To Repair or Not to Repair Your Damaged Fleet Vehicle – That is the Question

From returning to a fleet van to find dent in the door to being involved in a multi-car pile-up on the motorway, fleet managers see it all. There are currently more than 34 million licensed vehicles on UK roads and with this number set to grow, accidents are only going to increase. There are a number of ways fleets can protect themselves against accidents out on the road – installing dash cameras is a great way – but even with preventative methods, accidents will happen, and when they do fleet managers are going to be faced with an important question: should I repair my damaged fleet vehicle or not?

Repair estimates

The first task to set your mind to if a fleet vehicle has been damaged is getting a number of repair estimates. In all cases, the level of damage to the vehicle is going to determine the level of repair cost you can expect, but another determining factor is who and where you get your repair estimates from.

For example, a fleet van which has been side-damaged may cost you a few hundred pounds to have repaired, so long as the damage is cosmetic and paintwork based, but that same repair could run into the thousands of pounds if the fleet van’s door and side panels have been bent, crushed, dented, or snagged. Official dealers, such as Volkswagen and Ford, are likely to give you a higher repair cost than a smaller, independent workshop. So, it pays to shop around, and seek out several repair estimates.

Salvage value

The salvage value of a vehicle is, essentially, an ‘as-is’ value of a vehicle based on its current condition. A salvage value can be ascertained quite easily, simply by having two or more salvage buyers submit bids for the vehicle. By doing so, you can get a good idea of how much you could get for the vehicle, without any repairs or extra expense going into it.

It’s important to get a salvage value for a damaged fleet vehicle because this is your fallback if it turns out that it’s going to cost more to repair the vehicle than to replace it, or if it turns out that the vehicle is so badly damaged that a repair cannot be made.

Book value of vehicle/Used vehicle value

When a fleet vehicle is damaged it’s important to ascertain that vehicles book value and used vehicle value. Book value is a vehicles unamortised finance / lease balance, or its un-depreciated accounting value. A used vehicle value is the price you could sell the vehicle for, if repaired and fully operational. So, basically, it’s the price you could sell the vehicle for privately, once repairs have been carried out to bring it back to its previous state.

It’s important to remember that a fleet vehicle is an investment with a value both before and after an accident. Gathering repair estimates, salvage values, and book values / used vehicles value is part of the process towards figuring out the true value of a fleet vehicle after an accident. Once you have gathered this important information, you can perform some arithmetic and figure out whether to repair your damaged fleet vehicle or replace it.

Type of damage

The type of damage a fleet vehicle sustains is going to be the sole factor in whether or not it’s worth getting it repaired. If a fleet vehicle sustains a bent alloy, punctured tyre, scratched door, dinted boot, or smashed window, then naturally it’s worth repairing your fleet vehicle, because this is going to work out cheaper than replacing the whole vehicle.

In a worst case scenario, your fleet vehicle may be a write off. There are two main types of write off – a repairable write off, where a vehicle is repairable but it’s uneconomical to do so, and a statutory write off where the vehicle cannot be legally repaired, due to safety reasons, such as the air bags going off or the structure of the car being compromised.

Where insurance is involved in a theoretical write off, an insurance company will take into consideration the salvage value of the vehicle, and compare this to the total cost of repair. In other words, the insurance company will determine whether it’s cheaper to pay out for the vehicle and recoup some of the costs by salvage or to repair the vehicle.

It’s important to consider that the level of damage to your vehicle can only accurately be determined by a repair centre.


Subrogation is the process an insurance company takes to recover the total cost of a vehicle repair where their customer was not at fault. So, if you claim on your insurance, your claim does not end once repairs are complete. If a vehicle is involved in an accident where it is their fault, then the other vehicles insurance company is entitled to pursue the at-fault party, which is more often than not the other insurance company. This will involve recovering a vehicle excess, which may be hundreds of pounds, and it can lead to increased insurance costs for the at-fault party.

This is the last step in a claims resolution process. It’s important to consider subrogation costs to your insurer before going through with a claim – the increased cost of your insurance may make it more worthwhile to repair your own vehicle, and cover the cost of repair to the other vehicle involved in an accident, if your fleet vehicle was at-fault.

Calculate repair costs vs. replacement costs

Company fleet vehicles play a pivotal role in business operations. They provide transportation for employees, bring products and services to customers, and compensate management or executives.

When any fleet vehicle is involved in an accident, its market value will be reduced. The level of reduction in market value is going to determine the net cost of its use to your company. Before you repair or replace your damaged fleet vehicle, gather up repair estimates, salvage values, and look into the level of damage your vehicle has sustained – this research is essential towards figuring out whether or not to repair your damaged fleet vehicle. Once you have gathered your repair estimates, salvage values, book price, and used vehicle value, you can begin to calculate repair costs vs. replacement costs.

Ultimately, if it is going to cost you more to repair your fleet vehicle than it is to replace it, repair isn’t worth considering. In this case, replacing your damaged fleet vehicle is the logical solution.


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