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SORN'd UK Car written-off whilst parked off-road: PLS HELP?!!


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So a ridiculous situation..

My UK registered Car died back in Feb in France. Consequently I had to return to the UK sans car and it has been off-road in France ever since.

Unfortunately the MOT and UK Tax both expired and I informed the DVLA via SORN. With the intention to bring it back to life and to the UK when work/family commitments etc lapsed.

Last week I managed the former and got it started with great expense (compared to its value)..

On Sunday, whilst in it's stationary and Off-Road location someone decided to crash into it and by all intents and purposes write it off. They have claimed full responsibility.

Where does that leave me with regards to A) the paperwork side of things, will I be in trouble with the French authorities? and B) will their insurance pay out on a vehicle with little or no paperwork?
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I don't suppose the French authorities will give a monkey's, why would they get involved?

With regards to the UK authorities, technically a car on SORN has to be off road in the UK, not abroad, but again why would they get involved.

With regards to your insurance it depends entirely on the policy. Does your policy provide 365 day comprehensive cover in Europe? Were they made aware of the circumstances? Insurance companies operate differently. Some provide time-limited EU cover and insist on you telling them the dates when the car is in Europe. A lot of insurers provide up to 3 months' full cover, after which it drops to the minimum cover required by law which is effectively 3rd party only. If your company provides time-limited cover they will ask to see ferry tickets. A few insurers do provide 365 day full EU cover, either as standard (eg NFU) or as an add on (Saga, LV, Coop etc).

So that's the first thing to find out. If it turns out your cover was third party only, your insurers won't want to get involved in a claim on your behalf against another insurer, and without your insurers' help you might find it difficult to get a French insurance company to process a claim, especially as you say when the paperwork isn't in order. But you can always try. You need to get the other party to fill in a Constat Amiable d'Accident, have they done that?

I presume you were going to have to trailer the back to the UK in any case, what with it not being legal to be driven on the road in any country and no way of getting it taxed and tested in France. Hindsight's a wonderful thing but can't help thinking it would have been better to get it repatriated in February and mended in the UK.
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Thanks for the replies.

My insurance covered me for 11months of the year in europe/outside the UK and 1month in the UK. Bearing in mind I had the car in the UK for approx 4/5days before driving it to France this side of things isn't an issue.

What I don't understand is: the guy who did the damage has put his hands up and admitted liability. Assuming he is definitely insured (he was a young guy who actually drove off and was hunted down by a neighbour who knew his parents) why would his insurance need to speak to mine anyway?

So either his insurance pays out or due to paperwork they don't are what I'm guessing are the possible outcomes?!??

WRT Constat Amiable d'Accident - Unfortunately I've had to return to the UK today and the details are now in a friends hands, however, I believe this is what they have been doing this evening. Drawing pictures and filling in forms..
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"What I don't understand is: the guy who did the damage has put his hands up and admitted liability. Assuming he is definitely insured (he was a young guy who actually drove off and was hunted down by a neighbour who knew his parents) why would his insurance need to speak to mine anyway?"

Well, because he's likely to claim on his insurance rather than get the money out of his own bank; and usually insurance companies deal with other insurance companies over road traffic accidents, it's just the way the industry works. Insurance companies exchange information. So the obvious thing to do is to send in a claim to your insurer in the normal way, and hopefully all will be well. You might get less of a pay out than if it had had correct paperwork - but that's for the assessor to decide.
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[quote user="HoneySuckleDreams"]hmmmm... no tax, no MOT and therefor

invalidating any UK insurance, assuming you do have (sorry..did have)

insurance?[/quote]Wrong !

I don't know how many times it has to

be explained but the lack of an MOT or tax, or both DO NOT repeat DO NOT

invalidate your insurance.

Think about it, if they did then

every driver caught without one or the other would face prosecution for

no insurance too which of course they don't because it doesn't.


LAW all insurance policies written in the EU must cover the vehicle for

minimum 3rd party risks throughout the EU and for their duration and an

insurance company can only cancel your cover by writing to you giving

at least 7 days notice of their intention to do so stipulating a

precise date and time when the cancellation will come into effect.


fact other than if the cover had been obtained fraudulently, and even

then it would depend on the company and the nature of the fraudulent act, there

are no circumstances in which car insurance can be summarily voided.

To the OP:

Even in a completely clear cut accident both insurance companies will always be involved in a claim and if a constat amiable has been completed then the other side will already know who your insurer is.

In addition, and regardless of who was at fault or whether you make a claim or not, you have an absolute duty to inform your UK insurer of the incident, to not do so is a breach of the good faith the policy is based on.

If the car is a write off then properly DVLA should be informed which in turn will raise the question of what the car was doing in France when you had declared SORN for it.

