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What to do when your car has been written off

If you are involved in an accident which damages your vehicle beyond economic repair, meaning that it would cost more to fix than to buy a new one, then that vehicle will be considered an insurance write-off and you will have to scrap it. If the accident was someone else´s fault, then their insurance should pay for a replacement vehicle. If, however, it was your fault, then it is up to you or your insurer to provide a replacement, depending on the level of cover you have.

Cars contain lots of substances that can be highly toxic to the natural environment if they are not disposed of properly, such as heavy metals. Furthermore, they contain parts and materials that could be used to repair or make another car, saving on material resources and energy consumption. This is why it is important to dispose of your vehicle properly if it needs to be scrapped, by taking it to an authorised treatment facility (ATF). This will ensure that it is dismantled in an environmentally friendly way.

If an ATF agrees to take your vehicle, it will provide you with a Certificate of Destruction (CoD), and inform the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle. It is important to keep hold of this certificate as proof that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle, in case a car bearing its license plates is involved in a crime.

In some cases, the insurer will demand delivery of the scrapped car in return for paying out on your claim. If this is the case, you can leave it up to the insurer to arrange disposal. If this is the case, and you are not given a CoD or your vehicle is not going to be destroyed, then you will need to complete the V5C/3(NI) ´Notification of sale or transfer´ section of your vehicle registration certificate and send it to the DVA. You will also need to do this if your vehicle has not been scrapped and you choose to keep the salvage, but you will need a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) if you ever want to use it on the road again.

If your car is written off in an accident, then the chances are that you will need a replacement vehicle to tide you over until the claim goes through and a new car can be purchased. This is why you might want to consider adding Car hire insurance to your car insurance policy, which will provide a rental vehicle free of charge if you lose the use of the insured vehicle. Usually, this means you get a basic hatchback for a few days, but you can specify a different type of vehicle or a longer free hire period as cost options on your policy.  Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk) offer car hire insurance as an add on which can be added to your current car insurance policy at any time.  

Another cost option that is well worth considering is breakdown cover, as this will provide practical assistance in the event that your car breaks down. Again, this type of cover comes with several options, ranging from basic roadside breakdown assistance, which will pay for someone to come and fix your car or tow it to a garage if it breaks down on a UK road, to more comprehensive cover that will cover you throughout Europe, and provide assistance if your car fails to start at home.

published: 20/11/2012

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