Oh bugger!

Keith Adams 

One wonky Metro bumper
One wonky Metro bumper

The Rover Metro 1.4LD continues to chug along through what has been a challenging winter with only one failure so far – a failed glow plug. Bangernomics dictates that I really shouldn’t spend the money fixing it, but I probably will, as it’s a pain in the neck to start in the morning at the moment. 

More seriously, someone ran into the back of it a few days ago. Nothing major, just some inattentive prat in a Peugeot 206, who said he wasn’t concentrating. We were waiting to enter a roundabout and he just banged right into the rear of the poor car. 

Irritatingly, when asked to swap insurance details, he looked at the damage to the Metro and said ‘there’s nothing wrong with that…’ when he clapped eyes on the wonky rear bumper. He also looked distinctly unapologetic – almost as if it’s not his fault that he can’t drive for toffee. 

Anyway, I am left with a dilemma. I don’t know so much about insurance, as I have not claimed since sometime in the mid-18th century, so don’t really know what’s going to happen. I know that the car’s going to be written off as there’s some damage but, at the same time, it still runs as sweetly as it ever did and still costs pennies to run. To lose this car would be a shame – but, on the other hand, to let contrite Peugeot driver go unpunished would also be a shame… 

So, if I claim, and they say it’s all going to be too much and offer to write it off, will I end up losing out? The trade value of this car is £0 but then trying to replace it like for like clearly is going to cost money. I’m obviously not going to accept the first offer, that much is sure, but when they come back with a sensible figure, will I then be able to buy the car back? After all, it’s still usable. 

I somehow fear that I’m going to come out of this worse off and none of this was my fault.

Keith Adams
Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)


  1. A similar thing happened to me 6 years ago in an old Clio waiting to enter a busy roundabout. As an inexperienced driver I stalled, BMW driver behind me tried to drive through me.

    He had no damage other than a cracked grille, the Clio’s boot was dented, wouldn’t open, and the underside was deformed.

    Had to take time out to get written quotes from 2 garages – most wouldn’t bother as they know they likely wouldn’t get the work. The insurance man came out and checked the car damage when I was out but the insurance company offered to write it off for £800 – £350 more than I paid for it! 🙂

    Went through the insurance, the BMW driver ended up not admitting the accident to his insurance company and it was only after legal action was threatened that it was resolved.

    Although the car was written off, the insurance company was not interested in retrieving it, so I still owned it and drove it (without easy boot access) until MOT time, when I gave it to a friend who knew it was a writeoff, but managed to fix the boot and get it through another MOT.

    So I hope that your insurance company will let you keep the Metro, even if they write it off. Problem is it will always affect any possible re-sale/future value of the car as a classic.

  2. Whatever else you do, don’t let the car out of your sight and definately do not leave it at an ‘Approved Repair Centre’ for assessment, as that could well be the last you see of it. They have a nasty tendancy to authorise the scrap man to take the car away before they have even made an offer (which, if not theft, is not far short).

    This nearly happened to my XM VSX TCT and, had I not phoned them up to find out what was happening, I would have lost the car and the LPG injection system that as fitted to it. It also makes it harder to reject their ‘valuation’ of the car if it no longer exists.

  3. When a minicabber drove into the back of my Civic I was rather cheesed off when the Insurers wrote it off. Turned out to my advantage in the end – I got 7 weeks of brand new courtesy car to thrash about in and they paid out top money for the Civic, which I bought back and sold to a mate for the L series engine (for buttons).

    Put it through the Insurers is my advice. In my case they assessed the car at my house. Give the car a good wash before they come and see it too, and show the Assessor anything (service history) that’ll make them value it higher. Small diesels are quite desirable in this age so you might be lucky.

  4. Back in 2002/3 I had a Ford Granada Scorpio Estate. On a K-plate, I bought it for £100 in recognition of the 195,000 miles it carried and the thirsty V6, and drove it about for ages (getting 33mpg!) with the enjoyment of a £60 proper Ford CD changer setup from a scrappy and a budgeted £180 to spend on new tyres.

    Having got two tyres done, on the way to get the others done, the car was rammed from behind by a very inattentive woman in a Mitsubishi Colt. Damage extended to a bent exhaust, a burnt-out electric boot release that kept trying to unlock and the bumper – and the CD changer started skipping. The insurance company allegedly came to inspect the car despite my never seeing a loss adjuster. I’d got a quote from the garage for repairs which included a new CD changer, taking the total to around £1400, and the loss adjuster had apparently only wanted to verify that this equipment was fitted to the car!

    The end result was a cheque for £1210 and “you can keep the car as you’ve just taxed it and it’s perfectly safe to drive” (points I’d made prior to settling). The car was then swapped for an XM estate I saw when on the way to the scrappy to get a bumper, and then found in a Loanhead scrapyard a year later – properly written off this time and with a credible (for the condition of the interior and body) 77,000 miles on the clock rather than the >200,000 miles it had when written off!

    I know someone who would love the Metro, too, and she’s in need of a small car as her Micra keeps breaking!

  5. “I know someone who would love the Metro, too, and she’s in need of a small car as her Micra keeps breaking!”

    Now that is a comment I’d never thought I would see!

    The only issue I had was when some idiot reversed along my old BX. I thought the car would be written off but they replaced the door and sprayed it without complaint (other than taking 4 weeks but, hey, Polo SDis aren’t that bad…)

  6. Having been a garage owner myself, I know it can be a real nightmare when a car which has a personal but no trade value is damaged. I’ve had to ‘save’ several cars from Insurers for customers over the years.

    Do go through the insurance, the car is only uneconomic to repair a Cat.C write off. They’ll make you an offer and either leave you the car or make a small charge. Don’t take the 1st offer, usually a joke, always ask for more.

    Good luck with it!

  7. What’s the betting the 206 driver hasn’t reported it to the Police or his Insurers? Either grass him up or keep running the Metro & give his 206 the old brakefluid wash’n’wax ;-).

    However, only one of the above solutions is legal…

  8. A very good friend of mine has just had a similar experience in a late XJ40. The Insurers wanted to write it off due to the cost of a new back bumper costing £170 + fitting etc. He only paid £500 for the car and the transmission and self-levelling suspension were on the way out so sadly he accepted the offer.

    However, he was surprised when they gave him £950 so a quick trawl on Ebay got him a later X300 type XJ6 for £1200. It’s a smart motor but it was sad to see the old Jag go to the crusher because some berk behind him couldn’t drive properly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.