How Does the ICBC Determine if a Car is a Write-Off?

Crashing a car is one of life’s most stressful events. Sudden, unexpected injuries, transportation issues that limit your ability to get back to work, and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle will compound the anxiety. If your vehicle was hit through little to no fault of your own, ICBC might provide money to help you cover some of these expenses.

Will they pay to have your vehicle repaired or determine that it was a write-off and give you the money? Many factors go into ICBC’s decision.

Are Wrecked Vehicles Better to Repair or Replace?

You may want to opt for repairs if you’re still making payments on your vehicle, or if affording a down-payment for a new one will be difficult for you. Often, the amount offered by the ICBC is less than you believe your vehicle is worth.

On the other hand, you may prefer a write-off because your vehicle will be worth substantially less after repairs. Also, the repairs are seldom perfect, so you might encounter mechanical issues or be forced to drive a cosmetically imperfect vehicle. 

What Determines Whether a Car Is Totaled?

The insurance company relies on the opinion of an estimator to determine whether to write-off or restore. First, the estimator will determine how much it costs to repair your vehicle. Next, the estimator determines how much the vehicle is worth in salvage value. If the cost of repairs is higher than the current market value of your vehicle, then it’s likely you will be offered a total loss cheque.

The age, mileage, parts value, and prior condition of your vehicle may also play a role in what your automobile is worth. They may look at whether you own the vehicle outright, are leasing it, or still have a financing agreement. If you own the car without any liens, you can get paid directly. If you are leasing, the leasing company receives the money. If you are paying a financier, the money will go toward your lien first, with the remainder paid to you.

The cost of repairs has gone up considerably over the years as vehicles become more technologically advanced, making it more likely your vehicle will be a total loss write-off. If you agree to the total loss, you will transfer ownership of your vehicle to ICBC, who will sell it for salvage. 

How Is Compensation Calculated for a Totaled Car?

ICBC estimators consider:

  • How much are similar makes and models selling for in your area?
  • Is there a high demand for this type of vehicle at used car dealerships?
  • Do the parts fetch a high salvage value at scrapyards?
  • What was the condition of the vehicle before the crash?
  • How much does Kelly Blue Book say your vehicle is worth?

Sometimes ICBC estimators make mistakes. They may not know you’ve made recent upgrades or had work done. They may not realize you paid for the luxury edition of that model, or that the vehicle was in “above average” condition before the accident. When the insurance company’s offer is lower than you would like, consulting with Vancouver ICBC lawyers to explore your full range of options is a good idea. After all, it costs you nothing upfront to work with an ICBC law firm.

Do You Have To Accept the First Offer?

You have a legal right to ask the insurance company specifically how they calculated their offer. The ICBC estimator will be relying upon a detailed Autosource Valuation Report produced by a third party. Request a copy of this document. You may conduct your own research on Auto Trader, Craigslist, Kelly Blue Book, and Kijiji. The right to dispute their valuation is yours. If you cannot agree, you will proceed to arbitration before taking ICBC to court. 

Why You Need a Lawyer If Your Car Has Been Totaled

ICBC is looking for the least expensive way to resolve a claim– even if it means shortchanging you. Knowledgeable, experienced Vancouver ICBC lawyers can help you navigate the settlement process confidently, knowing you’re getting fair compensation for your loss. At Preszler’s ICBC personal injury law firm, we have experience dealing with estimators and appraisers. Contact us by phone for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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