Nothing is ever a straightforward as it may seem, 'oh what a tangled web we weave' and all that !

If the other party is fully admitting liability your best bet might be to try and obtain a private settlement from them directly without either party involving their insurance companies at all, if it's a lowish value vehicle it may be an attractive option for them. You could then declare the vehicle to DVLA as permanently exported and flog it to a scrappie in France.

That route may not be available if the gendarmes were involved though.

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There is absolutely nothing to stop you pursuing a claim against the other guys insurers directly yourself, had he hit your garden wall or damaged say an ornamental piece of art (dead car!) thats what you would do.

Now this being France where people are completely unable to grasp that things can be done differently to their limited inward looking experience, where all sorts of bodies not just insurers ignore everything unless it is LRAR there is no guarantee that they will do anything than shrug their shoulders and bin your communication with the others.

I have claimed for vehicle damage directly from 3rd party insurers on at least 3 occasions in the UK, in recent years I have left it in the hands of ambulance chasers so as to cop for compo for whiplash, what I did find that immediately the 3rd party had informed their insurers they very sensibly immediately contacted me directly admitting liability and wanting to expedite the claim to reduce their costs.

In fact the last time (2005) my car was French registered and insured and the accident (shunted from behind) happened in the UK, my French insurers were not involved in the matter in any way at all.

I realise that the above does not mean in any way that the same things would happen in France but they should, the legislation being the same, it was more to counter the assertions that dealings have to be between insurers, that just plainly isnt true, if you only have 3rd party or tiers cover and the accident is not your fault your insurer will not want to know, bad choice of words, they will want it to be reported to them so they can withdraw your NCB for as long as possible (potential claim pending) but they wont help you pursue your claim against the other party.

In your shoes I would not want to inform my own insurer, they sure as hell wouldnt help me but they may well penalise me as I have found out the hard way.

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HoneySuckleDreams Wrote: "hmmmm... no tax, no MOT and therefor invalidating any UK insurance, assuming you do have (sorry..did have) insurance?"

Yup as per AnOther this is incorrect. Car was off-road and not being driven. Insurance is still valid.

The last issue(s) I have is that because it was very icy, my car slid into another car and dented their side panel.. So it's unlikely they will claim on insurance for one car and pay out a cash sum for my old banger.... WHICH, I infact managed to sell on Friday, so 'oh what a tangled web we weave' doesn't even come close to describing this mess....!!!

Thanks Chancer, I must say I have to agree with your thoughts.. If this was in the UK and the car was SORN/Off-Road and infact uninsured I would be fine and would receive a pay out.
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As Chancer says, there is no reason that a claim has to be handled by the insurance companies involved, although this is the straightforward route most people take, if they have comprehensive cover or cover for legal assistance. You should inform them of the accident of your policy so stipulates.

If you are insured with a UK company offering cover for UK reg cars being used in France they already know the situation so there is probably no harm in getting them to claim on your behalf, provided you have cover for this (fully comp or legal assistance).

Like Chancer, I have also successfully claimed directly from the other party's insurance.

A German registered car hit the back of my car when my daughter was driving it, in Spain. The driver, also German, admitted liability on the Accident form.

My Spanish insurance broker rolled his eyes and said it would take at least a year to handle, so I simply posted a copy of the form to the insurers with a covering letter in English and a written quotation for the repairs.

I received a cheque for the full amount within a few days.

Not saying a French company would do the same[:(]

Edit: I see you have now sold the car. Maybe you can still get a payout without the paying company inspecting it ...... bonne chance!

Don't forget to do something about the SORN while you still have the V5, or they'll be chasing you forever [:D]



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If you've sold the car that got run into, that sounds like the end of the matter. I don't think you can simultaneously sell a car to a third party and negotiate for an insurance company to write it off, and the other chap's insurance company is unlikely to pay out without inspecting the damaged vehicle.

Don't really understand the connection with the other incident, apart from that you seem to be very unlucky with your cars - normally you have one policy per vehicle, so the two claims would have been totally separate, plus one claim would have been against your insurers (your fault) and the other would have been against third party insurers (other party's fault).

Do be careful!
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I guess it depends on whether they actually respond to you, whether the money you might gain is worth the grief you will go through dealing with it, if it is then you should be claiming for the difference in value for what you sold the salvage for and the value of the vehicle in pre-accident condition.

TBH to do this after the event, with them not being able to inspect it, perhaps only going on a handwritten reciept and maybe a ginned up valuation,  it sounds like a complete can of worms, anecdotally it has been said that French insurers have stated that an unregistered vehicle has no value other than its scrap value and in this case I would have some sympathy with the view.

