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For the past 10 years, the classification of insurance write-offs was your stable four categories of A, B, C and D, with A being irreparable and unable to return to the road and categorized D cars being given a lifeline.
But as of 1 October 2017, this was about to change with the idea of making things ‘more clear’ for the motorist.
A and B remained – but categories C and D were scrapped off in favour of the new S and N structure.
Understanding the new classification is vitally important for any motorist involved in an accident or potentially buying a second hand vehicle, as a vehicle’s category marker stays with it for the remainder of its days on the roads.
Car Write-Off Categories Comparison
The new look structure is now in the simple format of:
- A – Vehicle is now scrap and no parts can be returned to the roads
- B – Vehicle must not be returned to the roads – but can be sold for parts
- S – Vehicle is now structurally damaged but repairable and can be returned to the roads meaning this vehicle can be sold on again
- N – Vehicle has no structural damage and is repairable for use on the roads
As previously mentioned the new system of categories is designed to offer drivers clarity, with emphasis highlighting structural issues that affect safety.
The changes to the new system are there to help make the roads a safer place for all giving a clearer understanding of the standard of the vehicle, although the standard of repairs still leaves a consumer wide open in terms of safety.
Find out more about the old Cat D and Cat C Cars here.
What Does Cat S Mean?
The old category of C – and now reclassified as S – is used where all related costs to the structurally damaged vehicle exceeded its value, which takes into consideration things like hire car rental which can be £100 a day for example. To many insurance companies, the repair bill escalates higher than the value of the vehicle deeming it a write-off. But although the vehicle is now structurally damaged it is repairable and can be returned to the roads.
What Does Cat N Mean?
Category D vehicles, with no reported structural damage, were judged less expensive to repair than replace taking into consideration of all costs. This means the repair bill is cheaper for the insurance company allowing for an N classification. It is far more worthwhile all round to get your Category N car repaired if it is in good condition.
Car insurance for Cat N and Cat S vehicles
Under insurance guidelines since 2013 obtaining insurance is perfectly easy for a motorist with category S and N cars. However, the guidelines state you are expected to answer all questions fully as asked by an insurance operator – although there is no law stating you must declare whether you know the car has been categorized, if not asked.
Are Cat N or Cat S cars more to insure?
It really depends on the extent to which the car is damaged. As the car is repairable it does mean that the car can be insured. However, this will depend on the extent of the damage and the insurer you wish to use. There may not even be any difference in the premium for a non-Cat S car. You should always contact the insurance company directly for further details.
Selling Your Written-Off Car
If deciding against insuring your vehicle, you may want to look at selling your written-off car. At Scrap Car Comparison we have a UK wide network of specialist buyers who not only purchase scrap vehicles, but buy Cat S or Cat N insurance write-offs too as salvageable vehicles.
The new changes from category C and D to S and N won’t make the roads any safer – they will simply give a clearer understanding of how the structure works and system works to the public.
At the end of the day, if a vehicle was declared a write-off, those rated Category C and D in the past had to pass a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) so that it could be returned to the roads. But this was abolished in 2015 due to the costs associated with it leaving potential buyers at risk of buying a badly-repaired vehicle. The new classifications of S and N just give a clearer understanding of those categories – but they won’t give you any clear assessment of how well or badly a repair has been undertaken and put back on the roads.