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Our car is being written off - help!


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Hi

 

 

Six weeks ago our car was involved in an accident, at the scene the third party wouldn't admit liability. However we had witnesses and it seems possibly CCTV so it ended up she did admit liability. We contacted our insurance company and hey took over dealing with it all. I was given a hire car when they collected our car five weeks ago and FINALLY today I have heard back from the accident claim management company to say that the car has been written off. The guy said he had a cheque sitting on his desk for £2300 which he would be sending me today, plus they would get a further £250 for salvage which he would forward on later (I this right?)

I'm gutted because no way can we replace the car for that amount, the car was 15 years old - its a people carrier but had only done 64,000 and even the collection team said it was in a very good condition for the year. What can I do? I need a 7 seater car and everything for £2300 is very old, poor condition and massive mileage. Do I have to accept this cheque?

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No you don't have to accept the cheque, and you can make a case against evaluation. Bear in mind that insurers will try to pay out on the minimum value. They don't make any money by paying out and the maximum.

 

Of course, you could accept the money and also pay £251 for the salvage and then have the car repaired.

 

I think the first thing to do is to write to them and say that you are challenging their evaluation and that you do not give your permission for the car to be disposed of in the way they propose and that you are doing some research and you need seven days to make a decision. Send this to them recorded delivery – but also by email and if possible telephoned them to make sure that it's all understood. Sometimes, these things managed to get done without you knowing about it and it's all a done deal even though you try to stop it.

 

Do it now.

 

Secondly, you need to consider your options. What would be the cost of repairing the vehicle? Could you repair it for the money they are offering you? If so, it seems to me that you have to purchase the vehicle for its scrap value and then put it in for repair.

 

The second thing you could do could be simply to argue that the vehicle is worth more than they offering. In order to do this, you will have to get evidence from advertisements around the Internet for a similar vehicle in a similar preaccident condition – similar mileage et cetera and if you find that you would have to pay, say, £3000 for one then you will have to put this case to the insurers.

 

Whatever you do, you need to get moving because insurers like to get it all sorted and I'm quite sure that they have got their preferred scrap dealer just waiting to get your old car and to strip it for parts and to sell bits of it off second-hand. They might even have done it while you are reading their letter now.

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Of course, you could accept the money and also pay £251 for the salvage and then have the car repaired.

...........

Could you repair it for the money they are offering you? If so, it seems to me that you have to purchase the vehicle for its scrap value and then put it in for repair.

 

Only if a Category C or D write off (& the OP hadn't said which category it falls into)

 

If a Category A or B write off it would be uninsurable after "repair".

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What you can do is send them details of all the car adverts you can find for a similar vehicle, which show approx current cost of replacement. The Insurers have to put you in a position so you can replace with a similar vehicle. Depending on the write off condition, the other option might be to see if you can get it repaired, at less cost than write off value.

 

The Insurers normally go by values shown in guides such as glass.co.uk

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No its a CAT B write off so repair is not an option. I am struggling to find like for like prices because cars of ours age have mileage around 110,00 upwards, as ours was only 64,000 surely that would make it worth a bit more as it is much less wear and tear? To get one for the same mileage I'm looking at around £4500 upwards so a lot more than I am being offered.

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I think some of the valuation guides such as glass.co.uk and Parkers have a way of getting a valuation with mileage taken into account. The condition of the vehicle would make a difference.

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So thanking you for the advice so far. I have gone onto Autotrader and looked for examples, which was difficult as ours is a petrol model and they are fairly rare. The nearest I can find was 6 months newer but has done 69,000 miles compared to our 64,500. This car is for sale at £4250 so way higher than their £2300 offer. Another example was on sale at £2690 but had done 95,000!

I then looked at what £2300 would buy me - a CAT D version of the same age but 215,000 on the clock and another Zetec as opposed to my Ghia model which was only 80K on the clock but advertised as a Non Runner! Surely that isn't fair then? I've emailed the claims management company with these screen shots and stated why we should receive more, is there anything else I should be doing?

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Get all the information over to whoever is dealing with the write off value and tell them they need to come back with a better offer, as the amount offered so far would not pay for a similar replacement. If you don't ask you don't get. If you are struggling to gain agreement, then tell them you will refer it to the FOS if necessary.

We could do with some help from you.

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So I've had no response from the company and they've had a week. I haven't heard from the engineer or received this mooted cheque.

 

This morning I do receive a call from the accident managemnt's transport division saying they need to swap our hire car as "it's come to the end of its lease". I clarify that they really mean it's a swap and the guy confirms this. I say I needed to clarify because I had been told they would just be taking it back today but as I hadn't received a cheque or any phone calls are they allowed to leave me without a car? The caller agrees they would not leave me without a car and he will confirm this afternoon the time of swap.

 

I didn't hear back from him (surprise!) but another guy phones to say that they will need to collect the hire car tonight and no it isn't a swap. I query this new plan and am told to contact the claims handler. So I email him saying I've heard nothing and no cheque and explaining about the calls regarding swap/removal of hire car. Ten minutes later the claims handler phones saying

 

- Have I cashed the cheque "even with the wrong name on it" Er...what? I explained I hadn't received the cheque and what's this about the wrong name. He says he will have to track and trace this cheque.

 

When I ask what is happening about this engineers call he says "well once you cash the cheque I will get him to call you" THATS NOT RIGHT IS IT.? I said we are refusing to cash the cheque because that is not enough. He said we need to cash it in the meantime legally. (really?)

