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The Ins and Outs of Scrapping an Insurance Write-Off Vehicle

What are Insurance Write-Offs

When most people hear the words “insurance write-off” a very ugly picture comes to mind. We’ve all passed by that car. The sorry sight sat at the side of the road who’s busted bonnet, smashed headlights and broken doors make us grit our teeth and grip our steering wheel a little tighter than usual as we drive by. The only journey that mess will be making now is to the scrap yard. 

This is what most imagine when they think of an insurance write-off, but this is not always the case. Sometimes cars with the smallest dents and scratches can be written off by your insurance provider and in some circumstances you can even repair an insurance write-off!

With all this in mind, we at Scrap Local have decided to give you the rundown on insurance write-offs.

We’ll help you understand what an insurance write-off is, what happens when your insurance company writes off your car, and whether you can buy and insure an insurance write-off. 

If you’re interested in scrapping an insurance write-off, then read on to see how you can do exactly that!


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What is an Insurance Write-Off

To put it simply, an insurance write-off is any vehicle that has been badly damaged which is seen by your insurance company as either unsafe to drive or uneconomical (too much money) to repair.

What's an Uneconomical Insurance Write-Off?

It’s understandable when a car is written off because it’s unsafe, but what does it mean when your insurance writes off your car because it’s uneconomical? 

When it comes to an uneconomical write-off, insurance companies will look to see if the cost of repair will be more than the car’s value. This is why cars with the smallest amount of damage can still be written off as your insurance provider feels that these damages will cost more than your car’s value to repair and that it isn’t worth it. 

What Happens to an Insurance Write-Off?

When your insurance provider writes off your vehicle they keep it and will offer you a pay-out in compensation to cover the replacement for your write-off.

How much you will receive in compensation for your write-off varies from company to company, but in general your insurance provider bases the amount you will receive on the value of your car minus any excess fee specified in their policies on insurance write-offs.

The value of your car does not mean the price you bought it at but the value of the car in itself. 

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For example, if your car’s value is £9000 and your insurance company offers a settlement fee minus their policy excess of £300, then you should be offered £8700 as pay-out in compensation for your write-off. 

Do I Have to Accept My Insurance's Offer?

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You don’t always have to accept your insurance provider’s offer if you’re not happy with it. 

Not to stereotype too much, but some insurance providers can be stingy and offer a pay-out in compensation which is lower than it probably should be. If this is the case, then you can file a formal complaint to your insurance company and try to negotiate up from their original offer. 

Alternatively, you can buy back your write-off from your insurance company if it can be repaired or if you want to scrap your write-off yourself. 

At Scrap Local we can connect you to reputable ATFs and help you find the best prices for your scrap car. If you want to see how much you could get to scrap your insurance write-off then get a quote with us!


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What are the Insurance Write-Off Categories?

Vehicles written off by insurance providers are put into different categories depending on the kind of damage they receive. 

According to the ABI Salvage Code, there are four categories for insurance write-offs and the category your write-off falls into will impact what you can do with your vehicle.

It’s important to remember that these categories have been updated and that categories C and D have been replaced by categories S and N respectively!

This was done to make repairing modern cars simpler and less expensive. 

To make sure everyone can find and understand these different categories, the official GOV.UK website has listed them online and has also provided information on how to scrap an insurance write-off

Can I Buy an Insurance Write-Off

The short answer is yes! 

However, you should always carefully consider what it is you’re paying for and whether buying an insurance write-off will be worth the cost in the long-run. It doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion from an independent mechanic on an insurance write-off before reaching for your wallet.

Buying An Insurance-Write Off

If you are looking to buy a car which has been previously written off, then you need to make sure you’re not wasting time and money by doing so. 

Despite the cheap price tag, an insurance write-off could be more expensive than buying a new car as it will need to be fully inspected and repaired in order to meet road-safety standards. 

Suddenly that cheap price tag isn’t looking so cheap! 

You should also make sure that you are buying a previously written off car from a reputable car sales person. We also recommended that you perform a HPI check on the car you want to buy to see if it has any outstanding loans or has been stolen. 

It’s better to be safe than sorry so always think before you buy!

Buying Back Your Insurance Write-Off

If you want to buy back your own write-off from your insurance company, then you must contact your insurance company and let them know ASAP!

Remember to buy back your insurance write-off before you accept your insurance company’s pay-out in compensation. 

Once you’ve accepted a pay-out your insurance will take ownership of your write-off and can refuse to give it back!

In short, consider your options carefully before buying an insurance write-off. Once you’ve done some research and feel confident buying an insurance write-off then go for it!

Can I Insure an Insurance Write-Off?

Once the appropriate repairs have been made to your car then you can insure it. 

But keep in mind that this can cost you more than insuring a regular car and that some insurance companies may even refuse to insure a write-off. 

The best course of action is to do your research and decide what is best for you and your wallet.

How Do I Scrap an Insurance Write-Off?

It’s safe to say that for most people the only trip an insurance write-off will be making is to the scrap yard.

But how do you scrap an insurance write-off?

Scrapping an insurance write-off is surprisingly easy, and to make things even easier we at Scrap Local have listed the things you need to do in order to scrap your insurance write-off without any hassle!

Your insurance company will handle scrapping your vehicle for you, however you will still need to do the following things to scrap your insurance write-off properly:

  1. If you want to keep your registration plate, then apply to have it removed from your insurance write-off before it is scrapped. You can do this via the official GOV.UK website!

2. Send your vehicle log book to your insurance company. Make sure that you remove and keep the yellow section titled “Selling, Transferring, or Part Exchanging this Vehicle to a Motor Trader” from your log book before you send it!

3. Finally, contact DVLA and tell them that your vehicle has been written off.

That’s all there is to it!

If you would like to find out more about how to scrap your car, then read our in-depth guide all about it!


Clearly there’s more to insurance write-offs than meets the eye. Whether you’re giving your old set of wheels a new lease on life or waving them off at the scrapyard, there is a lot to consider financially when it comes to insurance write-offs.

Here at Scrap Local we make sure that you get the best prices for your scrap car whether it’s a write-off or not. We work quickly and closely with our agents to scrap your car safely and at the best price for you

Get a quote today!


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