Insurance Write Offs and Salvage Deduction

When you have been involved in an accident, it can be a very stressful and traumatic time. The most important thing is that everyone is safe.

Once the initial incident is over, knowing what to do next with your vehicle can be very difficult. Thankfully, most people will never have to deal with this, but for the ones that do, getting the right information to make sure you aren’t also impacted financially is not easy.

That’s where Scrap Car Comparison comes in. Our team of impartial experts have a wealth of knowledge about what options you have and they can guide you through the tricky process.

How is Insurance Buy Back Value Calculated?

Depending on the severity of the accident, your car will either be towed back to a storage facility or approved workshop, or you may be able to take it home. An insurance assessor will then come to view the vehicle.

After they have assessed the damage to your car or van, they will decide if the car can be repaired or if it is an insurance write off. Assessors decide this by working out the Pre-Accident Value of the vehicle compared to the cost of repair, or whether it can be repaired safely at all.

If the vehicle is deemed a write off or a “total loss” then depending on the severity, it will be categorised into one of four write off categories; A, B, S and N (these are explained in detail below). At this point, your insurance company will give you the option to be paid the Pre-accident value with a write off buy back price or salvage deduction.

This is when it is difficult to know what is best to do. To help you with this at Scrap Car Comparison we have launched our new buy back calculator. 

What is Insurance Buy Back?

If your car has been written off as a total loss by your insurer, you may be able to buy it back.

This means that your insurer will return your vehicle to you for a reduced settlement figure rather than them taking ownership of it and handing it over to a salvage firm. Commonly known as both ‘buy back’ and ‘salvage deduction’, you should make your insurer aware you would like to carry out this process as soon as possible to negotiate the best deal. 

Calculating Buy Back Value 

The buy back value of your vehicle is calculated with a number of factors in mind. You will be given a Pre-accident value or PAV by your insurer; generally, the insurance buy back value is the PAV minus their salvage deduction percentage. However, if you believe your vehicle is worth more than the PAV provided, it may be negotiable. This will also increase the salvage deduction. 

For example, if you have a car with a PAV of £1000 and the salvage deduction is £300, your insurer will only work to the maximum repair cost of £700. 

We would recommend using our insurance buy back calculator to get an idea of how to negotiate with your insurer as they may quote a lower figure to start with.

Another option is that your insurer may also offer you a CIL (cash in lieu payment). This is generally only reserved for when the repair cost of your vehicle is lower than its value. The CIL figure paid is the estimated repair cost, and if you choose this option the vehicle will not be written off and will not receive a category marker. 

What is Your Write Off Worth?

It’s important not to accept the first figure your insurer offers you when they write off your vehicle as a total loss. 

Do your research and get a quote using our salvage calculator before negotiating. Insurers may quote a figure that is lower than what they can actually achieve, whereas our calculator will compare the best offers available to you. Your vehicle’s value as a total loss will depend on its category.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) produced a salvage code to make it easier to understand the condition of a vehicle. Since 1st October 2017, the following categories have been used:

Category A – Scrap

This is the category given to vehicles not suitable to be repaired. No parts of the vehicle can be reused for salvage and the whole vehicle must be scrapped.

Category B – Break

This category is for vehicles that are not suitable to be repaired, but they may have parts that can be used elsewhere. The vehicle must be crushed once the salvaged parts have been removed.

Category S – Structural

This category is given to vehicles that have had damage to the structural frame, and the insurer has chosen not to repair it. They can still be legally repaired, although this may become very expensive to do safely, and can also be used for salvage.

Category N – Non-structural

Finally, category N is for vehicles that have no structural damage, but the insurer has chosen not to repair it as the cost is above their calculations.  These vehicles can also still be repaired and used for salvage. 

Total loss car value calculator 

If you have been in an accident and have received a buy back quote from your insurance company, we would recommend using our salvage calculator to research your options, or getting in touch with one of our expert team and seeing what other quotes are available to you. Simply enter your registration and postcode for a free, instant quote. 

Quite often, cars that have been written off by insurers as a total loss still have some use. In many cases, they can be repaired or sold as salvage, meaning the parts can be used to repair other vehicles. 

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