26 Oct, 2023

Can I keep my car after the insurance write-off?

After getting into a major car accident, there is a chance that your car will be beyond repair, or as the insurance company calls it, a write-off. Even common car accidents can result in a totalled car. Understanding how insurance companies determine that a vehicle is a write-off, how to file a claim for a totalled car, and whether you can keep your car after an insurance write-off are what we will be covering today.

Keeping your vehicle after it is deemed insurance write-off

Can you keep your vehicle even after the insurance company deems it a write-off? The answer is usually yes. You can negotiate with the insurance company if you want to keep your car, even after it is totalled.

If you choose to go this route, the payout you receive from the insurance company will be equal to the actual cash value of your car minus your deductible and the amount of money that your car would have been sold for as salvage.

Why keep your car after the insurance company deems it a write-off?

Generally speaking, most people do not choose to keep their cars after the insurance company has written them off. However, the main reasons for negotiating to keep your car are if you want to salvage the parts yourself because you believe you will get a better rate for them or if you believe that the car can be repaired.

Can you drive a car that’s been written off?

It depends. If the car has been branded as “irreparable,” then you will have no choice but to sell the parts for salvage because trying to repair your car is not an option. However, if it has been branded as “salvage,” then you might be able to have it repaired so that you can drive it again. That said, it must pass a series of tests and have it inspected by a professional mechanic before you can legally drive it.

What is a totalled car?

Before we proceed with this article, let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page about what a totalled car is. A totalled car or “write-off” occurs when a car is damaged following an auto accident, and the insurance company determines that the cost of repairing the vehicle would be more than the value of the vehicle. If your car is deemed a write-off, you will have a few options to consider, which we cover below.

Does car insurance cover cars that are written off?

Car insurance policies vary throughout Canada as there are so many types of auto insurance that can be added to a policy. Depending on what types of coverage you have, your policy may or may not cover you if your car is damaged in an accident and is deemed a write off. The following is a list of the most common types of coverage that come into play if your car is totalled and you need to file an auto insurance claim.

Third party liability coverage

Liability insurance, also known as third party liability car insurance, may cover the cost of replacing your totalled vehicle if you get into an accident that another driver is at fault for.

Please note that it would not be your liability insurance that would come into play but the other drivers that might pay to replace your written-off car.

Third party liability coverage is mandatory in every Canadian province or territory. It is specifically designed to help pay for legal fees, medical fees, and vehicle repair costs should a policyholder get into an accident that they are liable for.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage is another type of coverage that may come into play if your car is totalled and deemed a write-off. This type of coverage will only apply if the damage to your vehicle occurred while it was parked. Comprehensive coverage is also referred to as parked car coverage because it exclusively protects against non-collision-related risks.

For instance, if your car was damaged in a fire or a tree branch fell on it and it led to extensive damage, your insurance company might deem your car a write-off. In this case, you would file a comprehensive insurance claim to cover the cost of having to buy a new car.

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