a car headlamp and bonnet crushed

Can I Scrap A Written-Off Car?

It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments you can experience as a driver, standing over your car as it looks sadder than it’s ever looked, knowing that there’s just absolutely no way that it will ever be back on the road. But did you know that just because it’s been written off, there are still some options open to you? Let Scrap Car Comparison break down (see what we did there?) all the possibilities.

A red car with severe damage after a crash, its left side and windscreen crumpled

What is an insurance write-off?

An insurance write-off is a vehicle that has been deemed uneconomic to repair by your insurers. In simple terms, the cost of repairing your car outweighs its value. The damage isn’t always obvious, either. It could be a mechanical or electric fault that’s particularly pricey to fix due to the work required, or the value of the parts in question, or it could even be something as simple as a cosmetic problem – one long scrape along the entire side of your car may look like a pretty small issue, but once you total every panel that will need replacing/reworking, it soon adds up.

What are the write-off categories?

When insurers write off a car, it will fall into one of four categories, as verified by Gov.uk.

AThe vehicle cannot be repaired. The entire vehicle must be crushed.
BThe vehicle cannot be repaired. The body shell must be crushed but other parts can be salvaged.
CThe vehicle can be repaired, but the cost of repairs would cost more than the value of the vehicle.
DThe vehicle can be repaired and the cost of repairs are less than the vehicle is worth, but other costs (such as transportation) push the total over the value.
NThe vehicle can be repaired after non-structural damage.
SThe vehicle can be repaired after structural damage, the V5C must be sent to your insurer and you must apply for a duplicate log book.

What happens to my car insurance after a write-off?

Once your vehicle has been officially written-off by your insurance company, they will be responsible for paying out on your claim. As such, you should expect a lump sum of cash landing in your bank account shortly after the decision has been made, which meets the value of the car on the current market, not in line with what you paid for the vehicle at the time of purchase.

However, because the balance owed to you on this vehicle has effectively been settled, your policy is technically considered closed and you will no longer be covered on your next car, even if you were to use the same personalised number plate on it.

Bear in mind that just because your car insurance policy has ended, you’ll still need to pay off any outstanding finances that you owe to the insurer for their policy. Of course, this will only impact drivers who pay their insurance monthly, rather than annually.

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Can I keep a written-off car?

Providing your car hasn’t been deemed a Category A write-off, then there is nothing to stop you from keeping it – but you will need to make sure you’re quick to do so otherwise you may find it’s too late. Inform your insurers as early as you can that you intend to keep the car, and you will then enter a negotiation with them to work out an agreed value for you to buy back your write-off. Once the car is back in your possession it is then entirely up to you to sort out getting the car repaired to be back on the road. 

If your car has been written off into categories C, D, S or N, then it must be repaired by a professional before it is allowed back on the road. If your car has been written off as either Cat C or S, then the log book must be sent to your insurers first, and you must apply for a duplicate book via a DVLA V62 form.

It is important to remember that if your car has been deemed a Category B write-off it can never return to the road again. You can strip it of any of its usable components, but to return it to the road is not only incredibly dangerous, but also a crime.

Can you sell an insurance write-off?

After your insurance company has decided that your vehicle is a write-off, you are able to retain – or ‘buy back‘ – the car allowing you to keep hold of it, should you feel that it has some value left. If your vehicle was listed as a category A or B write-off, then you are absolutely not allowed to fix it up and sell it to another driver for their own personal use. These cars will never truly be safe to drive again.

If you’ve got a newly-classified category S or N car though, you could opt to undertake the repairs that the vehicle requires in order to make it roadworthy once more so that it can be sold. However, it will always be overshadowed by that dreaded salvage category and will be unlikely to ever be worth the same value as a pristine version of the same make and model.

In most cases, these cars are sold as spares and repairs or to other motorists who consider themselves particularly skilled at repairing or otherwise profiting from broken cars.

A total insurance write off damaged car

Can I scrap a written-off car?

If you have agreed a price with your insurers and the vehicle is now back in your possession, then you can do whatever you wish with it – within the laws of its specific write-off category, of course. So, if you thought that you would be able to repair the car yourself but it turned out to be more tricky than you expected, or if you simply feel you can get a better price than you paid to your insurer, you can absolutely get the car scrapped yourself. By using Scrap Car Comparison, you are guaranteed to get the best price possible for your vehicle.

How much will I get for a written-off car?

The money you could earn from scrapping your written-off car does, in part, depends on the regular factors that would influence its value even if it hadn’t been classified as such by your insurance company. The overall weight of the vehicle will have an impact if it’s being scrapped outright, as the raw metal is sought after by scrap dealers.

But, if you’d prefer to steer clear of the scrapping or salvage route for now, you will have to immediately come to terms with the fact that the money you could be paid by a private buyer will be significantly lower – if you can even find a buyer for it in the first place!

How to scrap an insurance write-off

The quickest, easiest and guaranteed way to ensure that you get the very best price for your written-off car is to sell through Scrap Car Comparison. We constantly monitor the ever-changing prices of scrap metal up and down the country, and work with a nationwide network of scrap and salvage specialists, all of whom are waiting to come and take your car away. All of these ingredients add together to allow us to get you the very best price for your car, guaranteed. Not only can we promise you the best quote possible, but with buyers waiting in all four corners of the country, we’ll even be able to get your car collected at no extra cost, wherever you happen to be.

Get started today by speaking with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team, or by using our quick and simple online scrap quote generator and see just how much your insurance write-off could be worth in just 30 seconds.

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