When Insurance Writes Off Your Car What Is Your Next Move

By: Cliff Ritter on August 19, 2012

This summer has seen plenty more of its fair share of violent thunderstorms with powerful lightning, walls of water, and even large pelts of hail. Much of this weather has been credited with the destruction of trees, power lines, houses, and cars across the country and insurance companies are not happy with the rising claims.

In one case out of Ottawa’s east end the weather has lead to one woman fighting just to keep her car after insurance wrote off the damage. Sharon Prionas purchased a 2008 Mazda 3 GS two years ago and has only put 85000 km in mileage on the car.

She has a warranty that is still good for another year and most importantly she had chosen to put the optional comprehensive coverage on her car because under Ontario’s insurance policy, the comprehensive package covers many damages including hail. She therefore believed that after July’s violent storms that left hail dents on her car, the repairs would mean a few weeks in a shop and a few insurance papers to fill out. Instead the insurance company offered her a write-off value of around $10000 after repair estimates came in at around $7000.

The decision was apparently made because the car’s damage came in at 70 percent of its value; therefore, it was declared a total loss. As a result Sharon has been left in a lose-lose situation because keeping the car would cost her half its value in a payout while costing her all future collision and comprehensive coverage, and trading it in or selling it would make it worth less as well.

According to Pete Karageorgos this is standard procedure as the insurance companies will base their decision on what is economically best for them by calculating the value of the car minus the damages; whether it is still operational and able to be driven is apparently irrelevant. Sharon is now weighing her options on what is best to do because while she initially wanted to keep the car even with the dented damage, the insurance companies are making it completely valueless for her to do.

However if she does choose to keep it she will be required to pay for any damages from a crash or vandalism due to her losing her insurance coverage on a written off car. She is also unhappy with the way her file has been handled as she claims she was told a different story of how things would move forward every day.