Crashed financed car: next steps

Crashed financed car: next steps

Crashing your car is stressful enough, but it can feel even more complicated if the car is financed. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know what steps to take next. This guide will walk you through what to do if you crash a financed car.

Next steps following an accident in a financed car

Document the accident

Right after the crash, make sure everyone is safe. Then, gather as much information as possible:

  • Take photos of the damage.

  • Collect the names and registration details of all parties.

  • Write down any other important details about the accident scene.

Call your insurer

Let your insurance company know about the accident as soon as possible, even if you don't plan to make a claim. This is often required by your policy.

Keep making your payments

Even if your car is damaged, you still need to keep up with your loan payments. Missing a payment will impact your credit score.

Dealing with your insurance company

Call your insurer straightaway

If you’re at fault, your insurance may cover the damages. However, if your car is considered a total loss (written off), the insurance settlement might not cover the full amount of your loan. You might have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. Also, check your policy for any excess to be paid or other deductibles.

Understanding write-offs

A write-off happens when the cost to repair the car is more than the car’s value. There are different categories of write-offs:

  • Category A: The car is severely damaged and can’t be repaired. It’s only good for scrap.

  • Category B: The car is heavily damaged, but some parts can be salvaged.

  • Category S: The car has structural damage that costs more to fix than the car is worth. You can choose to repair it.

  • Category N: The car has non-structural damage and can be repaired to be roadworthy again, even though the insurer decided to write it off.

Did you know:

  • If you think the insurance settlement offer is too low, you can challenge it.

  • Depending on the write-off category, you might be able to buy your car back from the insurer but it will need to pass an MOT and you may find it more difficult to insure.

  • Accepting the insurer’s offer usually means your policy will be closed.

  • You can claim back road tax for the time your car isn't in use.

What is gap insurance?

Gap insurance covers the difference between your car’s value (what your insurer pays if it’s written off) and what you still owe on your loan. This can be very helpful if your car is worth less than your remaining loan balance.

Tips for getting a fair settlement from your insuer

Following these tips can help you get a better settlement:

  • Keep all documents: Save everything related to the accident, including the police report.

  • Track expenses: Keep a record of any costs related to the accident, like repair quotes or legal fees.

  • Stay in contact: Work closely with your insurer and keep all communications in writing.

  • Consider legal help: If necessary, get legal advice to help you with your claim

Contact your lender

Contact your lender

Depending on the extent of the damage you will need to let your lender know about the accident. If the car is a write off let your lender know and provide details of your insurer. They’ll tell you the next steps. Check your the terms and conditions some lenders might allow you to get a new car with the settlement and continue paying off your loan. You can find out what you need to do if you have finance through Oodle here.

Check your agreement

Your finance agreement usually requires you to maintain the car in good condition. Review your agreement to understand your responsibilities and any terms connected to crashing a financed car and damages beyond normal wear and tear.

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