What is the procedure to keep a car after a write off?

My aunt (aged over 70) had a small accident. She pulled out and a car grazed her - it's my aunts fault. Her drivers side wing got swiped - its minor damage and the cars not worth much. The insurance company has said it's beyond economic repair and offered her £900. She wants to keep the car and the insurance company said that's fine - offered her £600 and she can keep the car. However, I think they would still write the car off. Am I correct? She is asking me for advice before she makes a decision. She wants to keep the car, as is, and keep it on the road and fix the minor damage herself. If she takes the £600 how does she still use the car? Could you help me by outlining best course of action.

Asked on 6 April 2017 by Elfinacide

Answered by Tim Kelly
They vehicle may not be a total loss, only a 'constructive total loss'. A vehicle is only ever a total loss when the repair cost exceed the market value (a Cat C total loss). They may advise that the vehicle is a "constructive" total loss, this is where the repair cost are less than the market value, but they advise it is not economic to repair because they can obtain a sum of money for the salvage of the vehicle (a Cat D total loss). The vehicle is yours, not theirs, and your contract of insurance will advise "we indemnify you up to the market value of your car". This means you can insist on it being repaired, or ask for a cash in lieu sum at the cost of repair. This way the car is not a total loss. Do not retain salvage on a Cat D total loss, as you will be doing yourself out of your lawful entitlement. They will try to advise differently, they are wrong. If they do offer cash in lieu, make sure it is for the full amount including VAT. First thing to do, ask for a copy of the full engineers report and get the facts. Is it Cat D or Cat C and what is the cost of repair? None of the settlements will affect how she uses or insurers the car. If the car is not a total loss, the policy will continue. If it is a total loss, the policy is completed.
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