Elaine Hardy PhD has published a report into vehicle insurance write-offs.

Sometimes vehicles which have been badly damaged and declared as a “write-off” by an insurance company are sold to buyers without a declaration of the extent or even the existence of past damage. Not only may this affect the value of the vehicle, but the vehicle could be unsafe to drive.

When insurance write-off vehicles are salvaged, they are allocated to specific Categories. Category D(N) indicates less damage than Category C(S). Vehicles recorded as Category A or B are beyond repair and must never be returned to the road.

Elaine says, “In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the resale of Category C (S) and D (N) vehicles is not controlled because there is no mechanism to determine whether these recycled vehicles are repaired to a degree such that they are secure and safe to drive. The concern is that these vehicles may be involved in road traffic collisions and as consequence cause injury or death to the vehicle occupant/s and/or possibly other road users.”

Prior to the study ‘Bridging the Gap’, the quantity of the circulation of these vehicles was an unknown throughout the British Isles (the island of Ireland and Great Britain). Elaine believes there was a huge knowledge gap between what is suspected and what the real effects of these insurance write-offs are on our roads.

Elaine hoped to gain evidence via an survey online but despite promotion the response was poor. Elaine believes the poor response appears to be because potential respondents were unwilling to provide information which may have been due to the owners’ concerns of losing their insurance cover, or the refusal of insurers to pay out in case of an accident.

Elaine accessed data provided from official sources, other government agencies and find further information through journalists, police as well as the monitoring of vehicle auction sites, and believes the information made available gives reason to be concerned about the sale of unsafe vehicles which end up on public roads.

The main recommendation of the study is the regulation and control of the write-off category C(S) by amalgamating it with category B to be broken up for parts. Elaine says, “It is a solution that would benefit the insurance industry as the parts of these C(S) category vehicles can continue to be sold. Any loss could be offset by the potential return of green parts sales, but the most important factor is that by doing so, it would make our roads safer”.

You can read Elaine’s report here.

Categories: Research News