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  • FIRST POST
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 14th Mar 17, 8:15 AM
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    red_imps_2003
    Pay excess when 3rd party admits liability?
    • #1
    • 14th Mar 17, 8:15 AM
    Pay excess when 3rd party admits liability? 14th Mar 17 at 8:15 AM
    Just a brief query, as not all details are clear to me at the moment. My wife has comprehensive cover for car insurance. Yesterday she had a low-speed collision with a driver who pulled out of a junction without looking. As far as I am aware he admitted culpability at the scene, a policeman attended, nobody was seriously injured etc. My wife rang her insurance to report the incident and to sort recovery of her vehicle for repair at an approved bodyshop. It all seems fairly straightforward.

    Her insurer then indicated that my wife will have to pay the £250 excess on her policy. This is our first accident so I am unclear how this works. I thought you only pay the excess if the accident is your own fault or if the party at fault does not admit liability, does not have insurance, or flees the scene. My wife said something about being told to 'recover' the cost of the excess through another channel as we opted out of legal cover on the policy, but she was too shaken to follow the conversation particularly clearly. She will be seeking clarification later today so I may have more info then.

    My basic question is assuming the other party has insurance cover and admits liability, is it normal for the 'innocent' party to pay the excess described in their own policy?
Page 2
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 20th Mar 17, 12:35 PM
    • 143 Posts
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    red_imps_2003
    Ok, things have changed somewhat over the weekend. We closed the claim with Sheila's Wheels on Thursday/Friday and agreed that Gallagher Bassett (on behalf of their client 'Assured Group Ltd') could sort out the repair. Having had the damage assessed, they have decided they want to write it off as a category C total loss. Apparently their motor engineer has deemed it beyond economical repair. From what I can interpret they are offering us £2,700 (the 'market value' immediately prior to the accident) if we keep the vehicle or £2,025 (the 'vehicle valuation') if they retain it. I really don't know what to do with this information. Does this mean they reckon it would cost more than £2,700 to repair? What does the difference between £2,025 and £2,700 represent?

    In case it helps, I am happy with the 'market value' they have arrived at, as it is broadly comparable with asking prices on Autotrader for the same model, trim, age and mileage (appreciating that the actual price they go for could well be less than the one they are advertised at). I just don't know how it fits in with the two options they have offered. It is my wife who has been having the various conversations so the little information I have is secondhand. I Think the car is currently at the insurer's preferred bodyshop but I don't know whether the 'motor engineer' alluded to is an employee of this bodyshop or a representative from Gallagher Bassett/Assured Group Ltd.

    In practical terms, What happens if we choose to keep the vehicle? Are we at liberty to ascertain from the bodyshop it is currently at what they think it would cost to make it roadworthy? We are not bothered about it being in 'showroom' condition; just safe and legal for the next couple of years when we had planned to replace it anyway. Am I interpreting it right that we would get the knackered car back and a payment for its market value then use that payment towards getting it back on the road? I presume we could use the bodyshop it is currently at or choose one ourselves but the latter would involve us paying transportation costs?

    The other option seems fairly straightforward; abandon the car and get £2,025 towards buying a replacement. This could either be a like-for-like replacement for roughly that price to hopefully last us about as long as the existing one would have or use it as a deposit on a newer vehicle that would last us longer. The disadvantage of the first option seems to be that we would likely have to fork out an extra £200-£400 to get a direct replacement (along with the lottery of not knowing whether it has been cared for in the same way the existing one has). The disadvantage of the second is that we had been hoping not to have to replace the existing car for a couple of years and buying a newer model now would mean immediate monthly repayments we haven't budgeted for.

    Can anybody with experience of write-offs clarify that the above seems an accurate summary? I appreciate there are all sorts of facts and factors that you won't know. I may be able to provide some further context if needed.
    Last edited by red_imps_2003; 20-03-2017 at 12:38 PM.
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 20th Mar 17, 1:06 PM
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    red_imps_2003
    Hmmm, after reading the info at http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/tips-and-advice/114820/cat-d-cars-insurance-write-offs I am even more confused and think I may have misinterpreted what the insurer is offering. The exact wording on the email we received is:

    "Please see attached our total loss offer. Please note the figures of £2700.00 if you keep the vehicle and £2025.00 if we retain the vehicle for salvage". The site above states

    "Cat C cars can be put back on the road after being repaired, but these repairs (and any auxiliary costs) have been assessed to exceed the car’s pre-damage value." These auxilliary costs apparently include the admin and cost of providing a courtesy car (which my wife actually declined).

    The bit that alarms me is the quote:

    "The insurer may consider it cheaper to write off the car if these costs exceed its value. The owner will be paid off or even given the chance to buy the car from the insurer so they can repair it themselves. What I understand from this is that they will give us £2,025 to take the car off our hands or we can pay them £2,700 (so we get to keep the car) and then pay on top of that to have it repaired. Is that right? If that is the case it seems almost akin to a Hobson's Choice, right?

