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