 

I said as I have no cheque and no revised valuation I don't see why I should lose the car yet. He rang off saying he would look into it again and I suggested maybe he contact the engineer and pass on our evidence and he said he would (why wasn't this already done?)

 

I haven't heard another word. So I complained to the FoS ombudsman. She will send them a letter of complaint.

 

So - what do I do next? If I cash the cheque, when it turns up, will that mean I've accepted the offer?

Also the company say it's £250 salvage value, Ho do I know this is true? Could I get a better price elsewhere?

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Sounds like a complete mess. You don't have to accept any cheque and should not really cash any reduced amount received, as they might take this as acceptance.

 

Suggest you phone the Insurers asking to speak to their claims manager, as you have now registered a formal complaint with the FOS about their rubbish claims service. Go on the attack and follow up in writing.

 

Salvage value will be their standard fixed amount with their contractor.

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So accident management company still haven't had the engineer call me. The original cheque seems to have been lost in the post so I'm awaiting the new cheque. However this is still going to be for the original amount. How can I get this resolved? I need more money than their first offer, have sent in the evidence of what I need but nothing whatsoever appears to be happening. Should the accident claims management company be pushing to get a higher settlement for me as they are acting for me?

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So accident management company still haven't had the engineer call me. The original cheque seems to have been lost in the post so I'm awaiting the new cheque. However this is still going to be for the original amount. How can I get this resolved? I need more money than their first offer, have sent in the evidence of what I need but nothing whatsoever appears to be happening. Should the accident claims management company be pushing to get a higher settlement for me as they are acting for me?

 

You need to take the action advised before. Speak to your Insurers claims manager about the poor service and FOS complaint.

We could do with some help from you.

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I have already done both of those things but the manager said they have "followed procedure and are waiting for an engineer to review my evidence" it's been11 days since they were sent the evidence. The FSO have sent off the complaint letter but will take 8 weeks to deal with it. In the meantime no car and no cheque.

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Still got the hire car ?

We could do with some help from you.

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Update

 

Accident company have called to say they have an email from the engineer. I have been waiting two weeks for a promised call from the engineers so I can argue directly with them but that hasn't happened. Instead I'm expected to take the word of the company that I don't trust at all. My claim handled dead out the email saying "the highest I can go on this one is retail value which would be £2620" so they are offering me £2600

 

However I then asked if that was plus the salivate value and they said no that includes the salvage value.

 

Is that right? If the email said we should get £2600 should the salvage then come on top of that?

 

We cannot buy anything like what we had for gat money so will have to go into debt to buy a new car. Do we just accept this ridiculous offer? Where can I go for help?

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Update

 

Accident company have called to say they have an email from the engineer. I have been waiting two weeks for a promised call from the engineers so I can argue directly with them but that hasn't happened. Instead I'm expected to take the word of the company that I don't trust at all. My claim handled dead out the email saying "the highest I can go on this one is retail value which would be £2620" so they are offering me £2600

 

However I then asked if that was plus the salivate value and they said no that includes the salvage value.

 

Is that right? If the email said we should get £2600 should the salvage then come on top of that?

 

We cannot buy anything like what we had for gat money so will have to go into debt to buy a new car. Do we just accept this ridiculous offer? Where can I go for help?

 

Sounds ok to me. They will pay retail book value. This will include the salvage.

 

What you have to think about, is if you were selling the vehicle, how much is the realistic value someone would pay. Unless you can point to something special about it e.g it was a limited addition model, so is different to book value.

 

If you were trading it in to a garage in exchange for another vehicle, you would not get this amount.

 

Little point going to the FOS, unless you have additional information not taken into account in the valuation.

 

Think you will have to accept it and move on. Annoying, but when there is little you can do about, arguing the toss for months and ending up with the same amount being decided, is not going to improve your mood.

We could do with some help from you.

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Sounds ok to me. They will pay retail book value. This will include the salvage.

 

What you have to think about, is if you were selling the vehicle, how much is the realistic value someone would pay. Unless you can point to something special about it e.g it was a limited addition model, so is different to book value.

 

If you were trading it in to a garage in exchange for another vehicle, you would not get this amount.

 

Little point going to the FOS, unless you have additional information not taken into account in the valuation.

 

Think you will have to accept it and move on. Annoying, but when there is little you can do about, arguing the toss for months and ending up with the same amount being decided, is not going to improve your mood.

 

I agree, seems pretty fair to me. You can't expect to be paid more that the car is worth, just as you did not want to be paid less than it is worth.

It is easier to enter a rich man than for a camel to pass a needle

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Have a read of this which shows how the Ombudsman expects an INSURER to value your car.

 

I recommend you read it at least twice and pay particular attention to how the FOS expects an Insurer to refer to all three trade guides and what to do if the various trade guides disagree on value.

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20150320001942/http://financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/technical_notes/motor-valuation.html

 

However as you're using a claims management company, they are not normally bound by the Omnbudsman so may ignore this although they will ask the third parties Insurer to ultimately pay the claim and send their proof of how they arrived at the figure through to them so may able to use the FOS valuation guide.

 

N.B I have posted the archived link as the Ombudsman in their wisdom have modernised the relevant page to make it more consumer friendly and in the process removed all the important information.

 

Here is the current version...

 

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/technical_notes/motor-valuation.html

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