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tradegirl

Write off for minor damage

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Hi everyone.

Does anyone know what determines a car being written off? We have bought 3 cars with very minor bumper damage (needed literally just a respray), which were Category N.

On the other hand, we have seen cars of similar value smashed right into the engine, airbags deployed etc, that are unrecorded. Saw a straight Juke a couple of weeks ago that was effed in the wing and wheel arch.

Trying to explain to buyers that I assume comes down to the insurer. Even with before photos, some people can't be convinced. Told a lady today that it was purely cosmetic damage, and she said "seems odd to be written off for cosmetic damage, thanks anyway".

Would she prefer if the car had had rad pack and airbags replaced??

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No

3 minutes ago, tradegirl said:

 

Would she prefer if the car had had rad pack and airbags replaced??

No, she wouldnt have done. But if she looks at 10 cars (assuming she is sensible about how she searches for the car re price, seller etc) then the chances are that she wont see one. She doesnt sound like a cat n customer to me. 

Personally, its not the sort of thing I would (knowingly) sell. Ive never retailed a CAT c/d n/s car and have no intention of doing so. Too many questions that could be asked that I would never know the answer to. Have I ever retailed a car that was HPI Clear and yet had substantial body repair done? Maybe, but I never saw any evidence of it, and neither did the workshop who checked it for me. 

I think theyre potential trouble and wouldnt want my family in one, so shouldnt expect anyone else to do the same. Cosmetic damage only? Still not for me. I buy cars that need bodywork, but its a couple of panels needing attention, or a Ka with a rusty fuel filler flap area, not 'proper ' damage.

But if it works for you, go for it. Just expect the odd dreamer who doesnt believe you. AND BE CLEAR IN THE ADVERT AND WHEN BOOKING THE APPOINTMENT. Dont waste your time, it is what it is.

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8 minutes ago, tradegirl said:

Hi everyone.

Does anyone know what determines a car being written off? We have bought 3 cars with very minor bumper damage (needed literally just a respray), which were Category N.

On the other hand, we have seen cars of similar value smashed right into the engine, airbags deployed etc, that are unrecorded. Saw a straight Juke a couple of weeks ago that was effed in the wing and wheel arch.

Trying to explain to buyers that I assume comes down to the insurer. Even with before photos, some people can't be convinced. Told a lady today that it was purely cosmetic damage, and she said "seems odd to be written off for cosmetic damage, thanks anyway".

Would she prefer if the car had had rad pack and airbags replaced??

I use to deal with cat c, now cat s and cat d now cat n. I had many cars with just bumper damage and and broken headlight which was cat d or c there didn’t seem to be any pattern to which were a d or c. Sometimes it was not economical to let the insurer have a courtesy car for three weeks on a 2 grand car so it’s written off. 

I once had a Clio with very light front damage, bumper, grill, and number plate. Bonnet and radiator was untouched. It was a 4K car so why was it a total? 

Try explaining to the billy it was only light. They think your trying to have one over them. I’ve seen worse damaged cars been repaired and not on the register.

If you understand it there are bargains to be had. My biggest gripe is majority of totalled cars come with one key and no history. 

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I run for the hills when i see those letters, what i dont understand is there cheap yes but you dont get as much money at the end so it kinds of end up as if you bought a straight car. 

The cars are hard work the customers that buy them are hard work the key words here are hard work.

 

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An insurer needs to provide a courtesy vehicle for up to 60 days sometimes, even longer. An accident management company (i.e. a legal firm) makes their money from that car rental that usually provides "like for like" but prestige vehicle, for example an Audi A1 instead of your damaged Fiat 500. Same size of car but commands a rental premium of £100 per day. 

Now, if you have to have that Fiat with the scratched bumper waiting A MONTH to enter a bodyshop that's £3K already spent before the respray even started! It's easier, quicker and more viable to write it off and either send it to scrap auction or let the owner keep it for a fraction of the price. 

