A prized Ford Focus is back on the road and that’s a source of constant joy for its owner who for weeks struggled with it being branded a write-off.
It’s been an arduous journey for senior citizen Brian Mead for whom the loss of his 14-year-old Ford estate, with a relatively low 70,000 miles on the clock, was far greater than its strict market value.
For those of more modest means and needs, being able to soldier on with a trusted older vehicle is often the most affordable and preferable solution compared to getting a disposal settlement from their insurer.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on firstname.lastname@example.org
This happens when the cost of a repair is deemed greater than the car’s value. Assessments however must be fair and vehicles not scrapped without warning.
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Brian was filled with dread at the prospect of grappling with such issues, plus the cost and time involved in sorting out a replacement, especially with car prices at record highs thanks to inflation, rising borrowing rates and shortages.
“I stand to lose thousands of pounds and have said I want to keep my car if I can,” he told Crusader.
He got in touch after a collision with broken railings in March and his insurer Esure organised the car’s removal.
He called in initially to report the details and claims he was shocked to be told “immediately, based on what I said, that my car was a write-off. But no assessment had taken place that I was aware of at that point and I wasn’t happy.”.
While Brian did receive a courtesy car, part of his £625 annual policy cover, from then on, he says, he also found it difficult to contact Esure. “I’ve spent ages calling them. I’ve let them know several times that I wanted a repair, but am no clearer about what’s happening.”
Concerned at the little headway he was making, Crusader took up the inquiry, confirming Brian’s wishes if at all possible.
A call then from Esure cleared the way and a repairer said it was possible so his car was collected for an estimate to be completed.
To his delight his Ford was returned last week, ready to drive again and backed by a full guarantee.
Esure apologised for the delays and inconvenience he encountered and has waived the £250 excess payment on his policy.
“This was such tough going, but I’m so pleased now,” declared Brian. “Crusader’s support helped me stand firm and I’m a lot better off because of that. Thank you.”
[Brian’s name has been changed]
Write-offs – what to know and to do next
Accidents and circumstances like fire and flood can all cause cars to get written off. A car may still be roadworthy, but it’s more to do with the financial viability of a repair, compared to the vehicle’s value.
Owners may have the option to buy back their vehicle and get it repaired.
Write offs fall into four categories, from unrecoverable to what’s needed before it can be driven again.
These provide a guide to the extent of the damage and, for example, if untouched parts can be used as spares.
If your insurance includes new for old (so probably more expensive in the first place) that will pay you the same as what you would need to buy a new version of the same make and model.
Buying a written-off car could result in higher premiums. The Financial Ombudsman Service can consider disputes.
See its excellent guide here.
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