Changes to insurance write off categories – should you ever buy a write off?

A ‘write-off’ is how insurance companies describe vehicles that are too badly damaged – or simply uneconomical – to repair.

From 1 October 2017, the system insurers use to classify write-offs will change.

Understanding the new code is important, both for drivers involved in an accident, and for anyone who buys a second-hand vehicle.

What are the changes?

For the past decade, write-offs have been grouped into four categories: A, B, C and D.

These were graded in order of severity, with Category A for irreparable damage and Category D for vehicles that could – potentially – be returned to the road.

The new system substitutes C and D for the new categories of S and N, ranking write-offs as follows:

A – Scrap only

B – Break for parts

S – Structurally damaged but repairable

N – Not structurally damaged, repairable

Category A

Category A

Category A covers vehicles that are only fit to be crushed, such as those burnt-out by fire.

Category B

Category B

Category B vehicles have sustained serious damage, but certain parts will be salvageable; the engine from a car in a rear-end shunt, for example.

Once these parts have been removed, the car will be destroyed.

Category S

Category S

The new Category S means the vehicle has suffered structural damage. This could include a bent or twisted chassis, or a crumple zone that has collapsed in a crash.

Category S damage is more than just cosmetic, therefore, and the vehicle will need to be professionally repaired. Also, it won’t be safe to drive until then.

Category N

Category N

Lastly, there’s the – also new – Category N.

Vehicles graded accordingly haven’t sustained structural damage, so the issue may be cosmetic, or a problem with the electrics that isn’t economical to repair.

Don’t assume such vehicles are drivable, however; non-structural faults may include brakes, steering or other safety-related parts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *