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Insurance write offs ..who decides

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I managed to write off my Exige S before xmas and Christopher Neils (who I trust entirely) reported to me that the car was unrepairable without a new chassis and would cost over £20k to repair. The car was written off by Direct Line and I was paid out. Spool on two months and my car is sold on ebay for over £15k advertised as cat D easy repair with no chassis damage. I have subsequently been contacted by the new owner who is oblivious to the chassis damage and is requesting any paperwork I have to give the car some provenance. I have declined helping the new owner to protect any future unsuspecting owners but who is at fault here? Ive emailed the ebay seller telling him of the real condition of the vehicle and am still waiting a reply. I wonder what level of communication occurs between insurers, salvage conpanies and their customers. Should I take any further action and if so with whom? If anyone here is considering purchasing a Polar Blue Exige S AU06KUN with no documentation then please get a full RAC check and look at the back left chassis area or better still walk away.


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Depends who was right.

Chris Neil should know a write off when they see it and if they quoted Direct Line more than 60% of the car's market value they would have written it off.

The insurer should have taken the specialists word as an expert in these vehicles and repair.

D is the least painful - usually cosmetic damage, un-economic repair

C is borderline 'end of'

B is chassis / critical damage and should not be returned to the road, repairs are inspected before being certified roadworthy iirc

A is fire or total destructions and is scrapped into tiny bits.

^^ That is ball park, I'm sure 1001 people will come in and tell the exact details with a fine microscope.

Chassis damage, some cars can have parts of shells/chassis re-welded onto the vehicle and I know Lotus designed the Elise with replacable crash sections of the chassis for that manner alone. As I say the vehicle then needs to be checked and passed as roadworthy - I think the category goes to C after that.

When the insurer pays out the car becomes theirs to do what they want, they flog it on, usually at auction to be squared away for parts or sold for repair and it's just like any other item for sale, buyer beware ! The crunch comes, and I think it is the insurers legal obligation to 'label' the car with a category (might be the DVLA as well) - then it has this mark on it for the rest of its life. In this case the car has been given a D category, who gave it what I do not know but on the advice of a recognised dealer like Chris Neils they should have given it a C at best. Again you dont know if the part of the chassis can be repaired.

One other thing, garages that DONT want to take on repair jobs often sex up the repair cost.

Personally I wouldn't lose sleep over it - if someone's silly enough to buy a bent car or have a Category flag up and not dig into it propperly then they ultimatly get what they deserve.

If it has a lower category then it might be a good reason for it.

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Phil, there's not much you can do. It seems strange there is chassis damage then there is no chassis damage, perhaps the chassis damage is hard to detect it's warping rather than crumple damage), perhaps it's minor and for a good repairer doing an insurance job it would need chassis replacement, but would be structurally sound if not changed. there is of course another option, it's not the same chassis, it's another car that's had an identity crisis after being parted from its original owner.

I think you've done the right thing about not sending on any paperwork, as it would make easier to hide its history with it.

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Something similiar happened to me when I rwote off my Esprit - I saw it on ebay not long after I received the payout for it, advertised as having "minor bodywork damage" and ended up selling for £2000. I mailed the salvage place that was selling it and asked if they realised that the chasis was bent (you could see it was bent if you knew where to look) and got no reply. The new owner contacted me to ask for any serivice documents I had, I told him about the chassis issue and he sold it on to some poor guy who got it for his dad's retirement present!!! I hope there wasn't anything wrong with the chassis, when I drove it before handing over the logbook etc, it was seriously dangerous!! There are definitely some unscrupulous bastards out there, that's for sure!!!

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Douglas Valley advertised Hedgerley's Esprit which had been written off with a bent chassis with a 4 line advert which specifically said that the chassis was fine. I emailed them to ask them to correct the advert before someone killed themselves and the MD replied calling me a w****er and questioning the size of my, well, you know! Needless to say I've not had good things to say about them since.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest surferphil

If it's a category A or B it can't go on the road should not have a V5:

'A' car destroyed (death in the car, drug mule etc)

'B' can be broken for parts with chassis destroyed

If it is a cat C or D it has a V5, it can go back on the road as it can be repaired.

The V5 is not marked with a category write off letter.

