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As most of you know, my 90 caught fire a few weeks ago.

I'm insured with NFU, who have, in general, been fantastic.

They recovered my 90 via the RAC to a garage in Sussex, then wrote to me asking for my permission to move it to a 'Secure storage yard'

I refused consent - as the yard was likely to be a long way off and it would inconvenience me to go get it when released. They suggested that I arrange with the garage to collect my valuables.

I have said all along that I want what remains of the truck returned - they said that would be no problem, I would have the option.

First, the garage refused to allow me access as "it belongs to the insurance company now". I still have the V5 however.

Then It has turned out they moved it anyway, to Hewitt's in the West Mids and they are now saying they never allow burnt out vehicles to be returned (they say it is the law that it has to be crushed) and are refusing to either return it or even allow me access to remove my valuables.

What I'm wondering is - what is the law regarding burnt out vehicles? Are they lying about it being the law that it be crushed and I am not allowed access?

If I cannot get the whole vehicle back, at the very least I want the winches, tyres and diff-locks - which were largely un-damaged. These will be removed before crushing anyway!

To my mind, it being moved against my consent amounts to theft, as does dismantling or crushing against my wishes so long as I own the title to the vehicle.

What do I do?


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Get NFU to write to you to confirm exactly who owns the salvage, and if they still own it get their written permission to collect valuables and anything else they feel inclined to let you have.

If valuable items such as winches have disappeared without the owner's consent they have been stolen. If nobody admits to stealing them I'd have a go at the recovery firm as they have a duty of care.

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Have they paid out yet, if not and as you still have the v5 then it's still yours until such times as the claim is settled at which point they'll require the v5.

I'd put it in writing to them that the vehicle has been moved against your express wishes and ask for a response within seven days.

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My thoughts are that the garage are talking billy bullocks - they don't own the vehicle until they've paid the settlement (which you have to agree to).

The garage'll be reluctant to release the vehicle as they have regulations preventing them releasing badly damaged vehicles to owners which are aimed at preventing damaged cars being put back on the road.

Ultimately, it's still your truck. You'll struggle with a TWOC as the garage were probably acting under instruction from NFU - which is where I'd aim my immediate gripe. I'd tell them that under no circumstances is it to be crushed or disposed of until the claim is settled as a) you need to collect valuables, winches etc and B) it's your development vehicle for your business and you need to salvage developmental parts or risk your business going under (that way, if they did crush it, they could be liable for loss of profit etc - which they won't want). Some creative writing should help here.

I would call NFU, insist that they return it to a local garage, or else you'll charge them 40p a mile to go and get parts from the west mids. I would also call the storage place, tell them that you have a letter from NFU authorising you visit the vehicle and remove parts, valuables etc, and arrange a time and date to go and visit them.

Bear in mind that NFU will be paying a storage charge (the recovery firm that work use charge about £12 a day) and so they'll want shot of it asap. If you tell them that they can dispose of it tomorrow if you can get what you need from it, they'll be from inclined to fax you a letter etc.

You may struggle to keep the chassis as it'll be a Cat A (or whichever it is) write-off, meaning it has to be crushed. Parts should be no problem.

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They are quite within their right to move the vehicle to a lower cost storage option. No doubt the garage where it was towed to would have been wanting top wack daily rate to store it there.

Have you settled yet and received payment? If not then the vehicle is yours and you can request access from the insurance company, which they can not refuse. Book an appointment to access the vehicle.

Do you have an inventory of what is attached to vehicle and insured. If you are expecting a higher valuation based on loss of winches etc, you can not then remove them from the vehicle as the insurance company would expect to get some form of salvage from them. If however you are basing the valuation on the vehicle minus these items then you could remove them along with your personal belongings.



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In any and all events with out exception you retain title over your personal goods until a claim has been settled. No quibbles, no excuses. Your 90 is your 90 until you accept their payment. However, they have the right (and you the duty) to minimise their loses which in this case includes transfer to a place of secure storage.

Your personal belongings, excepted from the insurance cover and any non-insured goodies were yours to collect from the garage by right, any amount of guff from them to the opposite speak volumes as to their intent to strip your baby. They would not let you just tow the wreck away as they are contracted by the insurance company and would have an outstanding invoice with them that would be compromised. The only right to retain the wreck that resides with the garage would be Trader's Lien which wouldn't apply in this case as they haven't improved the value of it by simply storing it. So if you INSISTED on removing you could in theory do so but it would get ugly.

