand, you would get the payout for the market value of the car which is ????? and the insurer auctions it off to car recyclers. The following link is for registering ACT written off vehicles.
http://www.rego.act.gov.au/registration/registering-vehicle-other-than-a-standard-car-or-light-truck/written-off-vehicle-registration

It just depends on how you get it back from the insurer. It could be that the difference between the market value of the car [say $3000 for example] and the value of the wreck [$1500] is what you have to pay to get it back. So if you had a $3000 car and it got written off, you’d have to pay $1500 to get it back with $1500 left in hand to repair it theoretically. Guess the insurer is the best contact to find out how this all works.

I had an accident that surely would have written off my bomb of a car. The other at fault driver didn’t want to go through insurance and I didn’t want to get a market value payout for my vehicle which would have been much less than what I paid and not nearly enough to buy another registered car. We came to an agreement and settled it with a cash exchange in my favor. It was enough to get the roadworthy damage fixed and leave me with plenty of spare change but a crumpled front quarter for my troubles. I could keep driving and he didn’t have to make a claim. This is the best way to resolve issues such as yours, where going through insurance you both lose and the insurer comes out better off by increasing premiums and cutting no-claim bonuses.

RiotFrog 12:16 pm 22 Aug 15

Presumably you could simply not make a claim against the other party’s insurance?
I guess it’s a little tricky because the other party is still liable for the damage.

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