Accident repairs to my Ford Ka are not of good quality. Can I persuade the insurer to replace the car instead?

My three-week-old Ford Ka (with 350 miles only) was hit from behind at around 30mph causing rear and side panel damage. Although the repair estimate was over £4000, my insurer (also the insurer for the other party) insisted on repairing rather than replacing the car. Some nine weeks later the vehicle was returned by the insurer's approved repairer. Although the car looked ok, there were clear signs of repair and some other issues which led me to commission an independent inspection. This subsequently came back saying that the the repair was well below an acceptable standard. However, more importantly in his opinion, we would be unable to sell the car in the near/medium term as it has clearly been in a significant accident and no garage/dealer would want to take it in part-exchange. I am not keen to let the repairer have another go at the repair. Any suggestions as to how to persuade the insurer to replace the car as it should have done at the outset?

Asked on 7 September 2010 by vee_twin

Answered by Lucy
You are entitled to be put back to where you were, which means the car should be back to the condition it was in before the collision. An economic write off is just that - the vehicle costs less to repair than replace, and this is likely to have been the case with your vehicle. The problem is that the repair was not up to acceptable standards and you have independent evidence for this. A second go at the repair may well take it beyond an economic repair so they might be more amenable to suggestions that they replace it.

If you have not been put back to where you were, then you can issue proceedings (or threaten to) to ensure the car is either repaired or replaced. Alternatively you can make a "diminution of value" claim for the amount by which the car is worth less than what it would have been if the accident had not taken place. We have an accident specialist who deals with these type of cases and I can put him in touch if you wish. He normally likes to discuss the issues on the telephone so it would be useful if you provided us with a telephone number.
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