What Is a Write Off on a Car?

The short answer is, an ICBC write-off is when the cost to repair the vehicle is greater than the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle.

cash for scrap cars in vancouver

You may have purchased your car for let’s say $27,000 initially, but now it’s only worth $3000.

That means the ACV is only $3,000, so any repair costs over and above this would result in ICBC writing off your vehicle after an accident.

This is where many people get frustrated with ICBC. They believe their vehicle to be much more than the blue book value that ICBC goes by, and they typically choose to try to repair or sell the car themselves. However, more often than not, they end up scrapping their car for cash after several years of sitting on it. Also, they typically do so with a scrap car removal company like More Cash For Scrap.

Why Do They Write Off a Car When Airbags Have Been Deployed?

This is actually a very commonly asked question as it comes up a lot. After many collisions where the airbags have been deployed, ICBC writes off the vehicle, even when it’s a newer car. The most frustrating part of this for consumers is that their vehicle would usually be just fine after repairs.

Others are actually still drivable, and only need minor repairs, but since the airbags were deployed, their vehicle gets considered a total loss. This is because of several factors, not just the cost of replacing the airbags. Adjusters consider the damage to the car, the cost to replace the airbags (which is quite an expensive repair generally).


Also, they consider the cost of a potential rental car if needed, and the cost of the downtime for things like missed work due to a lack of transportation. They consider all these costs and that usually equates to a write-off.

What Are the Types of Things that Make ICBC Write-Off Your Car?

Every vehicle is different when it comes to determining whether or not it will be a total loss in the eyes of ICBC. Different vehicles have different values, and the reason they are being considered for a total loss or repair is usually because of a collision. However, sometimes it’s from something like a natural disaster, or vehicle damage caused by things like wildlife.

Some Possible Causes Are:

  • Collision damage
  • Bent frame from an accident
  • Vehicle damage caused by fires or floods
  • Vehicles that have damage from falling trees, ice (from bridges in the winter), and foreign objects
  • At fault collision damage from hitting cement medians, barricades, trees, poles, or other objects
  • Vehicles with severe interior damage caused by fires, floods, pepper and bear sprays, skunks, and anything else causing irremovable odors or damage
  • Damage that is higher than the cost of repairs, possible rental vehicles, and loss of work (provided you are not at fault)

Furthermore, they will indicate the following to better help you understand what constitutes a total loss:

A Motor Vehicle Must Be Designated Salvage If:

  • An insurer decides it is no longer economical to repair the vehicle for legal operation on the highway.
  • The cost of repairing the vehicle for legal operation on the highway exceeds its fair market value immediately prior to damage.
  • The contractual thresholds for repair are exceeded.

It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion if you don’t agree with ICBC’s decision to write off your car. You will probably have to pay for it out of pocket, but it might be a worthy investment if you’re set on keeping your vehicle on the road.

What Happens When ICBC Writes-Off Your Car?

Typically, after your vehicle has been in an accident, it will be towed to an ICBC approved repair and estimate shop. In some cases, it goes to an ICBC building that specifically does damage appraisals. Once it gets its initial assessment, an adjuster usually contacts you via phone. They’ll advise you whether or not your vehicle is going to be repaired, replaced, or simply written off.

In cases where your vehicle is being written off, it’s called a “Total Loss” by ICBC. They will send you a letter asking you to sign and return it to them. It will usually have the following requests written within it:

  • To give ICBC authorization to sell the car, if ICBC determines that it is not economical to repair;
  • The car may be sold before the claim is settled; and
  • That you are still responsible for paying for the car insurance in the meantime.

If none of these items are things you particularly want in addition to your vehicle being written off, talk to us. We offer MORE cash for scrap cars than any other scrap car buyer in the Lower Mainland.

Can I Sell My Car if It’s a Total Write-Off?

While selling a car can be a very daunting process to begin with, selling a car that has been written off by ICBC can be next to impossible. Most people who buy totaled vehicles only want it for parts, and they aren’t willing to pay much for it because most of the vehicle is junk.


More Cash For Scrap is different.

We specialize in buying used cars, trucks, SUV’s, and vans that have major mechanical problems, extensive collision damage, and everything in between.

Your best choice to sell a scrap car is to use a professional junk car buyer like us.

We always offer our customers free towing services from anywhere in the Lower Mainland. Plus, we handle the paperwork, and we pay MORE cash for scrap cars than any other scrap car removal company in BC.

How Much Cash Will I Get for My Scrap Car?

That question is not as black and white as most people think. Each and every vehicle we scrap is different and unique. They all have their own unique characteristics, histories, possible modifications, and repair history. Some vehicles are worth more because they are in less than scrappy condition. However, others are only worth their weight in metal because the interior or major engine components have been severely dam

Contact Our Team of Scrap Car Removal Specialists Today

To find out how much cash you can get for your scrap car, contact our team of scrap car removal specialists. They will get some basic details about your vehicle, then make you an instant cash offer right over the phone.

Provide us with the make, model, year, condition, and location of your car. Then, we’ll make you an offer.

If you accept, we’ll arrange a day and time for our free scrap car towing service to come collect your car. Our driver will pay you in cash, and that’s it!


Getting MORE cash for scrap cars really can be that quick and easy. Call, text, or email us today to find out why MORE people choose More Cash For Scrap than anyone else.

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About the Author: scrapcar

Since 2005, we've specialized in turning our customer's scrap cars into quick cash. We buy vehicles in ANY condition and with ANY issues. We pay MORE cash for scrap cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans than any other scrap car removal company in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island. If you want MORE cash, same day free junk car towing, and a reliable scrap car buying service, you want More Cash For Scrap.