Insurance and write offs, what are your rights?

Submitted: Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 11:45
ThreadID: 14117 Views:17586 Replies:15 FollowUps:8
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Hey all, due to a few posts, and an uneasy feeling I've been thinking about changing my CT insurance, rang NMRA this morning and was told it would be under RACV insurance, which usualy would be fine. But also this morning one of my neighbours rang me to let me know about an accident her hubby had had last week, and why his truck was missing from view.

Seems last week on his way to work a P plater made an illegal turn in front of him and he cleaned him up, bad enough that he wrote his 4wd off, and injured his back to the point he needed the ambos. P plater was unscathed.

His mates driving past realised it was him and waited with him, and also removed as much of his stuff from the wreck as they could at the time. The towies took his 4wd to a panel shop of their choosing, and when he rang the panel shop that night to see how things were looking, he was told it's a write off, and would be sold at auction tomorow.

He still had personal things in the glove box etc, so had to get out of bed and get to the panel shop to get his stuff back. His wife meanwhile called RACV who they were insured with rating 1, who agreed that the panel shop couldn't do that...sell it the next day, but also informed her that they'd get approx $8000 of a 4wd that would cost him $14000 to replace. I don't know if they had it under insured orwhat the reasoning for that is, the wife was a little too upset for me to ask.

Anyway, his son met him at the shop and they got his belongings out of the wrecked 4wd. But he was hoping to maybe take a few of the accessories off it to put on a new vehicle, like the snorkel, or even the brand new tyres he'd just put on, but was told he couldn't touch any of it.

I'm fairly sure they just buggered up with their policy and not naming the accessories they installed, but i'd like to hear what other prople might have to say, especialy about the towies being able to take it to their own preffered panel shop, and then that shop selling the car the next day.
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Reply By: Davoe - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:02

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:02
definitly sounds fishy. I think the accessorys are a grey area which you need confirmed in writing. I have had the misfortune of totalling a vehicle and there wasd no way it could have been sold the next day.For starters you have to actually make a claim, then the insurance assesor has to have a look at the vehicle to decide whether to write it off and what it is (was) worth this is not up to the panel shop. While waiting for the tow truck I busied my self removing the stereo, speakers and jacked it up to put the crap spare on and removed the wheel which had a brand new tyre
AnswerID: 65022

Follow Up By: Member- Peter & Mrs Peter, Lez - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 21:19

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 21:19
Check the fine print, if the accesories are not itemised on your policy they belong to the insurance company in the event of a write off.
FollowupID: 326104

Reply By: Member - Alan- Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:04

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:04
Exactly the same thing happened to my daughters car some years ago and it was written off due to her then boyfriends stupidity.
It was towed away, declared a write off and I wasn't able to remove the new stereo I'd put in a week before!
As far as the insurers were concerned it was their property and we should have increased the sum insured to cover it.
No discussions/arguements would be entered into!

I've just written to my insurers to make sure mine including accessories are fully covered just in case.
AnswerID: 65023

Reply By: Savvas - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:15

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:15
Sounds like he may have had it insured at "market" value rather than an "agreed" value policy.

With market value policies, the insurer determines what the market value is at the time of the write off. Usually, it doesn't reflect the market at all. My wife works at NRMA and from her point of view she would only ever insure her own vehicle at agreed value.

Also, the insurers are moving more and more towards only insuring the vehicle and not the aftermarket extras. The reasoning for this is those little rice burning "doof, doof, bling, bling" cars you see about these days. These kids often buy for example a $2000 Pulsar or Civic and fit $4000 worth of alloy rims and say a $5000 stereo. They then say it's mum's car to minimise premium and argue it's worth $11000. More often than not, it will be stolen and the good gear stripped. So the insurer is stuck with an $11000 bill and a scrap heap worth nothing.

The insurer's are no longer accepting this, so the blanket way to get out of it is to say extras aren't covered. Therefore no one can plead discrimination.

Unfortunately, the downstream affect is that 4WD owners are hit by this blanket policy on extras.
AnswerID: 65026

Follow Up By: Savvas - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:21

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:21
BTW, the towie's only obligation is to you.

They will have a preferred shop, but you are not obliged to use it. The towie is obliged to take the vehicle to a shop of your choosing OR the insurer's choosing.

If they don't want to do it. They simply don't get the job.

So don't fall for their standover tactics if you want the vehicle to go to a specific repairer.
FollowupID: 326014

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 13:10

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 13:10
yea we went thru this crap with wifes car with towie.. what a true POS this scum was.. he was pi$$ed when we said to take it to OUR place..

