Does my insurance cover me if my car is a write-off?
Have you recently been involved in a car incident? Are you wondering if your car is a write-off? With AAMI, this kind of experience doesn’t have to be stressful. Get to know the different ways insurers define a ‘written-off’ vehicle, next steps for having your car assessed for repairs, and whether your insurance covers you if you think your car is a write-off.
Is my car a write-off?
In some cases, it’s very clear that a car is a write-off – usually when it has to be towed from the scene of an incident following substantial damage. But the only way you’ll get confirmation is by making a claim with your insurer.
During the claims process, your insurer will have your car assessed. They might categorise your car as either a ‘repairable’ write-off or a ‘statutory’ write-off., but this depends on what state or territory you live within.
Repairable write off
As a repairable write-off, your car could technically be repaired, but the cost would be more than the value of your vehicle and/or what it’s insured for. Whether your car is declared a repairable write-off can depend on whether it’s been insured for 'market value' or 'amount covered'.
A car that’s declared a statutory write-off is damaged so heavily that it can never be driven safely. Regardless of any potential repairs, either cosmetic or mechanical – this car will never be on the road again. In this case, the insurer would pay you the amount the car was insured for, and enter the VIN and further details of the vehicle into the written-off vehicle register (WOVR) so that it can never be sold, used or registered again.
Note: the process isn’t the same across the country. In NSW, all written-off vehicles are initially categorised as statutory write-offs, unless they’re solely damaged by hail. So in NSW, once a car is classified as a statutory write-off, it will then be assessed whether it’s unsafe to repair or uneconomical to repair. Only a vehicle classified in this second group (uneconomical to repair) can be repaired (and only if authorisation is granted).
You might be covered if you’ve written-off your car
If you have AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance and your car is a write-off after an insured event, we’ll pay you the amount covered for your car, which you’ll find on your certificate of insurance. Depending on your policy, you might also be eligible for ‘New car after a total loss for cars less than 2 years old’. Check out your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement for more information.
To access payment for a written-off car, we’ll first need to assess your vehicle. This is one of the first things we do after you make a claim.
What is the claims process?
If your car is damaged in an incident, you can lodge your claim online or over the phone. You can add relevant documents, pay your excess, and track your claim and repairs all online.
So you've had an incident and you've decided to lodge a claim.
First off, we're sorry to hear about that. Car accidents are no fun.
The good news is that AAMI will manage the repair process through our trusted repair network.
The process is designed to make repairing or replacing your car as stress-free as possible.
AAMI also offer a lifetime guarantee on all authorised repairs and this stays with your car even if you choose to sell it.
Let's guide you through the AAMI assessment and repair process starting with how to make a claim, finding you options for repairs for cars that can be driven, what to do when your car can't be driven, how to track the repairs and how we can get you from point A to B during all of this.
Let's begin with lodging a claim. With AAMI, you can usually book a repair using the app or online.
You'll be navigated through this booking process.
Let's say you're using your home computer.
Head to the AAMI website, navigate to the claims page and click, make a claim.
Select what type of policy you want to make a claim on.
Click make a claim now. Fill out all the required fields. One of the biggest factors in how we repair your car is whether your car can be safely driven or not.
First, let's explore what happens if you can safely drive your car from the scene of the collision to a repairer.
Once you've lodged the claim, AAMI will locate a recommended repairer in your area. You'll be prompted to select a repair appointment.
At the time of the repair booking, you'll need to drive your car to the repair shop.
It's here that the mechanic will assess the damage and provide AAMI with a quote.
In some cases, AAMI can automatically approve the work to begin.
Your repairer can arrange your transport to your next destination, whether that's straight home, to work
This cost is covered under your AAMI comprehensive car insurance policy.
AAMI recommended repairs will keep you updated so you won't be left in the dark.
They'll let you know when your car is ready to be picked up and they will arrange your transport to the pickup.
What if your car can't be driven safely to a repairer?
Sounds like it's been a nasty accident.
That can be daunting.
But know that AAMI we'll do what we can to help you get back on the road.
AAMI will help find one of our recommended repairs in your area.
We cover the reasonable cost of towing your car from the scene of the incident to the nearest repairer.
If your car is in an unsecure or unsafe location, give us a call and we can arrange an urgent tow.
Once your car is at the repair shop, the repairer will review the damage and let you know the next steps.
They will keep you informed through the process, including when your car is ready to be picked up.
They can even arrange your transport to collect your car.
Assessors consider a variety of factors like how much it would cost to repair the damage and how extensive the damage is.
Based on what the assessor says, it's possible your car may be deemed a total loss, a write-off.
Either way, you'll be notified what the outcome is as soon as possible.
Then we'll either arrange for your car to be repaired or settle your claim as a total loss. Read the PDS to find out more.
Throughout the claims progress, AAMI will keep you notified via SMS and email with the contact details you have provided.
You can also track your claim online or using the AAMI app.
The car repair replacement process outlined in this video is general information only.
If you have questions or concerns about your car repair or level of cover, speak to one of our friendly team.
You can also use the AAMI app to claim.
Head to www.aami.com.au/app for more info.
Who pays for the damage if my car is a write-off?
It can depend on the details of the claim, such as the type of insurance you have and who was at fault. For example, if you have Comprehensive Car Insurance and you were at fault, you will need to pay your excess, but your insurance provider will cover the cost of your vehicle.
You may not need to pay your excess or any costs towards the repair or write off of your vehicle if another party was at fault and you’ve provided:
- the name and address of the driver at fault
- the registration number of the at-fault vehicle involved in the incident
How is the value of the car and my payout determined?
Depends! If your car was insured for an ‘amount covered’, on which you and your insurer agreed when you took out your policy, that’s how much you’ll be paid — minus any applicable expenses, such as an excess. If you insured your vehicle at a ‘market value’, the payout amount will depend on factors such as age, mileage, condition and more. Please refer to your policy's Product Disclosure Statement for definitions and more information.
What if I owe money on a written-off car?
If money is still owed on the vehicle through financing, the insurer is legally obligated to pay the remaining amount. However, if the amount paid out for the car is less than the amount owed, you’d have to pay the outstanding amount. If it’s more than the amount owed, you’ll receive the excess amount.
If you used a bank loan or parts of a loan to fund your car purchase, you’ll be paid out the value of the car and you could use the payout toward paying this debt off.
To ensure you’re covered in case your car is a write-off, check out AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance.
- Car insurance: what's the difference between market value and agreed value?
- What to do when you make a claim
- When do you pay excess on car insurance?
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.