Pretty sure I won't be buying any parts off Douglas Valley after that revelation! What a bunch of Pikeys! They also have pseudonyms they trade under.

Edited by surferphil
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Guys guys guys !

if you see some of the cars (esprits) that people buy on here , they look ten times more dangerous than most benders , however . once they get stuck in look how great the cars come out........

just because your insurance wrote it off , does not mean it should not be on the road !

Phil , all the guy did was buy a car that he is hoping to restore , which he could probably do as well as a big shop without the overhead.

Dont treat him with intent , he did nothing wrong.Or are you actually jealous that someone bought your "old "car !

If the categories work that way , they work that way for a reason.........

phone the poor bugger back and let him have the history of the car - he has done you no harm and if he wants to sell it , for goodness sake , if he sold it with the history - you might just get a call and if you really wanted to , stop everyone from buying it !

throw a dog a friggin bone mate !


Technically sound ...Theoretically poked !

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You have totally missed the point that is being made Richard. Its contempt as well dude not intent.

Caught between a rock and a hard place in a catch 22 situation, So its 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Your damned if you do, but your damned if you don't so shut your cock!!!!!!!!!!!

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There are currently no factory approved methods of repairing sections of the Elise/Exige chassis. It has deformable cans at the rear (along with a demountable engine cradle) and a sacrificial bonded crash section at the front. If any part of the aluminium tub is damaged (usually suspension mounting points) then the whole part is deemed scrap and the only solution is replacement.

A caveat to this is that at least two specialist Elise repairers are pioneering localised repairs to minor damage in the suspension area, with good results. They both have a huge amount of experience with the Elise tub and don't cut corners with safety. One of these guys posts on here and I'll leave it up to him to add his informed comments at his leisure.

To the layman, any repair to the tub should be viewed with extreme caution.

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Sorry if i misunderstand - when you say intent , in what context do you mean ?

Remember that the critical area is that the vehicle is a Cat D .If the necessary authorities chose this category then who is wrong ?

I had a BMW Touring which was knocked on the Lhs in a parking lot .The car was valued at in your terms 25k - The damage was estimated at BMW repair shop at 16,8k and the vehicle was written off .I can assure you that the real estimate ( as i am in the industry ) was in the region of 3,5 k with brand new parts.

To be quite frank , when i was phoned by the party who purchased the vehicle , requesting the spare keys , I had the same attitude as Phil and treated the fella with little or no trust.

the real issue here was not that a write off was on the road , but more specifically the unnecessary write off of the vehicle.This is where the rip-off is coming from as the dealerships ( manufacturers') take everyone to the cleaners .It is a worldwide concern from the insurance companies point of view and unfortunately the only people that win in such a situation are the sellers of the "scrap "

Havin said this , if the guy contacted me for the keys again , I might just have a better attitude towards him.


Technically sound ...Theoretically poked !

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  • 4 years later...

I'm actually happy I've found your post on here Mr leech as I was the so called disillusioned individual that actually bought au06kun about 5-6 years ago and feel compelled to clear a few matters -


Firstly the chassis damage that you refer to was a non penetrated line in the nearside chassis main rail and is probably less than a lot of "straight "cars on the road


Secondly I would say the reason the insurance company decided to total loss the car and cat d it was die to a cut rear loom which actually brought on the mil light (£2 fix), id say this put the repair over the edge


Thirdly I'm guessing you reluctance to actually send me the service book was because you actually felt aggrieved that I was going to make a quick buck out of the car -wrong there as I've driven it since I bought it from the ebay vendor and its never let me down -I had it set up with nitrous by Steve in Daventry and guess what it was a straight as a die


Finally I've just sold au06kun as I need the money to fund another buy to let venture otherwise id have kept her ! Id advise you to spend more of your time and efforts in actually learning how to drive these fantastic little cars without rear ending them into central reservations (god knows how you would get on with an early s1) than writing such rubbish as you have on here !

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  • 3 weeks later...

You're probably tight Barry however the overall message here is if you can't drive buy a Volvo ! simples !


One thing writing a car off and getting an insurance pay off -but to then go on a public forum spurting rubbish about a dangerous car and posting the reg number -self important lame individual if I'm honest it didn't matter would have been nice to have the spare key fob and service book and would have been no skin off of leaches nose !

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