Krizano

Is my Rav4 worth saving?

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My Rav4 which I cherished has been struck by a Royal Mail van driver. The drive shaft on the driver's side is apparently broken, but I don't know if the chassis is bent. Outside of the driver's side panel and quarter panel (and wing mirror), the car is fine. Should I scrap it or try to fix it? I'd really love some help!

Krizano

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Moved to the Rav4 club.

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It,s a question that can’t be answered without a detailed assessment of the damage - is there a reason why your insurance company isn’t handling this on your behalf? Who’s fault was the collision and do you have fully comprehensive insurance? The Royal Mail may try to claim against you. If you’re on third party insurance you’d need to get the damage repair assessed before deciding the path forward. Depending on fault you could claim against Royal Mail for your losses.

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Hi, I appreciate the reply. My insurance company seems not to be interested but I will call them again. The Royal Mail's insurers have accepted liability as the driver left a note and I have witnesses (although I wasn't home at the time, neighbours came forward). Why would the Royal Mail claim against me? My car was legally parked. The Royal Mail insurance assessor didn't even get into the car, he just looked at it. I don't know what to do. They're offering me not enough to replace the car and I have no idea how much repairs would be as the assessment is rubbish IMHO.

 

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It is understandable that your insurers are backing away.  You're not claiming on your policy, and the Royal Mail are not claiming against you, so they really are not involved.  

Insurers will often try it on, offering as little as they think they can get away with.  You should write to them (keeping a copy), rejecting the offer as inadequate, and telling them that if they do not improve it to a realistic amount, based on a thorough assessment (tell them why the assessment they have was not thorough), you will have a thorough assessment done, and then take legal steps to recover the full cost of repairs, including the cost of that assessment.  That should make them sit up and "smell the coffee".

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God, I want to cry for that answer! Thank you! That's what I've been trying to do but it's dragging on and on. Can they say, "Take it or leave it?"  Ive asked for a piddly £3000. But I do love this car. Can I ask for another assessment from Royal Mail's insurers? Problem is, I don't have legal cover on my own insurance. (Kicking self, NEXT TIME.)

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I still love this car. Spent £1000 getting him back into shape.

 

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I doubt whether the assessor would need to do a thorough assessment of the car - the visible damage to the door, bumper, and front wing, would probably make repair costs uneconomic when bodyshop costs are also included (ie. more than 50% of the market value of the car).

The settlement figure you've been offered should be somewhere between book value and retail value - and this is around the figure you should be aiming to get

Your best bet would be to get copies of adverts for sale of similar age, and spec Rav4's, and approach the insurer with this information to support your case for increasing the offer. 

I also think £3,000 may be more than the market value, - have you tried getting valuations of the car before it was damaged from say Auto Trader, We Buy Any Car, or Honest John. That will give a more realistic idea of what the car is worth, and what figure you should be aiming for. This could also be used to support your case.

Also just be aware that Royal Mail may not cover their vehicles as regards insurance - large government departments, police forces and some large companies self insure. For example they don't take out insurance on vehicles, just employ insurance management companies to handle 'claims', and pay for repairs, etc directly.

I worked for DWP on procurement - their official vehicles are neither insured nor taxed, and buildings aren't insured either. Treasury handles claims via a claims management organisation.

 

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Thanks for that reply. Yes I have sent them three examples of Rav4 replacements. My car was in immaculate condition. New tyres, recently serviced, full service history, new brakes, etc. I intended to KEEP this car. I understand finding out the repair costs would be prohibitive but I'm tempted. Thing is, I need a car by end of October, latest. I don't see why I should be out of pocket if they've accepted liability (which they keep saying that they have). Should I go to Citizen's Advice and ask them what to do?

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Sentimentality doesn't count for much in cases like this. Since the Post Office has accepted that their driver is at fault you should receive a payout equivalent to the lower of the cost of a professional repair or the replacement cost of the car. Looking at the number of damaged panels and the age of your RAV is is going to be touch and go which is the more economic route for the insurer.

If you had your insurers dealing with this for you they should have their assessor and repair centre determine the cost to repair. If you want to handle it all yourself you will need to arrange to get a fully cost to repair to support your claim.

You should at least get a valuation of your car (in good condition) - what is the market value for your RAV (cost to buy from a dealer)?

And what are they currently offering?

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In my humble opinion, the Royal Mail are responsible for the full costs of repair, or the cost of REPLACING the vehicle, whichever is less.  If they say "take it or leave it", your recourse is the courts.  It is always a good idea to ask the CAB.  Take all the correspondence with you.

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Thank you both. If I had legal cover, I would be leaving this with my insurers. So I will deal with what I have rather than regret what I don't have (and feel like a fool but a lesson learned). The amounts are so small, I realise, and I'm not sentimentally attached to the little beast although I have loved and looked after it for 12 years. It's perfect for what I need and I cannot think of another Toyota that sits that high and yet takes up less room than the 5door, which are more plentiful.

I really appreciate your advice and support. It's been dragging on a week and I want to get it sorted.

In your opinion, should I just get the lowest mileage petrol RAV4 I can find? I really don't want or need 5 doors as I have no children, dogs or stuff. 

