My Rover 75 is to be written off - can I take a smaller settlement and keep the car?

My beloved Rover 75 Connoisseur CDTi is a superb, way-above-average 2003, 93,000 mile pre-facelift example in Copperleaf with unmarked beige leather. The car was vandalised recently by some lowlife hurling a brick, which careened off the rear screen resulting in the rear windscreen being smashed, the boot lid edge damaged and some small dents on the roof. My bodyshop repairer (Nationwide - very good, used them before) tells me that the damage is easily repairable but they have been informed by my insurer [Toyota Insurance/AGEAS] that the cost is at a higher proportion (it seems) of the car's value for them to meet the claim and as such the car is likely to be written off with a cash payment coming to me. Is this normal practice? The car is so good I want to keep it. Any advice gratefully received.

Asked on 13 July 2013 by SG, via email

Answered by Honest John
Complicated, but case law only allows for an owner to be put back in the situation he was in before the damage was done, and a cash settlement of the 'market value' of the car has been ruled to do this. But in many cases (like yours) this is unacceptable to the damaged party, so it is better to come to a settlement whereby he/she keeps the car and gets a monetary amount equivalent to the write off value minus the salvage value that the insurer would have received on disposal. It also makes for a cleaner settlement, cutting out 'accident management' specialists and expensive 'credit hire' courtesy cars that can rebound on the damaged party.
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