How can I prevent my car being written off after an accident?

Last Friday a lady crashed into my car. She admits it was her fault, we swapped details and the insurance company is now sorting the claim. My problem is I think they are too quick to "write off" my car. I am not happy with this as there is no internal structural damage to the car. It is the driver's side door and quarter panel, plus the wing mirror. There is no damage to the engine or the rear of the car, which would be a worry as it has an electric roof. They have said that it is £2,500 worth of damage and are offering me £2000 for the car, which I will not accept this is far too low.

I really want to keep this car. I have really looked after it, just having a new exhaust £180 New tyre £100 and a new cambelt £300. The insurance company has said that it will give £1,600 to the cost of the repair. In the meantime I am now going to loose my hire car, so I will probably have to use my mums. What advice can you give to me please?

Asked on 30 March 2013 by VB, via email

Answered by Honest John
You are entitled to be put back in the position you were in before the damage, which is ruled by the courts to be full "market value" of the car, no more. That is not 'asking' price, it is 'transaction price' in a private sale with no warranty, so is not dealer sale price. But you can demand that the car is not written off and that you are financially compensated for the damage that you will then have repaired at your own expense. You are not entitled to the full cost of the repair, only the difference between the payout and the salvage money the insurer would have obtained from a salvage contractor for the car. In your case £1600 looks reasonable. You can probably get it fixed for less than that.
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