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  • Car insurance claim clarification..
  • Hello

    Mrs RRR has just rang me and says she’s been in a minor crunch. Apparently two witnesses have given details to back up the fact she was driven into rather than vice versa.

    Her car is a 10 yr old Astra but was in excellent condition and had full dealer service history. I’ve also just spent £400 on winter tyres, servicing and MOT..

    Assuming the insurance company will try to write it off (most likely given it’s value) what are her rights in terms of contesting it, or buying it back as a write off? I’ve not seen the car yet but apparently it “has a dent behind her door”.

    I’m conscious that whatever likely payout she’d get (1k maybe?) would only get a poorly looked after shed..

    EDIT: I guess another question is – if she decides not to make a claim does that weaken her position if the opposing expensive Audi driver does against her?


    From my experience the insurance company, regardless of fault, will offer a derisory amount. Cut to the chase and tell them you’re happy to involve the Financial Ombudsman. Let them dither and dally – there’s an amount of time you have to give them to see the light – and as soon as the time is up then send the details to the ombudsman. It costs them money just to be referred, and they have to abide by the ombudsman’s ruling.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon

    I dont think they have to sell you the written off car back, but its probably in their interest to otherwise they have to find someone else.

    As for tyres etc. I suspect you may be out of luck, do you still have the car? Can you swap the wheels for the summer ones incase its written off by whatever garage they take it to?

    We bought our 55 reg bmw 330d touring back off the insurers after a van dented the tailgate, writing off a car that we’ve owned for 6 yrs, and had recently spent £2k replacing the clutch, DMF, tyres & brake pads etc.

    I think we got roughly £4.5k for the car less £1k to get it back. It now owes us nothing, so I plan to run it for the foreseeable.

    No impact on insurance renewal quote even though its now a Cat-N (non-structural)


    Minor damage? Still usable?

    If so notify your insurance co and claim from the other one. I don’t think they can’t write a car off that they don’t insure. Worst case (if liability admitted) is that they won’t offer more than the lower of repair costs or write off value.

    For a 10yr old car cosmetic dings don’t matter much.

    Don’t forget to ask your insurer if this accident will result in increased premiums going forward and add to claim.


    The one thing I’d advise is not to let the other insurance company tow the car away. Offer to take it to a local garage for quotes, but don’t give it to one of their big yards. I’ve heard of cars disappearing before the payout is fully aligned, and if the thing has already been squished theres nothing you can do either way

    Your insurance costs will rise in future, probably by a negligible amount. This can not be added to the claim

    Morning all.

    The car is still drivable – it got hit on a rear sill/ wheel arch. To my completely untrained eye it looks fairly cosmetic but then I’m also aware that certain points on a car or more vulnerable to the “chassis” getting bent.

    Mrs RRR is going to have to call her insurance back I think as she’s not sure if she’s actually submitted a claim against the other person!

    Premier Icon edlong

    For a car that’s worth more to you than the “book” value it might just be worth taking the write-off and then buying back, the buy-back might be surprisingly cheap as it will be based on a percentage of the value they determined when writing if off, so if that feels low given your knowledge of the car, the buy-back might be very attractive.

    I had one and the amount I paid was less than the cost of the full tank of Petrol I’d put in it just before the accident.

    As for contesting the value, the difference between a ten year old Astra with a full serivice history and one with none is not going to be a large amount in absolute terms, so you’re not going to get the cost of £400 tyres and a recent service back by arguing the point. I feel your pain, having once spent c£600 on an Astra two days before someone nicked it…

    Premier Icon Greybeard

    she’s not sure if she’s actually submitted a claim against the other person

    I’ve always understood that the procedure is to give your insurers all the details and leave it to them to claim from the other.

    ^^ but you don’t *have* to make a claim.

    Update: so this morning Mrs RRR has received an email / letter saying that the other party accept full liability.

    They’re offering to sort stuff out directly but I imagine they’d want to keep their costs down. Is there any advantage to letting our insurance company deal with them instead (I’m mostly concerned about the potential write off)?


    Premier Icon Nobby

    A couple of things.

    If the third party is insured by someone like Churchill/Direct Line they will try & take control of the process to keep their costs down i.e. take it off to be repaired, give her a hire car etc. IF this happens you can refuse & ask that it goes through your insurers in the first instance. There are pros & cons to each – the former you have minimal hassle but little control over negotiations (unless your wife is actually injured) – the latter means you can at least attempt to negotiate the best settlement as your insurers should easily be able to reclaim their (reasonable) outlay from the other party.

    With regard to write offs, there is govt pressure to get older vehicles off the road so some insurers are far more likely to push a total loss on you. That said, you are totally within your rights to ask to retain the salvage on the vehicle as part of the settlement. This will mean you keep the vehicle however, whilst a (say) Cat N won’t impact your insurance costs greatly going forward it may impact on future resale value.

    Swings & roundabouts really.


    If it was me I’d stall the other insurance co to give time to get a couple of quotes from local body shops, that way you can gauge the likely cost to repair and format a plan of attack.

    If the repair quotes are less than say 75% of the value according to autotrader I’d expect a good chance of repair, higher and you’ll be getting into the un-economical repair zone.

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