You’ve been looking for a particular model for a while. You must have read every on-line advert in the last month. You’ve become quite an anorak on model derivative’s, build numbers, colours, trim, wheels, how many left/how many made, most of all, the price, but….. you just cannot find the right one.
Then along comes a great looking car. The history is right. The mileage is good. Everything looks good. Except for one thing. The price. It’s too cheap. Then, right down at the foot of the advert, you see that Declaration; “this car was previously written off as part of an insurance claim”. What to do? Jump in or run a mile?
The bigger point is this; should these cars even be on sale at all?
We kicked it about among the three of us over a beer, which quickly turned in to several, as it does. The three of us could not agree either. We decided to put it to the office. Well, talk about light the blue touch paper and stand well back! It split the office more than Brexit! Hard to believe, we know. But a true fact. As opposed to Brexit which is just a true nightmare. Not going there.
Let’s have a look at the argument for each side.
We’ll take this Brooklands, just because it is there.
When it was produced, the retail price was £11,999. We doubt many sold for that most were heavily discounted, we’ll say £11k for the sake of discussion.
Ten years later what is it worth, say, £4kish. If this car has a small, non-structural read-end, needing say a rear bumper, rear panel, tailgate, lamps, some repairs, and paint, what do think that would have cost; two grand maybe?
Back then the insurer may have taken the view it was better to deem the car a “constructive” total loss. This means it could have been repaired perfectly adequately, but the margin of error around cost was too narrow, so best all round to call it a day and write it off. We summarise and there is a bit more to than that, but in a nutshell that’s it.
Should this straightforward repair be dismissed and the car, now a classic, be crushed? Many would argue, no way. Even if the insurance company did not want to spend their money repairing the car, someone else would. A perfectly good car could go back on the road.
However, the counter argument is equally as compelling. Some very persuasively argue two points. Selling written off cars through un-regulated sellers to un-registered buyers invites a number of issues. The first being the strong allegation this process fuels car theft & car crimes. Crims buy written off the car through the salvage agent, then steal a donor car or parts from a car in order to put it back on the road. The second equally compelling argument is this. Even if an honest buyer purchases the car and repairers it with genuine parts, who assess the final job to ensure it is safe?
We know this has divided our office in two for days. It is worse than Brexit. Could anything be any worse? Unlike this government we don’t have a back up plan….oh, wait….neither do they.
Tell us what you think on the issue of insurance write-offs entering the classic car market. We’d love to hear you views.