VW Golf - Write off or salvage - Mike85
Hi, I am in the position insurer wanting to write off my car as a cat D due to a non-fault accident. Using the approved repairer I would need to put about £650 on top of the insurers salvage offer to keep and repair the car. I am unsure of the following and would appreciate any advice:

1. Can I challenge that the car is classed a write off as the repair price is £4700 and only £650 more would repair car. I understand that they designate write off status if more than 60% of value but wondered if there was any negotiation leverage on this? It seems part of the problem is having the write off status and the affect on value etc afterwards.

2. Is it correct write of status affects future value by about 30%?

3. Could I have difficulty reinsuring? I heard that I might only be able to get third party insurance?

4. If I go for write off, what happens to the remainder of the year's insurance premium that I have paid, am I entitled to a refund?

5. Would I require a fresh MOT if and after I went for a repair?

Sorry for all the questions but I am just trying to make the best choice and not be ripped off and I have no experience of this. The car is nine years old. I would appreciate opinions on what you think is best especially if you have been through this yourself and know the pitfalls.. Many thanks.

Edited by Mike85 on 07/06/2017 at 21:48

VW Golf - Write off or salvage - Andrew-T

I was in exactly your position last Christmas Eve, also with a 9-year-old car. I was offered their estimate for buying a like-for-like, but I preferred to have the car repaired at my local bodyshop, as it required only dismantling and reassembly with new parts, which I guessed would cost somewhere near the value of the car. As it had been 100% reliable that seemed a good option. The insurers then offered 65% of replacement cost. In the end I topped it up with £250 for a full repair. An MoT fell due a few weeks after repair anyway, but I'm not sure whether a standard MoT will detect some consequences of a collision.

You should at least look into that possibility, though if your car's structure has been distorted it may be wiser to take the money, especially if you did not intend to keep it for long anyway. If you do, the car may soon depreciate to the point where its value is not greatly diminished by the Cat-D status. It is just harder to find a buyer.

Reinsuring - as I had not claimed, I just informed my insurers and my policy continued as before. You may well feel 'ripped off' whatever happens, but in my case I was fully satisfied with the way Aviva handled matters. I was lucky that the third party immediately admitted fault.

VW Golf - Write off or salvage - RobJP

In answer to your questions :

1. Yes, you can. You may find another repairer may be considerably cheaper. You could always ask for a second estimate.

2. Also correct. Most traders won't buy in a Cat D car, and lots of private buyers are very wary of them too. so you'd need to discount the car heavily compared to a 'clean' car to sell it.

3. Plenty of insurers will insure ex- Cat D cars on normal terms - though bear in mind that the payout if it gets written off/stolen in the future will be considerably less than the equivalent 'clean' car would be, as in (2) above.

4. You don't get a refund. the insurance policy has paid out.

5. No. But it might be a good idea.

My general advice for ex-Cat D (or C) cars is only to buy them if you are prepared to keep it and run it into the ground. You should assume that you will not be able to sell it at any price. Not strictly true, but true enough.

VW Golf - Write off or salvage - Mike85
Thanks so much guys for your advice.

Does anyone know if it would be possible to challenge the cat D status? Could I argue repair could be done for less and therefore just fall inside what they would consider an economic repair (I think they look st 60% value) ? Would I still be stuck with cat D status or would they potentially reconsider?

I know if it is cat D I would have to declare if I wanted to sell etc, but I just wondered if it is possible to challenge this as it could make a big difference to my decision whether to accept write off or salvage.


Ask Honest John

Value my car