Why your vehicle could be declared a total loss

Total loss/written-off vehicles

When an incident causes extensive or costly damage to your vehicle, it's possible that your vehicle could be declared a total loss or a write-off. Both of these terms are commonly used in the South African insurance industry and mean exactly the same thing.

Insurance providers consider many things – in addition to comparing the cost to repair your vehicle with how much it’s worth – when determining whether your vehicle is a total loss.

If in any way the safety of your vehicle is compromised, the possibility of writing-off the vehicle becomes much higher. Your well-being remains our number one priority, which is why you may be able to find someone who is prepared to repair your vehicle - when we aren’t prepared to compromise on your safety. 

What happens when your vehicle is declared a write-off?

Your claims representative will be in contact with you to request certain documentation, depending on whether your vehicle is financed or not – and send out a courier to pick up these documents, as well as your vehicle’s keys (including spares), radio faces, etc.

The documentation differs depending on your situation:

If your vehicle is still financed, we’ll need the finance house account number in order to obtain:

  • A settlement letter (indicating the outstanding amount on your account) and
  • Your vehicle’s registration papers

If your vehicle is not financed, we’ll need:

  • Your vehicle’s registration papers

Then, with your permission, we’ll move the vehicle to our salvage distribution centre.

Once the claim has been authorised for settlement, the vehicle registration papers will be transferred to MiWay Insurance’s name, and the vehicle will be put on auction. You will also have the option to participate in this auction.

If you need help finding a replacement vehicle – new or used – we will be able to put you in contact with our panel of service providers. Whether you make use of their services will remain your decision. 

How much will you be paid out if your vehicle is a total loss or written-off?

When you initially insured your vehicle with MiWay you were given the option to either insure your vehicle for its retail, market or trade value – or in certain situations, a special agreed value which was noted on your policy Coversheet.

If your vehicle is either stolen or written-off, you will be paid your insured value as noted on your Coversheet – including the value of any non-standard factory-fitted accessories, provided they were specified and noted on the policy Coversheet.

The following amounts, where applicable, will be deducted from your insured value:

  • excess
  • dual insurance
  • betterment
  • depreciation  

What should you do if you disagree with the settlement value?

In order for MiWay to review the settlement offer, MiWay will require of you to provide supporting documentation as to why you consider the settlement value to be inadequate.

What if you still owe money to your finance house?

After your vehicle has been declared a total loss, you may still owe money to your finance house, because of the interest charged, etc. 

MiCredit Shortfall (or "gap") cover takes care of this shortfall (less any applicable comprehensive cover or standard exclusions and administration fees) so that you do not sit with a huge debt at the bank for a car that you no longer have.