Sydney has had its worst summer in many year - possibly in living memory based on estimated vehicles damage and suburbs affected. For some, this is the first time they have made a hail damage claim. Suddenly, they face either long cues for vehicle repairs or worse still, face the loss of their second most important possession - their family car!
My insurance company has told me that the car has to be written off and I want to buy it back, what do I do?
First and foremost, check with the Department of Fair Trading and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on your rights and responsibilities in terms of vehicle ownership and re-purchasing the vehicle before your proceed in any decision. Don't feel pressured into a quick decision.
1) First consider why it was a right-off in the first place and how bad the damage was? Is it worth repairing - for example if hail had completely smashed the rear window and rain got into the vehicle and electricals let alone glass pieces in the vehicle? Usually under Australian state laws (check with the laws in your state), the owner can usually buy the vehicle back only and NOT on-sold to anyone else except in parts. It is our understanding that it can only be registered in the name of the owner of the vehicle when it was written off.
2) Find out how much it will "really" cost to repair the vehicle? Remember it was written off for a reason. We have been approached by such people who have been stung with an unworthy to repair vehicle - sorry we can't help you at this point with an unregistered vehicle bought back from auction!
3) Most important, to avoid the most important issue of all - DO NOT allow the vehicle to be passed off to the auctions as UNREGISTERED! You need to negotiate with the insurance company on price and to buy back from them a REGISTERED vehicle. If this is NOT possible and they keep insisting, then you may consider to walk away and take the money cash payout. The insurance companies are collecting the registration. Once it is passed on to the Auctions, you face, Auction fees and of course an "Unregistered" vehicle! This means it is NOT roadworthy UNTIL the car has been repaired and made road worthy. The problem is you cannot drive it to a place for a quote - trust me your car arriving on the back of a truck is not going to attract too many repairers (remember it was written off for a reason and this means not worth repairing).
Once in this stage, you are dealing with Auction fees, towing fees, the place where you vehicle was taken eg a mechanice or panel beating place (pressuring you to get the vehicle out of there as we need space) and the RMS insisting you need to have a LICENSED repairer quotation with GST and repair receipt once repaired! Unfortunately, most repairers put such a vehicle in the too hard basket because the quote to be worthwhile to the owner has to be lower than the buy back and payout combined.
Please note we stress this is simply our understanding and getting updated advice from the relevant authorities ie the Department of Fair Trading and the Roads and Maritime Services on the latest laws. This article is only meant to provide some assistance not dictate your final decision. We have seen people hurt and cannot help them once they buy back from auction and are stuck with a useless worthless vehicle.