Claim on van insurance or write off?

To the uneducated eye, following a minor incident the casual van driver would get into his cab after swapping his fleet insurance credentials and be on his way to the next drop.

However, is there damage done past what the eye can’t see from the outside?  Is he risking more than just having to rely on his breakdown cover once the van is half way up the M6 to Manchester if it’s actually classed as a write off?

One auction company in the UK, SMA Vehicle Remarketing have launched a service, though not as critical as driving away from an incident as outlined above, can have a similar impact on the value of a vehicle when assessing its value for resale.

Their “Tactical Repair” service – aimed at the fleet market in its early days – involves one of their inspectors running his or her trained eye over the vehicle prior to a refurbishment and judging whether repairing to the extent that it will attract commercial interest is worth it or whether knocking that little dink out of the passenger door will cost more than the vehicle will realise at private auction.

Blow by blow service available

Organisations that take advantage of the service do not necessarily have to take on all of their repairs to get their vehicles up to a standard that will make them stand out above the rest.

Of course, if it is a recent collision and all the relevant paperwork is the owner’s possession, there is nothing to stop them claiming for compensation under their fleet insurance cover, providing that the deal they’ve negotiated with the fleet van insurance provider has a respectable excess and the claim won’t damage the flexile no claims bonus.

However, for the van to be considered auction-worthy, it is perhaps accepted that any damage will be minor and, as the excesses are set higher in hope to bring the premium down to the level of cheap van insurance, it will be more cost-effective to pay for any repairs outside of the governing insurance policy.

Based upon SMA’s inspector’s assessment, the company can then decide to have all or some of the work carried out. With their focus very much on the customer service aspect, SMA can often provide a repair offer there and then, which you can then thrash out as to which parts of the vehicle need the most attention to attract interest at auction.

It is proven that cars in a showroom have a better pull than those not deemed fit to be put on such a pedastal; already, companies are paying for the fleet vehicles to be restored to this level, wherever feasible. This gives the owner a very real hands on approach to how the used fleet gets sold, perhaps with one eye on donating any cash received towards the ever-growing van insurance costs which will be invoiced when the new fleet replaces the old one.

SMA MD Bob Anderson believes that there is a huge gap in the market for this service; not only does it offer a route to market but also adds value to an existing product – in my world, that’s 80% of the sales done for you – this project is a no-brainer, so good luck to SMA for this innovative concept.

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