Buying a new car typically isn’t cheap, which is why so many Australians turn to used vehicles for their next car purchase. A used car often means a much lower price without sacrificing much on quality. Used cars can come in conditions that range from “ like-new” to “repairable write-off”,  meaning there’s a lot of choices for consumers in the market for a new vehicle.

In your used car search you may come across vehicles that are labelled as ‘repairable write-off.’ Repairable write-off, sometimes also known as “economic write-off”. It is determined by the insurance companies who assess that, when the vehicle’s salvage value is added to its repair cost, the market value of the car is exceeded. These definitions can very between some states in Australia. In NSW, a Repairable Write-off must have no non-repairable damage.

While there are many things that can qualify a car as a ‘repairable write-off,’ it is most commonly titled as such when an event causes the cost of repairing a vehicle to be more than its value. While these vehicles are often priced far lower than their non-repairable write-off  companions, are they worth it? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Repairable Write-off Car?

As we mentioned, there are a few scenarios that can deem a vehicle as a repairable write-off. This doesn’t automatically mean that the car has been damaged in a severe accident. Insurance companies can deem a vehicle an economic write-off when it has had severe hail damage after a storm or severe scratches and dents from a car being vandalised or stolen. In addition, flood, fire and collision damage that is so severe that the cost of repairs is more than the value of the car are all common ways that a vehicle is deemed a repairable write-off.

There are two types of write-offs: Statutory Write-off  and Repairable Write-offs.

A statutory write-off means the vehicle is a total loss and irrepairable.  Only the undamaged parts can be used to repair another car. The vehicles registration is cancelled, it cannot be re-registered and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) cannot be reused. It can only be offered for sale or at auction for parts only. Regulations for Statutory Write-offs apply right across Australia.

A Repairable Write-off is registered with WOVR and its registration is cancelled. These vehicles are allowed to be sold through damaged-vehicle auctions or repaired by the owner.

The standard of repairs required vary for different states. In Victoria, there are stringent standards, which include repairing with genuine manufacturers parts and standards and getting a Certificate of Compliance by a licensed repairer. Then it must be taken to VicRoads to pass a Vehicle Identity Validation (VIV)  inspection before it can be registered and sold. A permanent record that it is a repairable write-off is noted on the registration. A PPSR report can be obtained at a small cost through VicRoads before purchasing a car that will indicate whether a car has been previously stolen, there is any outstanding finance on the car or if the vehicle is a repairable write-off.

You should always be extremely careful when purchasing these vehicles, especially if you plan on using them as your primary mode of transportation. These cars often make inexpensive projects, but even though they may have a Certificate of Compliance issued by a licenced repairer, the quality of the repair may still vary between repairers Not all repairers are the same.

However, there are times when purchasing an repairable write-off can be a smart move, even when there is damage involved.These vehicles can have little to no damage and are sold at far below market value.

Older cars have lower values, meaning minor damage can often cost more than the total value of the car. This is another great way to get an inexpensive vehicle without damage that would impact the safety and reliability of the vehicle.

Pros of a Repairable Write-off

Buying a repairable write-off may be right for some, but certainly isn’t the best choice for everyone. Some pros of purchasing a salvage include the following.

  • Low prices
  • Potential to find a reliable vehicle
  • Excellent option for a project
  • Avoid finance interest charges

Repairable Write-off  vehicles are most commonly sold at auction, meaning you don’t have to shop around and negotiate with salesmen.

Cons of a Repairable Write-off

We always caution consumers when they are considering purchasing a repairable write-off vehicle. Most repairable write-offs cars are damaged beyond reasonable simple repair and are not a good investment as a primary vehicle. Some cons of purchasing a salvage include the following.

  • Damages cost more than the vehicle’s value
  • Often unable to test the vehicle before auction
  • You may now know what you’re getting into
  • High chance of financial loss
  • May be ultimately more difficult to sell as buyers perceive may be a poor quality repair
  • Little to no resale value as buyers do not understand standards required for repair
  • Safety concerns.

As you can see, there are quite a few cons to purchasing a repairable write-off vehicle that you should consider before making the purchase. While these cars are ideal for restoration projects and a cheaper way of getting an equivalent aged vehicle, they need to be purchased understanding that when it comes time to put them back on the market they maybe more difficult to sell.

My Next Car Buying Advocacy

At My Next  Car Buying Advocacy, we work to get our clients the best deals possible on new and used vehicles. We ensure a hassle-free experience and take the stress out of purchasing a vehicle. No matter where you are in the car buying process, the team at My Next Car Buying Advocacy can help.

When we are considering a used vehicle for a client, we do not consider vehicles that are “repairable write-offs” the risks are not worth the cheaper price. The old adage, if the price looks too good to be true then its is usually an “repairable write-off. While the price may seem tempting, they are often sold “as-is,” meaning you have no idea what’s actually wrong with the vehicle.

Combined with our knowledge and research and understanding of our clients car needs, we will find and buy the Right Car at the Right Price that will suit your budget.

“Right Car” means buying a car that reflects your individual or families current and future needs. Its features match your prioritised needs in relation to lifestyle, safety, carrying capacity, running cost and options within your budget.

“Right Price” doesn’t mean the cheapest price. The cheapest cars usually have travelled very high kilometres, have little or no service history and are often in overall poor condition or can even be economic write-offs. The Right Price means buying and negotiating the best price for the safest quality car within your budget that has full service history, travelled low kilometres for its age, is accident free, is in excellent condition, has a Road Worthy Certificate and has passed a PPSR Check.

Set up your consultation with our experts today and let us handle your next purchase experience.

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