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Ok, I will say it if nobody else wants to.....

This sounds like someone with a UK reg scrapper who wants to try to make/scam a few bucks from someone elses insurance.

Seriously? the car was damaged, you sold it and THEN you want to make a claim?

Forget it - not one single insurer will even vaguely entertain the idea of paying out anything to you.
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[quote user="dave21478"]Ok, I will say it if nobody else wants to.....

This sounds like someone with a UK reg scrapper who wants to try to make/scam a few bucks from someone elses insurance.

Seriously? the car was damaged, you sold it and THEN you want to make a claim?

Forget it - not one single insurer will even vaguely entertain the idea of paying out anything to you.[/quote]

You've certainly got this all wrong Dave. If I was a scammer the last thing I'd do would be to advertise it online.. It has been a very unfortunate situation. I 'sold' the car two days before the accident, I had only taken a deposit whilst the buyer raised the remainding funds. My intention is to return the deposit and fingers crossed this frenchies insurance pay me a similar amount. Worst case I get nothing and the buyer gets his deposit back.

I suppose Dave - it takes one to know one??!!
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[quote user="Chancer"]Actually looking at your first posting you said that the cost to get the thing "going" presumably to start and run far exceeded its pre-accident value, if thats the case and you have already sold the vehicle what is it that you are looking for?[/quote]

No, not the case. It was a fair sum to get the thing going but only around 30% of its value. So still worth me getting it going to then either sell or get back to the UK. As I found a buyer at the right price I thought I'd cut my losses on the damned thing.

However, I only received a deposit. So in my eyes I can't let the sale continue and expect this guy to pay up to receive a written off car..
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[quote user="dave21478"]Oh, and as an interesting aside, SORN declarations will very soon no longer have to renewed annually[/quote]Hooray !

I have no problem with SORN in principal and have a vehicle which has been on it since I moved to France but I could never understand the need for the annual renewal or see any value to it, it was just an irritation and an excuse to issue fines !

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Dave said:

'What interests me more is that along with the abolition of the physical tax disc, there is talk of being able to pay road tax monthly - will they have the sense to make it available on a month-by-month basis? That would be nice. '

Can see no reason why not on a month by month basis. At the moment the RFL disc for the OH car is returned whenever we go to France for a refund.

Presumably, there will be more ANPR cameras so using a car without paying and getting away with it will decrease.

As for checking whether a car is 'taxed' when buying - you can go on the DVLA website and check.
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Well Mint you come on here with your first posting about 'your car' with a story that seems to change with each of your postings and then you insult one of the established members:

'I suppose Dave - it takes one to know one??!! '

If I read between the lines correctly some of the others here are a little sceptical.

If you are genuine then you received the advice that you asked for DROP THE CLAIM.
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I have received some very good advice and a lot of very useful information for which I am very grateful.

I am not pursuing any claim to my insurance. I am merely trying to fathom how the system works in France, which I'm slowly understanding now, thank you to all.

My story has indeed elaborated over the posts as I felt at the outset a full detailed essay may not engage enough people to obtain accurate info nor did I think that some of the info was indeed relevant.

The fact that I had sold the vehicle two days before the crash was purely to outline how ridiculous my situation is. The buyer knew full well the car has/had no MOT, TAX and was SORN'd and it was priced to reflect this. I will more than likely now return his deposit as I'm expecting the car to be beyond repair.

Contrary to thoughts, I was not in the vehicle, my vehicle was parked off a private road and was hit and potentially written-off. I am not seeking a claim, a scam nor any other foul behaviour. All I want to know is that will this french guys insurance pay out considering my lack of paperwork???????? It's a simply query to what I've, admittedly, turned into a complicated question for which I apologise.

To be accused of being a scammer or dishonesty by 'one of your more established members' or not whether it be online or otherwise I find offensive. Hence my reply directed back at your "established member," which I might add was 'said' with what I hoped was a similar tongue-in-cheek nature to Dave's comments. I note that he did not outwardly show any offense taken and our sensible discussion therefore resumed. I do have a feeling he may have got the wrong end of the stick on this, which again is down to my poor leaking of the story.

Dave said: "Seriously? the car was damaged, you sold it and THEN you want to make a claim?"

- The car was fixed, yes, I then did sell it but I'm not making a claim. The guilty party will pursue their insurance to recompense me or my buyer depending whether he wants to continue with the sale or not.

I thank all members for their input and the info received, I definitely feel like there is more light on the subject now, fingers crossed the outcome is favourable.

Also some congratulations are in order too for those who have become "Established Members." I do so hope that you use this coveted accolade to set an example and become less judgmental and not so dismissive in your future postings.
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