If you want to buy a car but you’re on a tight budget, used vehicles can seem like an attractive option. But is it really a good idea to buy a car from the Written-Off Vehicles Register? And exactly how much is a repairable write off worth in Australia?
In this guide, we will try to help you decide if this car-buying method is the best option for you. Stay tuned!
What makes a car a write-off in Australia?
A car can get wrecked in a flood, car crash, or maybe even fire. If the vehicle experienced severe damage, insurance companies have no choice but to put it in the Written-Off Vehicles Register. From there, critically damaged cars will fall into one of two categories: statutory write-off or repairable write-off.
Statutory write-offs are vehicles that have suffered significant damage to the roof, floor pan or firewall or have had a serious engine failure. If the vehicle had spent some time in the water, it is considered irreparable. The same goes for completely burnt cars and vehicles that have been stripped bare of their interior car parts.
You can’t purchase a statutory write-off, meaning it’s beyond repair and only helpful in providing parts for other cars. A car that’s survived that much of a drastic disfigurement can’t be registered again, as no amount of money or work will make it safe to use on the road again.
If a car can be fixed but its repair would cost 50-70% of its market worth, insurers will write the vehicle off. To get the automobile’s registration back, it needs to be fixed to meet the manufacturer’s standards and requirements.
To see if a car is eligible to be classified as a repairable write-off, insurers examine your car’s value in comparison to other models, the vehicle’s condition prior to the accident, and the distance on your odometer.
Sometimes an automobile can be considered a repairable write-off even if it isn’t critically damaged. Since the car market value decreases with age, old vehicles, although having a minor impairment, will be categorised as repairable write-offs because of their low market worth.
How to check if your car has been written off?
If you’ve had a car accident happen recently and want to check if your vehicle has been written off, you have two options:
- Call your insurer and ask them for information on the assessment of your automobile
- Use the Written-Off Vehicle Register. WOVR provides help for road users to avoid falling into scams, such as buying stolen cars or vehicles that have had a considerable amount of repairs.
Should you buy a repairable write-off?
As with any decision you have to make, there are pros and cons you have to consider when buying a repairable write-off:
- Significantly lower prices compared to the newer vehicles on the market
- Opportunity to avoid finance interest charges
- No time wasted on negotiating prices and endless browsing, as economic write-offs are only sold on auctions
- You can find a reliable vehicle that will fulfil your basic needs on the road
- Most write-offs have too many faults and damages
- You might spend more money trying to fix the vehicle than you would when buying a new one.
- Auctions rarely (if ever) allow testing the car
- It will be nearly impossible to resell the car because of its low market value
- The biggest disadvantage is the safety concerns that go with buying a repairable write-off
According to the car sales statistics, the most important consideration for Ozzies when buying a car is how safe it is.
Can you insure a repairable write-off in Australia?
In some cases, you can drive and insure a repairable write-off again. To do so, you need to register the vehicle again. However, different states have specific rules when it comes to getting your car’s registration back (for instance, in New South Wales you can only drive a repairable write-off again if it was hail-damaged, inherited, or registered in the owner’s name at least 28 days before the accident).
Note: Most insurance companies won’t provide financial coverage for your car again. If they do, they’ll charge the insurance premiums at a higher price.
How is the write-off value in Australia calculated?
If you’re wondering how much is a repairable write-off worth and how is its value calculated, these are the key factors assessors include in their evaluation:
- Are the needed car parts easily accessible?
- What is the age of the car model?
- Will the structural damage still present a security issue even when repaired?
When the insurance company has their hands on the report, they must evaluate whether the costs will take up more than half of the vehicle’s market worth. If so, the car is most likely to be written off.
After going through the report, insurance companies have to make the ultimate decision. If it’s cheaper to just pay out the insured value, they will write off the vehicle. The same thing goes if there’s a safety risk. Finally, insurers will also take into account the amount of money the vehicle will generate if sold for car parts.
If you’re thinking of buying a repairable write-off, keep in mind that even though sometimes it’s cheaper, you’d probably spend more money repairing this type of vehicle than you would on a new car. And if you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘How much is a repairable write off worth in Australia’, we hope that this guide answers all of your questions.
1. Can dealers sell written-off vehicles?
Most Australian states, except for New South Wales, allow car dealers to sell written off vehicles, but only after disclosing the price to the owner.
2. How much will I get if my car is written off?
How much is a repairable write off worth depends on several factors. If it would cost over 50-70% of your car’s market value to fix it, your insurance company would just write your car off and give you a payment in the amount of your car’s market value prior to the accident.