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Insurance advice on Car write off please

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I have an old car as finances are tight (Mercedes A160 2009),
I had it since 2011 so its lasted a long time and being very reliable for me only broke down once.
Had the ususal knocks and scrapes for an old car but no accidents,, no claims and mainly never broke down.

A few weeks ago I parked in the local shopping centre and a woman drove in the car park at high speed and scraped all along the side of my car with her red paint.

First she wanted to settle herself the claim but wanted me to take £15 a month to pay for the damage in the end.

A local garage quoted £250 repair each door so £500 and a  bit on the front bumper.

Then she cant pay and I have to go through my insurance - Tesco.

As its a no fault claim there is no excess for me to pay - I was in the shops luckily my daughter was in the car and called me.

The local garage sent a quote to Tesco and today Tesco sent me an email saying the car is a write off and they are paying me £2,000.
I have to send the log book to them and they will send someone out to collect.

My issue is I cant survive without a car as I am disabled.
My daughter has to be dropped to college 4 times as week as there is no public transport.
The car was insured for £3500 which I know they never pay full amount.

I am so confused now as it will be so difficult to find a new car to buy with such little money.

I dont know how to cope with this and how to find a new car.

Can anyone advise my options please and what I must do?

How long do I have to contact the insurance company?

Thank You

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Insurance advice on Car write off please

Firstly ask your insurer how they came to the evaluation that the car is worth £2000.

Get on AutoTrader and find cars of similar specification/age/mileage to yours. See what the market rate for those are. Get about 4 to 5 ads and go back to the insurance company if the market value is higher stating that you want market value for the vehicle.

Unfortunately with it being 14 years old it's inevitable that a car that needs 2 doors, new side sills and who knows what else underneath is going to be written off.

You can also buy the car back from them for the scrap value and fix it yourself with the payout, but this is risky as you only really know the cosmetic damage.

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Sorry, but there is something here that I really don't understand.

Your car runs and you are perfectly happy with it apart from the fact it is an old car.

A woman has run into your car and cause £500 of damage. In other words £500 would fix it and your insurance company is now offering you £2000. Is that correct?

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Sounds like the car is still drivable ?

The issue with a cash settlement and getting the car repaired yourself, is that the Insurers may say the salvage has a value of say £1000 and therefore only offer £1000 for you to keep the car and organise the repairs yourself.   If you can get the car repaired for £1000 and the Insurers are happy with this, then that may be your best option.  But Insurers may refuse a cash settlement and for you to keep the car. The Government are trying to get older cars off the road for environment reasons and part of this process, is for Insurers to play their part, in ensuring older cars written off are scrapped.

As has already been said, the £2000 offer is likely to be the lowest value and the Insurers may increase the offer, if you can provide information to support a higher valuation.  Anyone in this situation should never accept the Insurers first offer. 

Did you get the ladies Insurance details and personal information (name/address/car registration) and pass to your Insurers ?

If you car is not drivable and you do not have access to another car, you could look to get a hire car for a short period. And then to reclaim this from the ladies Insurance company.  DO NOT accept a credit hire car via your Insurance company, as that would be expensive and the third parties Insurance company may not be willing to reimburse these costs.  Remember, that if you did get a hire car, this must only be for period you can evidence that it was needed for and it must only be a basic car you can drive.  e.g. to enable an undrivable car to be repaired or to find a replacement car for the one written off.  

We could do with some help from you.



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The car is very driveable I am driving it every day, mechanically it is sound.
As I am disabled I am not in a condition to get the car repaired myself so cant go down that route, I am alone and have no help.

When the woman was going to pay herself I took the car to a local garage for a quote and then said £500 for both doors so its realistic. 
Now I have to go thru the insurance I can claim a courtesy car while mine is being repaired so that would cost more.
I am really quite surprised that the insurance want to pay out more than I was quoted but it is their preferred garage that has sent the quote into them and I dont know how much they have quoted.

I am still in shock over what to do as £2000 will go nowhere towards buying a new car and the same one i can find for sale now is £3,500 although not so many around any more. 

As I am disabled and struggle with walking and have no one to drive me around I need to hang onto my car until a new car is sorted. 


Edited by mrscsmith
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I don't have the level of insurance experience that my site team colleague @unclebulgaria67 has but I don't see that you are obliged to agree for the car to be written off. It seems to me that you are entitled to require the insurer to pay for the repair for the car. Not only that you don't have to pay for a budget repair. If you can get a better quality of repair for say, £750 – then you should be entitled to that.

I read understand what the insurer is doing. Half the time they are picking and trying to pay out less than is necessary. Now they are trying to pay you more than is necessary.

At the end of the day we can help you claim from the driver of the other car – by means of a County Court claim if necessary.

You have only had one estimate for the repairs of the vehicle. I suggest that you find other places and get at least one more and maybe two more estimates. Don't worry about them to keep being cheaper estimates. You want an estimate for a good quality repair.

I expect that my site team colleague will be along soon and explain if there is something that I simply don't understand.

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If you can evidence repairs cheaper than write off, then make the request to Insurers.

The way the Insurers see this is as follows:

They pay £2000 to you and recover the car.

They receive £1000 as the salvage value for the car.

So they are left with £1000 plus costs to recover from third party Insurers.

If instead they paid £1000 to your garage to repair the car, the fear all Insurers have is that further damage is noted or the repairs are not satisfactory, so they end up spending more money to repair than they would for a write off.

See what you can negotiate with your Insurers, but you need to understand that Insurers have a duty to ensure the claim settlement is for the most economic amount.

We could do with some help from you.



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