There is money in that market but it's not for everyone, the customers that can benefit HUGELY from a Cat N car are the ones that buy newer very low mileage cars, still in warranty which most manufacturers (not all) will still honour and then do a lot of miles in the space of a few years which devalues the vehicle massively anyway (write off or not). No finance on write off cars so makes selling slightly harder. 

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We don't have a problem with Category N. We've sold enough of them and there's good money in them.

I suppose it's the same as customers buying straight cars: you'll get those who pick the car apart, and those who see the car for what it is.

I just don't understand as a customer if you've no idea about Category N cars, and you're nervous and untrusting, why look for one to buy?

And every single one that we've bought, we've put our kids and family in. No chassis damage, no chop shop jobs. Just straight forward replaceable panel repair. If I don't trust the car for my own safety, how can I sell it to someone else?

49 minutes ago, justina3 said:

I run for the hills when i see those letters, what i dont understand is there cheap yes but you dont get as much money at the end so it kinds of end up as if you bought a straight car. 

The cars are hard work the customers that buy them are hard work the key words here are hard work.

 

Justin, I've found higher profit margins in Category N cars. And customers aren't that bad. Usually they're more clued up than normal customers, so they know what to look for, which makes my job easier.

Having a clueless Sunday buyer roll up to a straight car and seeing if the panels align, and crying about a couple of missed services, and thus questioning the mileage of the car...not so easy.

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3 minutes ago, tradegirl said:

I just don't understand as a customer if you've no idea about Category N cars, and you're nervous and untrusting, why look for one to buy?

 

££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££

Remember, to some people used cars are just as bad as written off cars. "I feel like wearing someone's old sweater" blah blah blah. 

It's all about money. Just about THE ONLY reason for example I often fly from Stansted airport and often fly on Ryanair. ££££££££££££££££

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Facebook marketplace is full of cat n, half the the time not declared on the ad and if it is it's always a minor ding  :-/ . Selling good well prepped 2k cars is harder work.  

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1 hour ago, Marc said:

Facebook marketplace is full of cat n, half the the time not declared on the ad and if it is it's always a minor ding  :-/ . Selling good well prepped 2k cars is harder work.  

Marc recently sold a £9000 Cat N A Class on Marketplace in a week, and a Cat N £6k C Class in 10 days. Easiest sales ever. Meanwhile we have 3 £2-3k straight cars that are growing roots.

2 hours ago, Nick M.K. said:

££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££

Remember, to some people used cars are just as bad as written off cars. "I feel like wearing someone's old sweater" blah blah blah. 

It's all about money. Just about THE ONLY reason for example I often fly from Stansted airport and often fly on Ryanair. ££££££££££££££££

Better than Wizz though.

I understand it's about the money, but some Cat N enquirers act as though they're paying full straight price for the car. I guess some people want the Earth regardless of what car you're selling.

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28 minutes ago, tradegirl said:

I guess some people want the Earth regardless of what car you're selling.

I'd go as far as to say most people :lol: 

Edited by Dave2302
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One of our stock cars a Vauxhall Vx220 was written off for very light panel damage, someone went into the side of it, and the insurance just paid us out as a Total loss as Vauxhall don’t make the clams for them anymore, in reality with a wee bit of fibreglass it will be an easy fix.

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We sometimes retail them if they come in as swappers and are up to scratch, wouldn't buy one to retail.

I can't tell you what determines a car becoming a write off or each categories criteria but I can tell you that it doesn't seem to harm the salebility (is that a word?) whatever the marker.

All we do is new MOT and a VERY THOROUGH inspection on the ramp. I don't treat them like a normal car, when I say thorough I mean thorough, just for personal peace of mind. The irony is they'll be a load of unrecorded stuff in far worse or even dangerous condition floating around out there. 

 

 

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We haven't retailed any write offs, but would have thought is would be a bit easier since the new catergories ame in... Well, easier for cars that have had light damage at least. A Cat S marker surely would be the kiss of death for 90% of people.

Before, with C and D, you couldn't really tell how severe the damage was as it was in relation to the value of the car vs repairs (although I guess knowing the date of the write off could give an indication - but only an indication)

The new system seems much simpler N= Non Structural, S=Structrual.