So far as I know there are no laws concerning resale of wrecks - someone has got to part with cash for it even if it's reclassified as scrap but don't quote me on that as my trade years were some time ago and my insurance years even further back. However, you do not have the 'right' to buy the wreck even if you want it; once you accept the claim it belongs to the insurers and is theirs to do with as they see fit.

I suppose the important thing to remember is that ONLY WHAT IS INSURED becomes theirs ONLY WHEN THEY PAY, stuff not claimed for stays as yours.

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Interested now so I looked it up,

"An explanation of the categories of write-off are listed below:

Category A

A vehicle which should have been totally crushed, including all its spare parts.

Category B

A vehicle from which spare parts may be salvaged, but the bodyshell should have been crushed and the car should never return to the road.

Category C

An extensively damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road.

Category D

A damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road.

Category F

A vehicle damaged by fire, which the insurer has decided not to repair.


These vehicles have not been recovered and ownership rests with the insurer who made the total loss payment. They are able to repossess the car as soon as it is identified, even if it has been bought innocently.

Vehicles categorised as A, B or C require a VIC test before the DVLA will issue a new registration document. This will then be noted on the V5C. See www.dvla.gov.uk for more information on VIC testing. "

autocheck write off categories

or for even more detail, motorcycle news.

Seems yours may be an F, A, B Mr Tracy :-)

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Hi ,

Had this problem a few years ago when my truck ended up in secure storage after a bump, basically the yard would not allow me entry to remove personal items etc, got my insurance company Adrian Flux to phone them up, and they sent me a fax giving me permission to remove items i was not making a claim for.

Good Luck


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Simon, same thing just happened to a local mate of mine with his 2000 CSW 110 TD5. His got recovered and before he could say jack flash it was on some salvage auction site in Bath or Bristol. He did not even know it had been sold!! The vehicle had moderate front/side damage, a £1500 roof rack, a heap of custom interior stuff including high back 2nd rows, alloys etc. etc.

The real shame is all it got was £5,500.

He did get real stubborn with the insurance company as they had in effect stolen his property and I believe the eventual payout was OK. But you must fight with these guys, stick out for fair compensation and of course get all conversations recorded and/or in writing.

Sorry to hear your news going from bad to worse.

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Si, Just seen this, Sorry to hear all the aggro

Have you accepted a figure in full settlement for your 90 ?? If not, the vehicle is still your property, while a insurance claim is going through,

The garage in Sussex has not done their "duty of care" in looking after your property,

How it normally works, is that the insurance company want to minimize their cost, firstly by using a salvage company to remove the vehicle to cheaper (read free) storage for them, The Sussex garage should not have released the vehicle without your permission, even if it mean they would start charging you storage !!

The garage could not refuse you access to your vehicle, because as otchie1 states, they could not hold a Lien over your vehicle, as no improvement has been done to it,

When the vehicle is finally declared as a write off, then yes, a private individual would have difficulty in retained the salvage, due to being classified as waste, The insurance companies have to be seen to be disposing of their waste as per environment agency regulations,

If your are claiming the winches, tyres and diff-locks etc, If and when they do pay you out for them, they have to stay on, as they would then belong to the NFU

IMO the problem lies with both the NFU, for instructing Hewitt's to remove the vehicle (especially as you refused consent & the garage for releasing without the owners permission, )

Best of luck mate, give them stick

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A friend of my brothers tried to retrieve a disco that was involved in an accident back from the NFU - It turns out that the NFU had an agreement with a slavage company that they would dispose of all written off vehicles through this company. When I last looked at insuring my 90 through the NFU I hence stated that I wanted garenteed retention of ownership in all circumstances. They cited the contract with the salvage company as a reson that they could not accept this. I took my business else where.

Don't know if this is still the case, but you could challenge them on the reason they have retained the vehicle, is it the law, or the fact thay have a cosy agreement with a salvage company???

I would suggest that from a common sense view point that the vehicle is yours until you sign a final agreement. I would suggest that you advise tham of the replacement value of the winches etc including fitting (at a high rate at a specialist 4x4 company) and that you will expect the settlement to reflect this, or alternatively you could offer to remove the items from the vehicle to minimse the pay out they face to just the base vehicle (it's all about £££). Worse case senario you are building a case for a wacking great pay out.


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Thanks for all the responses - lots of good info, Particularly Si White.

I still have the V5 etc and have not been made any offer as yet. They want the V5 before making an offer - but I refused to hand it over in case that could be construed as my indicating that I would like to hand the vehicle over to them.

