If My Car is Written Off, What Happens to My Insurance?
If you’ve been in a bad road traffic accident where your car is badly damaged and subsequently declared a ‘write off’, you’ll want to know how this will affect your insurance policy and exactly what happens when your car is written off.
So we’ve put together this guide where we answer 5 frequently asked questions about what happens to your insurance and your car, should it ever be declared a write-off.
In this guide:
If you have fully comp car insurance and your car is declared a ‘write off’ after an accident, your insurer automatically becomes the owner of your vehicle and pays out an amount of compensation to you that's equal to the market value of your car.
If you do not agree with your insurer’s estimated market value of your written off car, you should seek advice and help from or complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
If your car is a total write off (Category A or B), then your car will be scrapped and crushed or, if your car is a Category B, parts of it may be salvageable but the body (shell) of the car will still be crushed.
If your car falls into a write-off Category N or S (also or previously known as Categories C or D respectively), then you can choose to buy the car back from your insurer. You must then arrange and pay for professional repairs yourself, and you need to inform the DVLA and your new insurer if your car has been declared a write-off.
For more detailed information about car insurance write off categories, check out our complete guide on Car Insurance Write Off Categories Explained.
Yes, you still continue to pay for your car insurance on a totalled car until the car insurance policy is paid for, in full, and you cannot cancel your insurance policy early.
This means if you pay for your car insurance monthly, you will continue to pay for your insurance until the policy has been completely paid for in full. Likewise, if you paid for your car insurance in a lump sum at the start of your policy term, you will not receive any refund.
The only ‘silver lining’ in this cloud is that if you replace the written-off vehicle, you can use up the remaining term of your insurance by applying the policy to your new vehicle. However, this could attract an additional, higher premium if the replacement car has a higher value and/or is a higher insurance risk than your car that was written off.
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If your car is declared a write-off by your insurer and there are no complications, you should receive a compensation payout within approximately 30 days from the date your car is declared a write-off by your insurer.
However, if you delay getting information to your insurer, don’t pay your excess promptly when requested, etc, this timeframe will of course increase.
When your car is declared a total write off, insurers will take ownership of your vehicle and if the write-off Category is A or B, will arrange for the car to be scrapped or salvaged.
If your car only falls into write off Categories C, D, N or S, then you will have the option to buy your car back from your insurer and pay for professional repairs yourself. If you don’t buy your car back, again, your insurer will arrange to scrap your car and salvage parts.
Yes, insuring a written-off car is possible if the write off Category was B, C, N or S and the car has been professionally repaired. However, it’s always best to check with an insurer that they are happy to insure a written-off car before committing to take out a policy, as every insurer has different rules.
You must remember to tell any potential insurer (and the DVLA) if your car has been declared a write-off.
For further information, tips and advice on car insurance, take a look at our related guides below.