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It's all the none recorded ones that are the real worry as there is quite a lot out there.

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What determines a car write off?

Seriously? If you're dealing cars you should know this...

Write off = beyond economic repair.

An insurer will get legitmate new parts. So a brand new bumper then it will be painted by a reputable bodywork and the work is guaranteed for x years.

Plus the cost of recovery/storage and hire car as Nick pointed out.

So if you got a 3k car and its been in an accident it will likely be a write off. 

However if you had the accident and was paid out for the car you could buy the car back and get it fixed at a back street garage that way. 

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Seem to be a lot more on AT these days. I blame all those US youtube channels buying copart cars to fix up and sell on. Although running a business reparing salvage to retail in the UK is still a dark art.

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9 hours ago, TangoVictor32 said:

What determines a car write off?

Seriously? If you're dealing cars you should know this...

Write off = beyond economic repair.

An insurer will get legitmate new parts. So a brand new bumper then it will be painted by a reputable bodywork and the work is guaranteed for x years.

Plus the cost of recovery/storage and hire car as Nick pointed out.

So if you got a 3k car and its been in an accident it will likely be a write off. 

However if you had the accident and was paid out for the car you could buy the car back and get it fixed at a back street garage that way. 

Your right,a relative of mine recently damaged the bonnet,grill and bumper on his £7000 A6.I have bought worse at the block.His insurance company wanted to write it off.They gave him £4000 back and he got it repaired for a grand but it is now on the hit list.

18 hours ago, Nick M.K. said:

An insurer needs to provide a courtesy vehicle for up to 60 days sometimes, even longer. An accident management company (i.e. a legal firm) makes their money from that car rental that usually provides "like for like" but prestige vehicle, for example an Audi A1 instead of your damaged Fiat 500. Same size of car but commands a rental premium of £100 per day. 

Now, if you have to have that Fiat with the scratched bumper waiting A MONTH to enter a bodyshop that's £3K already spent before the respray even started! It's easier, quicker and more viable to write it off and either send it to scrap auction or let the owner keep it for a fraction of the price. 

There is money in that market but it's not for everyone, the customers that can benefit HUGELY from a Cat N car are the ones that buy newer very low mileage cars, still in warranty which most manufacturers (not all) will still honour and then do a lot of miles in the space of a few years which devalues the vehicle massively anyway (write off or not). No finance on write off cars so makes selling slightly harder. 

There is a hugely successfull claims management company near us called Wynn’s,they make millions.A friend of mine had someone run into the back of his old 3 grand X5.Wynns rented a Range Rover for him,he had it 2 months ! I now understand why insurance companies are quick to write off.

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10 hours ago, TangoVictor32 said:

What determines a car write off?

Seriously? If you're dealing cars you should know this...

Write off = beyond economic repair.

An insurer will get legitmate new parts. So a brand new bumper then it will be painted by a reputable bodywork and the work is guaranteed for x years.

Plus the cost of recovery/storage and hire car as Nick pointed out.

So if you got a 3k car and its been in an accident it will likely be a write off. 

However if you had the accident and was paid out for the car you could buy the car back and get it fixed at a back street garage that way. 

Of course I know, but explain to me why a 2015 Mazda 3 2.2 with 40k on the clock with a minor (and I mean minor) bump on the rear bumper gets written off? I think we sold that for £6500 as Cat N.

Or a 2014 Fiesta Titanium with literally just a door needing painting 

While on the other hand, you can see a 2015 Captur now on Copart that is completely smashed up and airbags deployed, and it's unrecorded. The Mazda is worth more and it got written off for less. And I have other examples like the Mazda.

THAT'S my question. How can a car worth more, get written off for minor damage. While a car that's worth the same amount of money (And oftentimes less) have more damage yet be unrecorded?

