Three Things You Can Do With a Written Off Car: DIY Smash Repairs, Scrap or Donation

After a car accident, your insurer typically gives you the money you need to repair your vehicle minus your excess. However, if your car's repairs cost more than the market value of the car, your insurer may decide to write off your car. In that case, they give you a cheque for the value of the car, and in return, you give them your written-off vehicle.

If you are in that situation with a smashed car, there may be other options. Take a look at these ideas:

1. Keep and repair the car yourself

A written off car could be completely smashed and unusable, or it simply could have a long scratch or a series of dents that are more expensive to repair than the cost of the vehicle. If your vehicle falls into the latter category and you have experience doing smash repairs, consider repairing it yourself.

You take the money from your insurer, but instead of giving them the car, you ask to keep it. Keep in mind, the insurer may subtract the scrap value of the car from the cheque if you opt for this arrangement.

You can use the money to do your own smash repairs, and you keep whatever change there is. However, you can never take another collision claim on that vehicle again.

2. Sell it for scrap

As indicated above, if the insurer lets you keep your vehicle, they may subtract the value of its scrap metal from the cash they give you. However, scrap metal prices are constantly fluctuating. You may be able to keep the car, wait until scrap prices are high and then sell it to a scrap yard.

Alternatively, you may be able to disassemble the vehicle and sell its parts to mechanics or amateur car repair enthusiasts.

3. Donate it

Finally, if you arrange to keep the car after your insurer has written it off, you may be able to donate it. When you donate a car or any other large item, you can subtract its value from your taxable income on your next tax return.

In order to qualify for a tax deduction, however, you need to give your vehicle to an organisation that is designated as a deductible gift recipient or DGR.

If your car has been written off, you don't have to hand it over to the insurance company. Instead, with a bit of creativity, you can keep your vehicle, do the smash repairs yourself, sell it for scrap or donate it. If you like, you can even turn it into a flower planter in your front yard.