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Bought an insurance write off!

Discussion in 'Motoring Related Discussion' started by Kersidan, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Kersidan

    Kersidan Senior Member

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    Location:
    Chilterns and Brittany
    Your Mercedes:
    S212 2011 e350 cdi sport estate 265, S211 e280CDI Sport (gone), S210 e320 CDI Avantgarde (gone)
    This maybe of interest. We bought a VW Polo 1.2 Tsi 2016 last February on a bit of a whim. We needed a run around car instead of using the S212 E class for short journeys and this Polo looked interesting.... January 2016 on a 65 plate 6,200 miles, 2 owners but a Cat C write off! But at £6,500 it was £4K under list price. I know a bit about cars so I went over it with a fine tooth comb. Measured wheel base etc etc. The damage was front end related and had been repaired privately. Now my head was saying walk away and don't get sucked in but I looked at it as a bit of a challenge. Anyway, I bought it for £6,300. There were a few issues that I was aware of, I replaced a front headlight assembly (£120 for genuine item), the aircon wasn't working, that cost £350 to get fixed and a gear lever linkage needed replacing (£5.20 from VW!). And the story to date? Well it's done 14K miles now, runs true as a die, returns 50+ mpg on a run and is a little cracker of a car! Maybe I was lucky but I'd certainly look at other Cat D/C cars with an open mind in the future!

    Mark
     
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  2. AJD

    AJD Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    2012 W204 Sport ///AMG Line 4dr Auto, Obsidian Black, Light Grey Faux Leather
    I have always thought that the Polo was the best small car out there by a pretty wide margin, not sure I have the courage to buy a Cat 'C' though. Looks like you have been lucky. :)
     
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  3. vtaylor78

    vtaylor78 Senior Member

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    Location:
    Northamptonshire.
    Your Mercedes:
    E350 CDI Coupe W207 2010
    My late Father always purchased cat C/D,s, he had all sorts .
    Bentleys
    Rolls
    Range Rovers
    Many a Jag, Etc Etc.
    From memory never had any real issues, apart from the normal consumables.
     
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  4. peterws1957

    peterws1957 Senior Member

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    Location:
    Lancashire
    Your Mercedes:
    sl350 /2004/3.7 and CL65/2009/6.0
    I can see why people stay away from damaged/repaired etc but my mate buys regularly on a trade web site and has endless runabouts which require very basic cosmetics. Latest was a Micra with 11 months MOT for £160. There are some real bargains out there.
     
  5. 00slk

    00slk Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    2002 SL55 AMG, 2003 SL500
    When I was younger and much more agile most of the cars I bought were right offs, though I repaired them in my workshop.
    I did a lot of major smash work (these types of right offs now are no longer available to us) and also had a good liaison with a certain insurance company who would be in touch with certain models they knew I was after :D
    Most right offs now as most are minimal damage which can consist of as little as a split plastic bumper and are very easy DIY repairs up to needing new 1/4 panels etc, these tend to be non chassis structural damaged cars, but once again fairly simple to repair if you are a little more than a novice ;)
    Give it a good inspection before handing over your hard earned cash is the key.

    I once advised a friend not to buy this car there going to look at, if it doesn't have a 'log book', the seller is of a certain type.
    Needless to say they bought the car and, 'Oh but it had the 'green slip' and the gentleman selling was, as I previously mentioned!!
    Car turned out to be a Cat 'C' right off, which hadn't been repaired, only bodged with a cover sill clipped over the damage. The car was a shocker and when I saw the car they had bought I said, 'did you not listen to what I said'? Well we needed a car urgently.:rolleyes:
    " months later the car was ditched for £50, a £600 loss.

    Hence my words of a good inspection first.

    Gosh I haven't bought a 'Cat' car for a long time now, starting to get itchy feet :shock:
     
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  6. umblecumbuz

    umblecumbuz Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S204 and CLC 204 cdi, other non-Merc machines
    In the past I have often bought insurance damaged vehicles - and I always made sure that any reason for the write-off was non-structural (now Category N). Sometimes the vehicle looked awful, with panels missing and bits hanging off. The repair costs, although cosmetic only, had to be carefully assessed before purchase, as items such as headlights, mirrors, and the like can be horrendously expensive. If a source of supply for the missing or damaged parts is available, then real bargains can still be had.

    So buying a write-off needs very careful study if an economical repair is the reason for purchase.

    One personal caveat - I would never buy a flood damaged vehicle. A myriad of electrical faults can show up many months later, and these gremlins take longer to diagnose and fix than normal body repairs.
     
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  7. OP
    Kersidan

    Kersidan Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S212 2011 e350 cdi sport estate 265, S211 e280CDI Sport (gone), S210 e320 CDI Avantgarde (gone)
    Thanks for the interesting anecdotes. I think I had a certain/small amount of luck but the luck can be mitigated by a thorough inspection and some basic geometry tests. I took a tape measure with me and carefully measured the wheel base side to side and it was spot on. Plus a careful test drive revealed that the car ran dead straight with hands off wheel and also braked in a straight line. No vibes etc etc. As I say the only issue I had was a dodgy headlight and a non work AC system (I bought it in February last).

    The big factor to bear in mind is that it will always be registered as a Cat C and therefore it's resale value will be affected. But as we intend to keep it for a significant time as a family runaround this becomes less of an issue as it depreciates.

    I'd certainly look to do the same again, with a basic car. An E Class or similar could prove V expensive to fix any issues!
    Mark
     
  8. bembo449

    bembo449 Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    w221 320cdi , r170 23k , range rover vogue , insignia vxr , shitron dispatch
    my current insignia vxr was a cat C but only because the parts are so damn expensive , a bare front bumper skin is £1500 on its own so its easy to see why some cars are beyond economical repair , this one had a new headlamp too ,another £950 as its a fancy directional xenon , buy carefully and there are some massive bargains to be had , you did very well with the polo pal
     
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