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You don't say if you have comprehensively insurance - if you have, then your insurance is liable for sorting out this issue - either getting the car repaired or making a total loss payment. They in turn would recover their costs from the 3rd party. There may be a need to negotiate settlement if the car is declared a total loss - first offers are always below expectations. Some policies / repairers will give you a loan car whilst your vehicle is repaired. If you don't have a comprehensive policy, it's your responsibility to recover your losses. In a case like this - where the car is old and the value relatively low - insurance companies will often settle with a cash sum and  then leave it up to you to get the car repaired, buy a replacement etc etc and i suspect that this is the case here. I would guess that the initial offer on this sort of car would be around £1500. There's plenty of good advice in the posts above about negotiating a better offer though getting £3k is a bit optimistic. The positive thing in your case is that, in insurance terms, there's not a lot of additional money involved, so it's more cost effective for insurance companies to settle quickly rather than procrastinating. Remember also to claim any other expenses from the 3rd party  - eg alternative transport.

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Thank you again - and I do have comprehensive insurance but I think my insurance company really isn't interested in doing the best deal for me as the Royal Mail's insurers have offered more than £1500. Replacing the car is seriously about £3000 and I'm quibbling over a measley £700, so I'm surprised they're not settling up just to be done with it and not have me go legal. The bad thing is there is no other car like a Rav4 3door. I love this design, it's perfect for everything I need.

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If their offer is £2,300, the car may be fixable for that - worth getting an estimate, and if it comes to more than that, you have some ammunition for getting them to improve the offer.  Don't forget that a replacement vehicle may have its own issues, and there you WILL be on your own.

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Their offer is £2000 for repair - and yes, a replacement will doubtless have its own problems. I am wondering, even if I don't need the room, should I opt for a 5door? Not crazy about them.

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Have you been to a decent independent body shop for an actual quote for repair? you might find that it can be properly repaired for the 2K (or about) and you get to keep your pride and joy?

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Good idea but the car doesn't roll because of the broken drive shaft... and no body shop I've contacted can be bothered to come and get it or even have a look. I'm near the BT Tower in the heart of London....

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2 hours ago, Krizano said:

It's perfect for what I need and I cannot think of another Toyota that sits that high and yet takes up less room than the 5door, which are more plentiful.

I really don't want or need 5 doors as I have no children, dogs or stuff. 

Do you really need to be sitting up high or the space? If it were me and I were living in London, I would take the insurance money and buy a Yaris or Aygo.

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Good advice, but I drive out to horse shows and need the clearance of an SUV...

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1 hour ago, Krizano said:

Their offer is £2000 for repair - and yes, a replacement will doubtless have its own problems. I am wondering, even if I don't need the room, should I opt for a 5door? Not crazy about them.

If it gives you a better choice, it would be sensible to consider it.  

£2000 is a bit low - ask them for extra to cover the cost of towing it to a repairer?

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Thank you, Ian. I really appreciate that feedback. I think it's way low too. And it's their liability. No more phone calls from them. it's all in writing now. How much might a tow be? I don't want to fix it unless the chassis is NOT bent. Thoughts?

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22 minutes ago, IanML said:

£2000 is a bit low - ask them for extra to cover the cost of towing it to a repairer?

Why would they? From their viewpoint the car is a write off.

As regards the settlement amount, I've done some searching and 2004 Rav4's seem to be selling for anywhere from £2,000. As I said earlier the settlement should be between market value and retail value. You won't get full retail value for the car, as cars advertised by dealers include their profit margin, and insurers won't pay the profit.

 

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8 minutes ago, FROSTYBALLS said:

Why would they? From their viewpoint the car is a write off.

As regards the settlement amount, I've done some searching and 2004 Rav4's seem to be selling for anywhere from £2,000. As I said earlier the settlement should be between market value and retail value. You won't get full retail value for the car, as cars advertised by dealers include their profit margin, and insurers won't pay the profit.

 

That is iniquitous and needs to be challenged.  They are liable to repair or replace with like, whichever is the less.  If the replacement is obtained from a dealer, the dealers profit is part of the cost of replacement and should be paid.  If it is to be repaired, the cost of moving it to the repairer's premises is part of the repair cost.  I know the insurance industry's custom is as you say, but it is not the law, and only prevails because the injured parties do not stand up to it.

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15 minutes ago, IanML said:

They are liable to repair or replace with like, whichever is the less.

No. 

Insurers will pay for repairs, replace what is lost or damaged, or pay the market value of the car at the time of the loss or damage. Most will refuse to repair if the cost of repairs exceeds a set percentage. Market value is different to retail value.

Only a couple of insurers (eg Direct Line) will replace a car that is more than 12 months old, and even then it has to be uneconomic to repair.

Don't forget, the OP is dealing with Royal Mail's claims management company, not their own insurer. As I said earlier, Royal Mail are probably one company who self insure rather than carry insurance.

This is precisely why GAP insurance has arrived on the market - which fills the GAP between what an insurer will settle for and, depending what type of GAP insurance one has, the invoice value of the car when purchased, or similar.

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