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9. How is a write-off determined?

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How do insurance companies determine if my car is a write-off? Can you negotiate a better settlement with them?

Most insurance firms work on the principle that once the repair costs exceed roughly 60% of the car's value, it is not worth repairing. However, some go as low as 50% for a write-off value.

Your insurance company should be able to tell you the exact figure they use.

Most insurance companies will be prepared to negotiate on their first offer, so don't accept it straight away. When negotiating the value of a write-off, it is important to do your homework.

Find out the value of a replacement car by looking at similar cars for sale privately. Also talk to dealers and look at price guides. You can then negotiate with the insurance company about a realistic value.

If you reach a total impasse with the insurer over the value of the car, and you have found that they are offering an unrealistic replacement value, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (0845 080 1800).