When your vehicle is written off

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"Writing off" your vehicle means MPI pays you its fair market value rather than fixing it. We “write-off” your vehicle if fixing it will cost more than writing it off. It's a decision based on dollars and cents.

We choose whichever costs least because controlling costs helps us control your Autopac premiums. In short, it's the responsible financial decision to make.

When deciding to write-off a vehicle, we always examine three things:

  1. The cost of fixing the damage.
  2. The actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle – its fair market value before it was damaged. We determine the cash value of your vehicle by conducting a careful examination of its condition, obtaining a market appraisal through one or more independent sources, and factoring in any recent repairs that may have increased your vehicle’s market value.
  3. Vehicle salvage values – once your vehicle has been written off, MPI will determine your vehicle salvage value, and vehicle ownership will be transferred to MPI and sold within MPI’s Salvage Auction.

We'll write-off your vehicle when either:

  • The cost of fixing it is more than its actual cash value
  • The cost of fixing it is more than its actual cash value minus the salvage value (more on salvage value below).

Salvage value

Here's an example of why the salvage value is important to our decision.

Let's say it will cost $3,500 to fix the damage to a car worth $4,000 before the collision. On the surface, it might seem less costly to fix than to write off. After all, fixing the vehicle costs $500 less than paying out its value.

But let's say we'd get back about $1,200 salvage if we wrote it off and auctioned it.

Now, writing off this car becomes the least costly option. Writing it off costs the public insurance fund $4,000 minus the $1,200 we'll get back for salvage, for a total of $2,800. On the other hand, fixing it will cost $3,500.

It's not always true that write-offs are bad vehicles or they can't be fixed. Write-offs sometimes have damage that only affects how they look not how safe or reliable they are.

Take a car damaged by hail, for instance. It may have dents all over it that will cost more to fix than the car is worth. If you were to try to sell it with the hail damage, you'd likely get less for it than if it didn't have the damage.

But the hail only affects the car's appearance. If the car was mechanically and structurally sound before the hail, it likely remains so afterwards. So, it could still be quite reliable and safe to drive.

Irreparable vs salvageable

An irreparable write-off can never be driven again and cannot be safely made road worthy, however it can be sold at auction for parts only. The irreparable write-off designation includes:

  • Severe structural damage from collision, fire or corrosion.
  • Severe flooding damage.
  • Any 1994 vehicle or older that we’ve taken ownership of and are auctioning.

A salvageable write-off can be driven once it is repaired and has passed inspections for:

A “salvage with exception” write-off is a total loss not caused by collision or upset. They have cosmetic damage that does not render the vehicle structurally or mechanically unsafe. One example is damage caused by hail. In this case a:

  • BIIC is not required.
  • COI is not required if original owner retains vehicle.
  • COI is required if new owner purchases vehicle.

The irreparable, salvageable and salvage with exception categories are part of the Stolen and Wrecked Vehicle Monitoring Program, which tracks unsafe write-offs and prevents their registration.