He then said its klm rate + fee + this + that, I called RACV who had arranged it, and told them of this.. The cops turned up and asked him if it was true what he had said, he abused us for reporting his scum attitude and rort, and abused the cops, and was taken away!

The scum Towie has to take your car where YOU want to.
FollowupID: 326021

Reply By: Member - Landie - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:18

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:18
It really comes down to ownership. It is unlikely that the insurance company would have written it off that day, and given the insurer would be the owner even if they did, the tow company would have no say in the matter.

As for insurance values - I believe if you are going to insuring a vehicle, then insure it for what it is worth. Otherwise, if it is under insured (on an agreed valuation basis), the insurer may total the vehicle versus having it fixed, because it is a cheaper option. This may not be in the best interest of the policy holder.

AnswerID: 65027

Reply By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:23

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:23
Hi Gajm,

I asked my insurance company on this issue, particularly on the accessories. If you notify them of accessories and include them on your policy then they become part of the insured property and are included in the agreed or market value. The insureres may ask you for extra premium to cover these. In the event of a write off the insurers then assess the loss and pay you the agreed or market value (depending on ploicy type) and they then own the salvage (what is left). If you remove any of the listed accesories prior to getting that payout then you are stealing it. The assesor may also spot this and reduce the value of the payout accordingly.

If you have accessories on the vehicle that are NOT noted on the policy then effectively you are accepting the risk for these items being stolen/damaged and you are quite entitled to salvage them after an accident or if the vehicle is recovered from a theft. In this case the insurer would be stealing from you as they have no interest or rights to those accessories and have not charged you premium for them

It is that simple.

As to the panel shop selling the vehicle at auction the next day that is just baloney! If the vehicle is insured then the insurers process of assesment must be followed. Perhaps the vehicle was only going to be removed to the insurers yard if it was obviously going to be a right off. Most insurers will allow YOU to nominate a repairer to have a vehicle towed to after a prang. The towies have no say but sometimes practicality dictates that they will take it to their own preferred yard as you may not be in a position to organise effectively. Part of service that you pay the insurers for is to look after your mutual interests and often the insurer will have the vehicle moved to one of their own preferred repairers.

I am no expert in insurance but I like to know where I stand!

AnswerID: 65029

Follow Up By: Member - Landie - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 13:04

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 13:04
Well put - that is it in a nutshell!
FollowupID: 326020

Reply By: Utemad - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:28

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:28
Well I know my NRMA insured Rodeo is covered. Accessories and all. I have everything listed on the policy. Only thing is though that they are devalued along with the rest of the vehicle (as you would expect-they have been used after all). Better than nothing though.

A friend of mine however wrote her car off and was told that she could not remove her 'uninsured' cd player and put the 'insured' tape player back in. I find this criminal. My thinking is that if a part on your car is not on the insurance policy then you should be able to remove it and replace it with what is on the policy.

Although as in the case of the original post, I would be demanding that an assessor comes with me to see the vehicle and to have another quote done at the repairer of my choice. Regardless of where the tow truck driver takes the vehicle, it is still your vehicle until you make a claim and it is approved by the insurer and then written-off. Even then it should still be your vehicle until a cash settlement has been made between you and your insurance company.

AnswerID: 65030

Reply By: Member - Ivan (ACT) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:50

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:50
Agree with insuring all the after market stuff..

I just went through a change to AAMI (CGU would only let me up the suspension 1"). The car at market value ($39,500) was $708. With $10,000 accessories, the premium jumped to $716. These depreciate, but the other option was to insure at agreed value - $45,000 was worth $950 a year with NRMA

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AnswerID: 65039

Reply By: Michael - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:51

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 12:51
I had a similar experience years ago. If you have heaps of accessories and you think its going to be a write -off, have it towed to your own place if close by or a friends place. If not a write off once you insurer sees it, then pay the tow fee yourself to get it to the panel beater of your or your insurers choice..
AnswerID: 65040

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 13:07

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 13:07
Whatever accessories are covered on your policy, is owned by the insurance company if your car is written off..

Anything his mates removed, the insurance company can legally ask for everything back..

What you want to insure it for value of car + accessories, then get paid out for car + accessories value AND keep them too?
AnswerID: 65044

Follow Up By: Gajm (VIC) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 19:40

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 19:40
Sorry truckster I wasn't very clear on what his mates removed from the vehicle, they didn't take any parts of the car, just his tools and personal stuff
FollowupID: 326071

Reply By: Rob! - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 14:19

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 14:19
A number of years ago I got my car stolen by some guys from melbourne going on a trip to up north. When they ran out of fuel past Gympie, they dumped the car and set it alight only to steal another one and keep going. They were finally caught in that car with a lot of my stuff still with them.