    Can anybody clarify?
    Last edited by red_imps_2003; 20-03-2017 at 1:49 PM.
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 20th Mar 17, 1:47 PM
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    red_imps_2003
    Having read around a bit more the option allowing us to keep the car may be as follows:
    1. We still surrender our ownership and associated keys/documents to the insurer
    2. They pay us the 'market value' (£2,700 in this instance)
    3. We use some of that payout to buy it back off them, at a fee they designate, still damaged from the accident. We then get 'ownership' back along with the logbook.
    4. We repair it to whatever standard we are happy with (from just roadworthy to better than before the crash) with whatever remains of the payout and foot the rest of the repair bill ourselves if it exceeds what we have left. We also have to accept that the car's market value will be impacted when we do come to sell/trade in because we have to declare it a former category C write-off.

    Does that sound about right? I guess the best thing is for my wife to check all this directly with the insurer concerned. I'm just trying to get my bearings.
    • huckster
    • By huckster 20th Mar 17, 1:54 PM
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    huckster
    Think the figures are around the wrong way. £2700 if they keep the car, as they will get money for salvage. The lesser amount is if you kept the car.

    Nothing stopping you getting another repair estimate. If it is mainly panels that need replacing you can do it quite cheaply. There is a massive warehouse near Birmingham where you can source bodyparts for most cars. There will be others around the country. Getting panels sprayed to match colour might not be too expensive. Mechnical damage is where costs can prove too much.

    Suggest you get clarification
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 20th Mar 17, 2:05 PM
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    red_imps_2003
    Thanks once again, huckster. When my wife spoke to the bodyshop concerned last week he only mentioned the front bumper (it was hanging down on one side; I don't know about the level of structural or cosmetic damage to it), some damage to a 'plate' behind it (???) and a dint in the bonnet (it didn't pop up or crumple). He did mention a lengthy scratch down the side of the car (which I presume was included in the repair valuation) but that was there before the accident and is not one we are concerned about having fixed.

    When you suggest getting 'another' repair estimate, do you mean from the bodyshop it is at (but perhaps with a view to restoring to a lesser standard if they are not beholden to the insurer's obligation to do so it to its pre-accident glory) or do you mean get another repair company over to take a look at it?
    • huckster
    • By huckster 20th Mar 17, 3:22 PM
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    huckster
    For the car to be classed a write off, there must be a list of what the damage is, so you can get estimates of likely repair. Or you find a garage that offers repair estimates and you get them to go visit the car to see what the likely repair cost would be.

    The garage where it is, will be quoting costs of brand new parts and not sourced at cheapest possible cost. You might find second hand parts to fit or that panels can be repaired.

    Your choice really. You could just take write off value, keeping the car and then sort out the repair. If the repair then proves too much, you can scrap the car yourself and get the scrap value.
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 20th Mar 17, 3:46 PM
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    red_imps_2003
    Thank you for the swift follow up. My final question (I hope) is am I right in understanding that, if we were to take the vehicle back and get it fixed up ourselves by a trusted local mechanic/bodyshop, we would have to declare it a former category C write-off with future insurers? We would only be keeping it another couple of years anyway but I am anxious to avoid being out of pocket right now if at all possible.
    • huckster
    • By huckster 20th Mar 17, 4:17 PM
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    huckster
    A class C write off is no issue, but you need to comply with normal requirement i.e car needs to be in roadworthy condition. You should get an MOT after repair.

    http://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/know-how/what-does-cat-c-car-insurance-mean/
    • red_imps_2003
    • By red_imps_2003 23rd Mar 17, 12:32 PM
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    red_imps_2003
    Just to conclude the discussion (for now). Huckster was right; the numbers stated in the email were the wrong way around. The following quote was cut and pasted directly from the email my wife received:

    "Please see attached our total loss offer. Please note the figures of £2700.00 if you keep the vehicle and £2025.00 if we retain the vehicle for salvage"

    The way the letter they attached was worded didn't help; the salient paragraph reading:

    "The vehicle valuation figure is amount you will receive (assuming no finance) on the proviso that we
    retain ownership of the vehicle If this is not the case, please contact us to discuss. The valuation you
    are offered will be decreased to £2025.00."

    (note the poor wording and punctuation). Having explained at length just before that about the various reasons the valuation might not be as high as one might expect, the sentence stating that the valuation will be decreased to the lower amount gave us the impression this is what was on offer. Anyhow; I digress. The confusion mostly arose because of our limited knowledge and experience of such matters, so your contributions have all helped us get a grip on things now.

    As Huckster indicated before, the offer is either £2700 with which to buy a like-for-like replacement ourselves (or to contribute to the cost of a more expensive replacement if we wish) or we get the car back in its current wrecked state and £2,025 with which to get it roadworthy ourselves. We have decided to take the higher amount and source a replacement vehicle. From looking around I am happy that this is what the car was worth immediately prior to the accident.
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