Today, they agreed to accept a copy on the basis of any offer being conditional on seeing the originals.

I don't think the chap who is dealing with the claim was expecting anyone to argue so much about the whole thing. He keeps saying "Usually people...." as a reason for me to just back down and is surprised when I don't. I guess, usually when they start claiming it is the law that their vehicle must be disposed of, most people just accept it.

I have pointed out that this is only a problem because of their categorisation. If they would change the Cat, they could release the vehicle to me and the whole issue would disappear in a puff of logic - the claims chap seemed to agree.

He needs to speak to the Engineer when he returns from his holls on Monday - but I think they are clear that I'm up for a fight!



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but I think they are clear that I'm up for a fight!

Send them a pic of yerself ......standing near say a Mini .......with a hatchet :wacko:

Then add a note saying "So you know who I am when I come and visit you" :hysterical:

Serioulsy tho I know 'nuffing' on this but I am sadened that you have still more F grief to go yet,

chin up and keep at em

Like loosing your 90 wasn't enough, this sort of **** really winds me up :angry: I'm sure your so chuffed to have this nonsense on top of all the rest of the problems

Not exactly a glowing advert so far for NFU ?


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why the valuation? Having my own 90 with NFU and like you declared mods they, after some further Q's by their underwriters, accepted a fixed valuation on my 90. Or at least that's what I was lead to understand and certainly the early certificates of insurance seemed to flag that the vehicle was modified.

Yours worried,

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:angry: Don't give in to the buggers, they are very quick to try and remove the car to "Safe Storage" had this with wifes car after a head on, I got the RAC bless them to recover the car to my house and then moved it to my mates farm so they couldn't find it until I let them have it. It was an excellent bargaining tool as the first offer was derisory and it took a few weeks for them to settle after extensive argument. They did however instruct the recovery Company to come and take the car before we settled, fortunately I was in when they rang and told them in plain language that if they touched it I would get the Police to come as it would be theft, didn't tell them where the car actually was though.

Unfortunately they have your vehicle at present, if you haven't released the Log Book to them you still own it and should make sure DVLA know that you have a dispute over ownership, that might stop them disposing of it.

Do the have a list of the "accessories" you wish to remove and your "personal possessions" cos if any are missing when you get to see the vehicle that then is theft !!

Good luck.

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Si, talk to NFU Insurance head office claims in Straford on Avon, sounds like the local agent is messing you about.

NFU Mutual company details

Full Company Name: The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited. ("NFU Mutual")

Company No.: 111982

Status: Insurer

Registered in: England

Registered Office: Tiddington Road, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 7BJ

Telephone: 01789 204211*

Fax: 01789 298992

when my 110 was badly damaged a few years ago, NFU said I could buy it back as salvage & use the balance of the settlement to repair ir, but before it went back on the road I had to get it through a new MOT & have a Motor Engineer [insurance Company agrred] before they would re-insure it, the only documents they required proir to the settlement was the existing MOT & V5 both of which were returned after the repairs/engineers report were recived by NFU.

hope you get a good settlement to your complete satisfaction.

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I'd chase up the business element, with them, you have intellectual property invested in the vehicle potentially.

Next I'd suggest telling them that they are looking like cocks on a major land rover forum and that it's gonna cost them more in bad publicity than just being reasonable.

I'd also phone where they have took the vehicle and put the frighteners on them, tell them you are in dispute about the whole thing and the vehicle may be needed in evidence, and that you had video and pictures of the vehicle straight after the fire (which I think you do) so you can verify if any items are missing.

Good luck Simon, I thought the NFU where good but perhaps it stands for No F***king Use? :)

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Umm....... insurance companies, PITA!!

Had a dispute with GAN many years ago about the payout on a MK2 Golf GTi........ they tried the same thing that you are experiencing with the request for the V5 and original documents.

Basically, i referred them to thier own insurance document, word for word stating what the policy said.

As soon as they realised that i had the full insurance policy and was prepared to quote it, i got a more reasonable response.

Another thing that was contentious at the time was 'condition and mileage', they gave me lots of billy bull.

They claimed to have been 'unable' to confirm the low miles, by saying the digital speedo was off, i pointed out that they needed a new vehicle assessor as my car had an analogue speedo, and he was incompetent.