Anyway, I was insured with RACQ at the time and in my policy I had the option of buying the wreck back after a write off. Needless to say, there wasn't much to salvage, however in many circumstances, it may be a good idea if you have a lot of accesories that would cost heaps to replace.

AnswerID: 65054

Reply By: REX.....(Adelaide) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 16:48

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 16:48
aami ..has my 4x4 insured for the 4x4 +accesories each item has a value if i want it back it comes of the final price
AnswerID: 65072

Reply By: Michael_FNQ - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 18:16

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 18:16
It is not that expensive to insure your accessories, my policies for a GU Ute and 100 Series both include $10,000 replacement value of accessories in the event of total loss. There was no requirement to specify or identify the accessories, if the vehicle goes then market value plus $10,000.00. Still worked out to a very resonable policy.
AnswerID: 65095

Reply By: Gajm (VIC) - Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 19:47

Friday, Jun 25, 2004 at 19:47
Thanks for all the info everyone, I'm going to have another look at my own policy now and make sure everything is covered. Nice to have a bit more info in hand too, especialy with the towies, some can be crafty bastards, I once had a mbike accident and a towie said to me "mate, can I drop your bike off somewhere for you?", he made it sound like a favour, and when you have only just picked yourself off the road you aren't too quick in the thinking dept. I was about to say yeah then suddenly twigged, and asked how much that would cost me, "bout $150" was the answer, for less than a 5 min drive, so you have to be carefull.
AnswerID: 65107

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Saturday, Jun 26, 2004 at 00:06

Saturday, Jun 26, 2004 at 00:06
I have every single item listed including standard fittings such as a/c. It would be my belief that if you only had the vehicle insured and the insurance company wouldnt pay you for your acces. then that means they still belong to you? They would only get the vehicle.
AnswerID: 65171

Reply By: motherhen - Saturday, Jun 26, 2004 at 22:26

Saturday, Jun 26, 2004 at 22:26
I know someone who tells the tale he refused to let the Insurers take the write off -said i've been paying my premium to you to pay me for the damage if i have an accident. I also pay my premiums for life insurance. If i die, does the insurance company get my body? He said it worked.

My son has written off a couple of HI-luxes or so - each time he has an accident, he gets it towed home first, so he can get all his after market stuff off. Second time he "bought back" the wreck anyway so he could keep his recently fitted motor. You can do this if you match the highest price the insurer can get.
AnswerID: 65269

Follow Up By: Mick - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:11

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 20:11
Since you make your son's accidents sounds quite commonplace, I think you should put him through a 4wd training course and an advanced driving course. Competent drivers just don't keep having crashes (they're not accidents by the way because they are avoidable). Twist his arm and even offer to pay for him because it's important that he learns to drive properly.
FollowupID: 326494

Follow Up By: motherhen - Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 23:23

Monday, Jun 28, 2004 at 23:23
Hi Mick - they were way back when he was a teenager - he's a big boy now. I hear from him every couple of months. Last time i rang he had broken ribs from skylarking with a couple of big kiwi work mates (nothing to do with 2 or 4 wheels). Prior to that, after some rare rain up North - he had to get a backhoe to get the Patrol out of the bog - and it has tyres like a tractor on it! Last year the broken ribs were from motor bike racing - the bike was OK tho' so that was all that mattered (to him anyway). Hasn't had a car accident (that i know of) for around 10 years - and he does some pretty extreme 4wd-ing with some mighty modified vehicles. His Hilux has a 5 litre v8 Chevy US motor in it - has been featured in Australian 4wd mag. I'm still waiting for him to grow up - not just be a super-sized overgrown teenager - or do boys never give up on toys with wheels?
FollowupID: 326532

Follow Up By: Mick - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:18

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:18
Sorry if I misunderstood you Motherhen. You said "each time he has an accident" which suggested that it was a regular occurrence. However 10 years accident free paints a very different picture. I see that you're very proud of your son and that's good. Believe he's not typical as many boys do grow up. Blokes like him are referred to as "petrol heads" and sadly often give four wheel driving a bad name by using tyres like a tractor and wrecking tracks. Your obvious pride in his behaviour and subsequent boasting as in your post, has no doubt encouraged him for many years. Try praising him when he behaves more in keeping with his age - that might steer him in the right direction. Cheers.
FollowupID: 326636

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