A vehicle that is classified as a “repairable write off” will have a listing in the written off vehicle register.
Essentially, these cars were deemed uneconomical to repair by an insurance company and subsequently “written off” and a pay-out made to the owner for the value of the vehicle.
In some cases, the law will bar the repair of certain damages such that, the vehicle is written off. Many owners will then go on to sell the written off vehicle to a business that specialises in collecting “junk cars” - or they may even elect to pay for the repairs themselves.
The car is then repaired and put through a written off vehicle inspection. Once the repaired vehicle is deemed roadworthy, it re-registered and can be sold on, if not, such a vehicle will either be sold off as scrap or exported to other regions that do not attach importance to such matters!
There is nothing essentially “wrong” with buying a repairable write-off if it has passed a number of regulatory checks before it is put back on the road.
What it will affect is the perceived value of the vehicle, as a written off vehicle that has been repaired will generally fetch a much lower price on the market. Buyers need to keep this in mind when negotiating on the price of the purchase.
If your initial checks on the vehicle reveal that it is entered on the Written-off Vehicle Register (WOVR), then it is important that you are aware of the risks involved in buying a written-off vehicle.
There are different levels of risks involved when buying an unrepaired versus a repaired written-off vehicle. Making sure that you are aware of the risks will help ensure that you avoid problems later.
I have seen a number of accident vehicles being imported into Africa (in their damaged condition), they are taken to garages for panel beatings and then fitted with new bumpers and windshields, etc.
These vehicles are later sold off as new imports, without the potential buyers having any clue to their history.
Effectively 31 January 2011, many Governments have introduced new legislation to prohibit the registration of vehicles written off. If you buy a car from a private seller and the car is later found to be stolen or there is money owing on it, you may lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it.
Do you remember a scenario in which 4X4s were being impounded by Interpol because they had been stolen abroad and sold off in Africa? Better to be safe than sorry! If you are to import a used vehicle from abroad check if it has been tampered or is stolen and whether it has been written-off or financially encumbered.
How? Only buy through recognised Car auctions e.g. Trade Car View, AUTOREC, IBC Japan, etc, that way, you will avoid getting a raw deal!
For any major modifications undertaken on a motor vehicle, it must be inspected by the relevant authorities and a certificate of road worthiness issued.
Like, if a vehicle gets involved in a major accident, it should not be repaired until authority is granted from the Transport Regulatory Board, once that is granted, the vehicles must be inspected after the repairs to confirm that, it conforms to the set guidelines.
Many vehicles have been imported after their steering wheels have been haphazardly moved from one side to the other, their owners have gone ahead to get them registered and sold them off to unsuspecting buyers; these vehicles have ended up being very difficult to manoeuvre or their steering mechanisms have altogether failed, leading to all sorts of accidents.
It is best that you know the history of any “Used” or “Second-hand” motor vehicle you purchase.