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TG..... My own vehicle had just been written off as a cat s for light to moderate front damage which baffles me. New bonnet, headlight, bumper plus some other parts etc, van drove into me on a single track road when I had stopped. I thought it would be an "n" but nope, no airbags went off and I will now buy it back and repair it myself. It's a 9 year old 325d, getting 8k from insurance and buying it for £1400 salvage value. Come resale time I know the "s" marker will affect it more than an "n" would but I'll document all the damage and provide pics etc to any prospective buyer, I'm adamant that it shouldn't be an "s" but it's not my decision unfortunately. 

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19 minutes ago, tradegirl said:

THAT'S my question. How can a car worth more, get written off for minor damage. While a car that's worth the same amount of money (And oftentimes less) have more damage yet be unrecorded?

As far as I know there are only 3 basic reasons a Car with damage will be un recorded ................

1)   It was 3rd party insured, or owner didn't want to claim......... Perhaps hit something pissed and drove off, young driver doesn't want a claim etc this sort of thing.

2)   Has been through Insurance Claim, but not yet entered on register, (it will be tho)

3)   Someone entered wrong details at time of registering and so the seller got very lucky (likely very rare).  

Edited by Dave2302

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1 hour ago, Nick M.K. said:

And employ a solicitor sending demand letters and threats to the insurers. 

Thats all these local claim handling companies do. 

 

They just pass it on for a fee to a solicitor. And when you ask them for an update they are clueless.

I much rather deal with third party insurer directly and notify own insurer for notification purposes only as they ask you a million questions 3 times over and then still try to blame you. By going through your own insurer / agent you're adding another party that the dialogue has to go through and you'll get replies like "we're waiting on third party insurer to come back to us"

Last accident i was paid out in 3 weeks and had a hire car for 3 weeks like a couple of days after the accident. 

24 minutes ago, tradegirl said:

Of course I know, but explain to me why a 2015 Mazda 3 2.2 with 40k on the clock with a minor (and I mean minor) bump on the rear bumper gets written off? I think we sold that for £6500 as Cat N.

Or a 2014 Fiesta Titanium with literally just a door needing painting 

While on the other hand, you can see a 2015 Captur now on Copart that is completely smashed up and airbags deployed, and it's unrecorded. The Mazda is worth more and it got written off for less. And I have other examples like the Mazda.

THAT'S my question. How can a car worth more, get written off for minor damage. While a car that's worth the same amount of money (And oftentimes less) have more damage yet be unrecorded?

Unrecorded damage? 

They didn't go through insurer. Under table deal car sold on eBay.

You hit me. I say give me 5grand we won't go through insurance. You've had accidents before you know your insurance will go in tens of thousands you accept deal. 

Unrecorded are generally under table deals with driver to driver. 

Perhaps it was a drug dealers car and he smashed it and flogged it. You'd be surprised if i told you how much a dealer can make a week... The little runner gets a £1000, middle man £5000+ higher man £15k+ and that's a week... They dont need the heat of insurers and police. A £10k car they will be happy with £3k on eBay as unrecorded.

And my post and others' replies about underlying chassis damage explains the other question. 

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12 minutes ago, Dealer said:

TG..... My own vehicle had just been written off as a cat s for light to moderate front damage which baffles me. New bonnet, headlight, bumper plus some other parts etc, van drove into me on a single track road when I had stopped. I thought it would be an "n" but nope, no airbags went off and I will now buy it back and repair it myself. It's a 9 year old 325d, getting 8k from insurance and buying it for £1400 salvage value. Come resale time I know the "s" marker will affect it more than an "n" would but I'll document all the damage and provide pics etc to any prospective buyer, I'm adamant that it shouldn't be an "s" but it's not my decision unfortunately. 

That's a shame, and frustrating. I don't even know if it's worth arguing that S is structural, and what part of the car's structure did they deem damaged? Still, sounds like you got good money for it. And yes, the S will affect it more, but I think the buyers on some cars such as BMWs and Mercs, might be less bothered about the marker than someone coming to buy a Fiesta.

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And under table deals dont have to be dealers but anyone especially rich folk who have had their nice car smashed by their spotty spoilt 17yr old they don't want their dearest Jules to have no no claims and a bad record "oh how could we!" :lol:

I still owe someone lunch for a  minor scrape in 2007 haha

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