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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Ownership of a damaged vehicle: mine or the compensating insurance

Resolved Question:

Ownership of a damaged vehicle: mine or the compensating insurance company?
I own a 23 year-old car. In mid-January when I stopped at a roundabout the car behind me rammed into the back of my vehicle causing what is most likely to cost some £1,200 worth of body repair work (yet to be done as we're still searching for replacement parts as one bit not available new).
I was told by the insurance company's valuer that I would get £350 (based on his valuation of £400) as my ownership of the vehicle was abrogated (his word) and I would be buying back the written-off vehicle for £50. How is this change of ownership justified?
I understand, I hope correctly, that compensation is tied/married to the market value of the vehicle as that is the limit of the insurer's indemnity. Is the vehicle's market value the only value recognised in law?
In this case it's obviously uneconomical for the insurance company to repair my car, but not for me. In reality, buying another car for £350 is a huge risk (likely to be faulty), so I am left with either repairing my car or spending a great deal more on a decent second-hand replacement: either way I'll be out of pocket by a serious amount. The accident was not my fault, and I expect the insurance company would ignore my having insured the car at a higher value. I have great pity for anyone in a similar situation who would have to borrow money to return their car to its pre-accident state.
With thanks for 'being there' when needed.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : are they offering you below market value please?
Customer:

I doubt it. After writing to the insurer of the offending party, the initial amount of £350 was upped by £295 and I have received both cheques but not banked them.

Customer:

Are you able to answer my specific questions? I don't think I can get anymore from the insurance company. I just want to know how I lose ownership of my car in a case like this.

Alex Watts : How much is a second hand one of the same spec?
Alex Watts : by the way the above was not my answer.
Customer:

In our extensive search for replacement body parts since mid January, which included looking to buy a similar car for about £500, nothing has been found. At present no cars of the same spec are on the market. The insurance company's valuer used Glass's Guide for his assessment.

Alex Watts : So you are being offered £150 short?
Customer:

No. Estimated cost of repairs is £1,200. I have received two cheques totalling £645, so am likely to be short £555.

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.



If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.



The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.



If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.



Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Thank you for this. However, you haven't answered my two questions:

Alex Watts :

ok

Customer:

1. How can the insurance company assume ownership of my car?

Alex Watts :

1. If they pay you out, then they own it

Customer:

2. Is the vehicle's market value the only value that counts?

Alex Watts :

They have paid for your car

Alex Watts :

2. Sometimes

Alex Watts :

In short you should be put back in the position as if the accident did not happen

Customer:

So, therefore, I shouldn't bank the two compensation cheques; repair the car and, if necessary, go to court if not fully reimbursed for the repairs. Is that right?

Alex Watts :

Yes

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer:

Yes, it does. Thank you. I shall give it a go.

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