What to do if your car is written off

14 February 2019

It’s stressful enough having your car written off, but if you don’t know the processes involved, it’s even worse. We guide you on what to do in the unfortunate case of your car being written off.


What is a written off car?

A car is considered written off when, after the accident, the insurer deems the cost of repairs higher than the insured value of your car. 

What to do if you’re in an accident: 

  • • Record the date, time and location of the accident.
  • • Note the make, model and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident.
  • • Collect the personal details (name and ID number) and insurance details of all the drivers involved.
  • • Get the contact details of any witnesses at the scene too. This may help you in the future if there is ever a dispute.
  • • Report the accident to the police station in order to get a case number, which you’ll need for insurance purposes.
  • • Submit your accident report to your insurance company.

The assessment

After you’ve notified your insurer of the accident, they’ll send an assessor to look at the damages. They will calculate how much repairs will cost and assess what the car’s cash value is. In some cases it is viable to repair the car, and in others it is safer and more economical to write it off. If your car is written off, and it’s still under financing, you must let your financing company know. Technically, the car is still owned by the financier until your insurance company settles the claim and pays the outstanding financing amounts to them.

The payout 

Your payout from your insurance company will largely depend on:

  • • Your excess – the amount you pay first when you make a claim
  • • Financial standing – The amount you still owe if your car is being financed
  • • Depreciation – the decreasing value of your car based on wear and tear

If you disagree

If you believe your car can be repaired economically and that it shouldn’t be written off, you can either escalate the issue at your insurance company to find a resolution, or you can appeal to the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance.

MotorHappy has partnered with some of South Africa’s top insurerance companies to offer you car insurance. Various options are available but the most extensive option available is comprehensive car insurance, which covers you in the event of accidental damage, theft and hijacking. It also covers your car for damage caused by weather conditions such as storms and floods.

Comprehensive insurance also covers you if you are responsible for an accident and need to pay for the repair of damages to the other car.

For more information or to get a free online quote, click here 

Read more: 

Why car insurance should never be cut from your budget   


This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the information contained in this article.

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