They backed off at this point....... equally when trying to agree value i obtained a copy of a current, and thats important, Autotrader with a near identical car with the same mileage, copied and posted it with the date highlighted, equally i only ever sent them copies of documents, in accordance with their stated policy claims procedure.

Basically i did not send anything original untill i received written confirmation of a satisfactory settlement figure.

Incidentally i got back what i paid for the car 11 months after buying it!

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What a pi**er- insurance Cos have a bad rep quite deservedly.

Whilst I have worked with, and for, insurance companies (and their associated businesses) for the past few years we recently closed our insurance side of the business because ins cos are just so hard to work for.

a few points- in my experience the vast majority of underwriters, claims handlers and contractors (such as garages) don't give a carp about the customer and only really care what the insurance company say. The reason for this is that most customers have no come back against third parties and all most ins cos care about is reducing their expenditure. Inevitably the ONLY people that get dealt with fairly and properly are those that complain the loudest and the most often- it has not been unheard of for people to phone insurance companies 2-3 times a day until the claim is resolved. The "complainers" are the ones that nobody wants because they cause problems with SLAs (service level agreements) which can effect future work. In fact if you really want action, then put a formal complaint in writing to head office and advise them that you are taking legal advice about their actions. Then stand back and watch the sparks fly!

Do not under any circumstances beleive what you are told by anyone (although knowing you Si i probably don't have to tell you that) as they will all lie to get you off their work queue and to someone elses! If you are speaking to a local office then do not be surprised if they don't really konw what they are doing- NFU offices in relations to home claims were effing dreadful- most of the time we told them what they should do with their paperwork in relations to claims. This lack of knowledge can work two ways though!

In regards to your specific problem, it is clear that ownership HAS NOT transferred, and as you are very far from happy with the way the insurance company have dealt with it so far, i would STRONGLY recommend you both fax and speak to their head office tomorrow, expressing in the planest terms what you think of their service and how you expect them to act. Do not be afraid of saying that you will happily take further action. You might be able to find what is called a "public adjuster" although they might not deal with your claim as it is a bit small- if you can get one to help then they will go after the insurance company for you and will often take a % of the payout- definitely worth it though as i have seen payouts increase by over 20,000% on a house fire (honestly- the ins co offered a bloke £500 for all his contents, the home owner got a public adjuster and ended up with around £80,000!). I would suggest that you do NOT start playing the "bad publicity" card as ins cos generally don't care- they know 99.9% of the population buy on price alone!

couple of things to note- the ins co are legally obligated to act on the information given to them by the engineer- and if he has said that the car is a Cat A then the ins co has to be scrap the car- no parts are allowed on the road. Can you get the details of the engineer by any chance- speaking to him would be more fruitful i think. Be wary of intimating that any parts are part of the mechanical structure of the vehicle. I would suggest you describe your ARB as a "rear locker" and leave it at that, winches become warn self recovery equipment etc etc. Tell them that you require that you remove the items yourself- no engineers or tradesmen.

also be aware of under insurance problems- not a lot of people know that if they have a £10k vehicle which was insured for £8k then the ins co will only pay out £6k- they say that you were fraudulently undervaluing the car for insurance purposes and will take the difference between the value and the insured amount off the final payout. This is a huge problem in home insurance where most peoples contents are worth in excess of £100k (if you don't believe me then take an inventory of your whole house and include carpets, curtains, DVDs, PCs PC software etc etc) but are only insured for £60k- the devastation caused by a £20k payout following a total loss is huge. This is a problem for you if you try and claim £5k of accessories and £6k of vehicle but only had insurance cover for £1k. I would suggest that you DON'T try and get the ins co to pay out for accessories and property in the vehicle- it's just one more headache that you don't need!

You must make it clear that these parts are your personal effects and were not be covered by the insurance (unless you want to try and claim for them as accessories) and as such any failure by the ins co to allow you access to the vehicle to recover these possessions will result in you sending them an invoice for replacement at cost of said goods. If necessary work out a cost (then double it for your time to produce these) and tell them how much these effects are worth. Get a list to them ASAP of what you believe was in the vehicle and what you expect to find there!

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On a further note, most insurance 'engineers' are little more than cost accountants who compare the garage quote with their Mickey Mouse Book of Times. Might be worth asking how they justify writing off a ladder chassis vehicle as a Cat A when clearly the fire has only damaged the coach work so the structural integrity is unaffected. Worth a punt, as is offering to accept a lower amount if they release the wreckage as Cat F.

Getting the hang of this Cat malarky now, proper refresher course.

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