Can we dispute a Category B write off?

My partner was entering a car park when the car in front off him suddenly stopped and reversed into our car (our car was stationary). There is no visible damage except now the bonnet latch won't close fully - it closes but won't lock. We called the insurance company to report the incident and they arranged a hire car and a local garage came and took the car away to assess the damage. As the car is old and already had some dents we thought that the insurance company would say it will too expensive to repair, but we told them that we want to keep the car as it's our only transport and the only way to get to work. We had planned to get the car back and then repair it ourselves if necessary.

I heard from the insurance company yesterday and they have told us that the estimate from the garage is £1100, that it is a Category B write off and we can't keep the car. We told them we dispute the Category B as it was only minor damage. They are arranging for the car to be moved and they have passed it on to another company called Total Loss Settlement Service. They have told us we have to wait for that company's report and valuation and we have to dispute it with them, We have asked the insurance company for their report to see why it has been made a category B and why the cost of repair is so high - we are waiting to hear from them about this.
Do we have the right to just cancel and get our car back, or has it gone too far?

Asked on 10 October 2019 by Michaela Hesselberg

Answered by Tim Kelly
Yes, you can cancel and get the car back, though they will argue they still need to place a Category on it. If they do, advise you will sue under the "interference of goods act". You can challenge the category, request from the insurer, the name of the engineer, and what their AQP number is (Appropriately Qualified Person). In the new code of salvage, you can ask it to be reviewed by an independent AQP. Request your insurer to deliver your car back immediately. Do not let them control of your asset. They are probably trying to place that categorisation as they may see it as an "end of life vehicle". If they do, ask them "does the vehicle have structural damage?" It should not be a Cat B. And if the repair costs are less than the market value, it is not a total loss at all.
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