Rental Company decided a car is a WRITE OFF. Is there a way to do a third party inspection?

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Jan 11, 2019
- I reserved a Dodge SUV with Alamo/National/Enterprise
- Signed the contract, declined Rental's CDW Wavier as my credit has rental car CDW coverage
- Alamo realize they did not have Dodge in stock, so they upgraded it to a more premium SUV [*added*: I want to highlight that Alamo upgraded the car AFTER I denied the CDW waiver and signed the contract; on the initial contract, it listed the Dodge SUV's category instead of the premium car's car category. Just added a photo to show the vehicle information section on the initial (signed) vs. final closing contract (not signed, later computed by the system). ]

- The additional driver was driving and slipped into a ditch as we were turning into a small road from the local highway in north Ontario
- Not sure if we have snow tire, the small road was covered with ice
- Front bumper is damaged, 2 airbags were deployed (see pictures below)
- Car was towed by the police and parked at the towing company's parking lot. A manager from the branch arranged to tow the car to a "repair shop"
- I received a call from a manager, saying that the car is a write off. He gave us an address and we checked it is actually an auction place. We double checked with the towing company's parking lot and was told that the car was towed directly to the auction place.
- I called the damage department asking for the inspection report. They said that they can only give me the inspection report along with the final bills. By then the car would be sold by the auction place and we won't have a chance to do the third party inspection anymore.
- Looking at the credit card insurance policy in detail, car with MSRP exceed $65,000 CAD is not covered under the insurance, and this car from what I know is just over this threshold. So we can pretty much assume that it will be denied.

Now I am faced with a situation that I may be liable to pay for all damage cost that could be on par with the value of a new car and need to pay it all out of my own pocket. I'm pretty sure that they didn't do a proper inspection and just sent the car directly to the auction place.
- Is it industry standard that I have no right to see the inspection report before the final bill comes out?
- I don't believe that this car is a write off. Is there a way for me to arrange a third party inspection?
- If I can't do anything before they sell the car and give me the final bill, how can I dispute their decision?
- I am thinking of hiring a lawyer, but not sure what specialization area I should look into (Property damage?). Any recommendations?
- Is there anything else I can do at this moment to make things better?

It's 100% a big lesson for me and my friends we would be applying these learning in the future. Any advice to minimize our cost at this moment would be greatly helpful!

Much appreciate your help and response!!


Mar 17, 2015
The manager should be able to give you proof the car is totaled and a write off before it is auctioned off. Normally we say to keep everything in writing, but I would write and call in this instance. Email the manager asking for all documentation and then also call and ask how they determined it was a write off. Sometimes when airbags deploy, that can total the vehicle.
Sep 1, 2018
Sorry to hear of your situation. From a family member's experience, I know that even though your car may not look totaled, if damage exceeds a certain percent, it'll be written off. The cost to install new airbags and all the components is very high so it could be that the car was totaled due to the cost of replacement.

With that being said, can you appeal to your credit card company for help? Even though you think it may be over the monetary thresh hold, someone needs to determine if that's true. I would also do as Tanya recommended but make sure you get the name and title of anyone you speak with. Good luck.


Mar 14, 2018
You should definitely consult with an attorney immediately.

All your questions are good ones and you will get many ideas and opinions here. However, no one here (as far as I know) is an expert on Canadian law.

There is way too much money at risk in this incident to rely solely on internet forums for advice.
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Sep 19, 2015
total loss vehicle value calculator to determine a write off :
Actual Cash Value (ACV) – Repair Costs + Salvage Value
If, Repair Costs + Salvage Value > ACV = WRITE OFF
If, Repair Costs + Salvage Value < ACV = REPAIR

Insurance companies also may have a threshold of 75% of value. There are different criteria and insurance company can take in factors like loss of use etc when deciding to salvage the car.

Once airbags are deployed the costs of repair can be high. The airbags have to be replaced along with sensors and panels, along with the structural work that needs to be done.

It is not unheard of for airbag replacement on a newish vehicle to be incredibly expensive because
computerized elements, sensors, the need to rebuild the dash board.

Do you live in Canada? Given the amount involved I think speaking with a lawyer

Carrie Livingston

Staff Member
Jan 6, 2015
St Louis
Based on numerous suggestions to seek legal advice I am going to close this thread as this is not something we advocate. @Cryolite if you end up getting your case resolved and would like us to reopen the thread please let us know.
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