In recent times, there’s been an increasing interest in buying and restoring written-off vehicles. The appeal? Often, acquiring a car at a price lower than its original cost. But the question remains: is it worth the risk and the effort? Take a look farther into the world of written-off vehicles and the factors you should consider.
What Does Write-off Mean?
A vehicle is termed as an insurance write-off when the cost of its repair exceeds its market value, or in many cases, approaches a larger of the market/insured value of the car. In simpler terms, if it’s cheaper for the insurance company to replace the car rather than fix it, the vehicle is considered a write-off. Typically, a car is branded as uneconomical to repair if fixing it would cost 50%-60% of the vehicle’s value, although this percentage can vary, especially for newer vehicles. It’s essential to understand that the value of a written-off vehicle can be unpredictable. The condition post-accident and the odometer reading can influence its value significantly.
Type of Write-off?
Repairable Write Off (RWO)
Repairable Write Off denotes damage to the vehicle but still allows for repair. The cost of the repairs prevented the insurance company from paying out a compensation, even though the car could have been restored and put back on the road. According to the type of repair and the car’s purchase price, many vehicles with hail damage or accident damage that is still repairable are classified as Repairable Write-offs, but keep in mind that their future value and demand are unknown because they will always show up as WOVR.
This restricts your future options also, as most reputable car dealers will not accept WOVR cars as trade-ins, and also many insurance companies won’t want to insure them, as who knows what the real value of the car is? You should inform your insurance company about your intentions to possess and the vehicle as soon as possible. Remember though that there are many unscrupulous sellers out their and not disclosing the WOVR status of the vehicles when advertising or selling, so it really is a BUYER BEWARE.
Statutory Write Off (SWO)
Statutory write off refers to vehicles that are essentially irreparably damaged but whose parts may still be salvaged and applied to other vehicles. Major mechanical breakdowns in the engine block, transmission case, cabin, or boot cause this kind of write-off. It’s extremely risky to keep this vehicle because, unlike RWO, it cannot be re-registered in any states or territories if the paint has cracked or if there is fire damage to it.
Who decided the status?
Not just anyone can deem a car as written-off. It’s a declaration that comes from qualified insurance professionals who weigh the cost of repairs against the car’s market value. RWO and SWO can be both written off by the accessor but only RWO can be sold. typically through damaged-vehicle auctions, or, if the car had just extended third-party insurance by the owner.
The importance of the WOVR
For anyone considering purchasing a written-off vehicle, familiarising themselves with the Written Off Vehicle Register (WOVR) is crucial. This register records vehicles based on their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and tracks their repair status, ensuring they are safe to be on the roads. Not all write-offs are the same. A Repairable Write Off (RWO) can be repaired and re-registered. However, if it’s a Statutory Write Off (SWO), the story is different. For instance in New South Wales, such vehicles cannot be reused on the roads. Lastly, if you’re serious about buying a written-off vehicle, a pre-purchase car inspection will be an invaluable suggestion. It offers an in-depth analysis of the car’s current condition, helping you make a more informed decision.
Buying a written-off vehicle literally to get a car for less but it comes with its challenges. After restoring a written-off car, you might want to consider write-off insurance. However, ensure you’re clear on the policy details, including the claims process, the valuation approach, and the premium calculations. If you’re seriously considering buying a written-off vehicle, a pre-purchase car inspection can provide invaluable insight. It offers an in-depth analysis of the car’s current condition. Helping you make a more informed decision and understand the intricacies of the purchase. With the right knowledge and approach, it could be a venture worth exploring.