Having a damaged car or van sitting in your driveway can often feel like a huge weight being carried around on your shoulders, waiting for you to get it sorted. If you’re unsure what you’re supposed to do with a car so badly damaged that you simply cannot fix it yourself, then let us answer any questions you have below – and if there are any questions that we aren’t able to answer below, then get in touch with our team who will be more than happy to offer you possible solutions for your vehicle.

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Frequently Asked Vehicle Damage Questions

How Do I Sell My Damaged Car or Van?

Because damaged cars or vans are usually classed as such as a result of issues to a single element, rather than the entirety of the vehicle, it means that parts from the car or van can be recycled and used to help repair others. As an example, if you took two identical cars, but one had engine problems making it a non-starter and the other had bodyshell damage following an accident, a specialist would be able to combine the two into one working vehicle.

However, fixing damaged cars can be both time consuming and expensive, and requires a level of expertise that the average mechanic wouldn’t necessarily have. As a result, it is often easier to sell the car as a salvage vehicle and let the experts take over. Selling as salvage with Scrap Car Comparison is quick, easy and guarantees you the best price possible for your car.

What Is My Damaged Car Worth?

The figure you will get for your car will entirely depend on a range of factors, including the age, the make and model and the condition of the car aside from the damaged elements. If you have any paperwork relating to the car, including the V5C Registration Document and any service history, this can also help you get a better price for the vehicle. For the most accurate quote possible speak to the team at Scrap Car Comparison who will be able to utilise a regularly updated database and nationwide network of dealers to ensure you are getting the very best price.

Can A Damaged Car Or Van Be Traded In?

Yes – but be prepared to get a lot less than you would normally get if you were trading in a fully-functioning vehicle. The dealer is likely to take off a sizeable sum to factor in the work that will be needed to get the car road worthy again, or breaking parts out of it. Have a look online to find the going price for your car on the second hand market, compare that to the cost of repairs and you can see how much you should be getting for the car. You may find that you’ll get more if you sell privately and put that money towards a new car instead. Simply speak to one of our advisors who will be able to ensure you get the very best offer for your vehicle, giving you more for your next deposit.

Can I Drive A Damaged Vehicle?

An alarming number of people drive damaged cars on the road, and according to research carried out by an insurance company in 2015, there could be as many as 14 million motorists driving damaged cars, with 44% of those driving with bodywork damage, and 27% driving with a cracked or chipped windscreen. While you may think that your car feels okay to drive, you may be risking a fine of up to £2,500 and up to three points on your licence if your car is regarded as being in a dangerous condition by the police.

Will My Hail Damaged Vehicle Be Written Off?

Hail can be incredibly damaging to vehicles, and quite often you could find yourself with damage on every panel of your car and a windscreen that now resembles a pepper pot. With this level of damage it is highly likely that your car will be written off as every additional panel added is another lump of cash to add to the repair cost. Whether your insurance will cover the damage or not is another matter, with hail often being considered as an ‘act of God’. Fully comprehensive insurance policies should see you covered in this instance, however you can expect to pay the excess on your policy and will likely see your premiums rise after the claim and potentially lose your no claims bonus. Weather falls under the ‘at-fault’ categorisation of claims, purely because the insurance company will be unable to recover its costs from elsewhere, like they would if you’d had a collision where the other driver was at fault. If you have a third party, or third party, fire and theft, policy then your insurers are unlikely to pay out.

Will My Flood Damaged Vehicle Be Written Off?

If your car or van has been flooded, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to get written off. Whether or not your vehicle gets written off will depend on how much water got where. If the engine was flooded, then you can expect a write-off to be heading your way. However if the engine wasn’t affected at all, then you may be able to wait for the car to dry out and you could be okay. If the engine was flooded at all and the water has since subsided, you should still get a mechanic to come and look at it before you try to turn it on as there could still be water and mud trapped in both the engine and exhaust and starting it could result in even more damage caused.

Can A Damaged Car Frame Be Repaired?

Damage to a frame doesn’t necessarily mean the car has just bought a one-way ticket to the scrapheap, but it equally isn’t an easy job to get back to standard. Repairing a damaged or bent frame isn’t the work of your average roadside garage and your best bet is to seek out a specialist body shop who will be able to assess your car and see what options you have with regards to repairing, or whether you’d be better off as selling for scrap or salvage.

Can A Damaged Car Roof Be Repaired?

Roof damage can be caused by a number of factors, with the most common damages being dents that are either on the large side, or much smaller and sharper. If your car has a very large dent in it as a result of vandals running across the car, then unfortunately these are often unrepairable due to the size of damage in the panel. Likewise, while a golf ball dent may look relatively small, it can radiate across the panel, causing the panel itself to stretch several inches. To repair a roof can be a very simple task but, depending on the make and model of car, can become quite complex repair jobs. Speak to a specialist who will be able to have a look at your roof and let you know exactly where you stand.

Can A Damaged Car Door Be Repaired?

Coming back to your car with a trolley full of shopping only to discover the car next to you has left a rather sizeable ding in your driver’s side door can be one of the most frustrating experiences and a reason why some people would rather park at the opposite end of the car park if it meant there was less chance of a car parking next to them. As with all cases when looking at the cost of damages, it will depend entirely on how bad your door has been damaged. A scratch or dent is relatively simple, and therefore cheaper, to repair, but in some cases you may need to replace the door entirely, which naturally comes at a higher cost. You may also need to have your car door repainted, which can cost much more than you would expect as even the smallest of paintwork scratches can see the entire door needing a repaint if you want it to look as good as new.

What Are Car Damage Categories?

If your car has been written off by your insurers then it will have been designated one of four categories, formerly known as Category A, B, C or D, but after an update to the ABI Salvage Code of Practice came into force in 2017, you will now be sorted into either Category A, B, S or N, all of which are outlined below.

  • Cat A – Scrap. The vehicle must be crushed with no components removed.
  • Cat B – Break. Body shell and chassis must be crushed and no structural components can be removed. Other parts can be removed.
  • Cat S – Structurally damaged but repairable.
  • Cat N – Non-structurally damaged but repairable.

Categories A and B can also be referred to as ‘actual loss’, while S and N ‘constructive loss’. In short, if your car is a Cat A or Cat B write off, then it must never return to the road, whereas Cat S or N can return to the road, but only after significant repairs have been made.

How Much Should A Vehicle Damage Estimate Cost?

It is impossible to give a ballpark figure for damage estimates as there are a wide range of factors that come into play when looking to get your car repaired. The average cost of unexpected repairs on used cars was worked out by an aftermarket warranty firm back in 2016 and was deemed to be approximately £603. Peugeot, Ford and Suzuki came in at the cheapest, all below £425, while Porsches were the most expensive with an average repair bill of £807.

Obviously the more damaged a car is, the more you should expect to be paying to get it back on the road and the key thing to keep a note of is the second hand value of your car – if your repairs are expected to cost more than the car is going to sell for, it may be time to look at scrapping instead.

How Do I Check A Vehicle’s Damage History?

If you’re looking into buying a car second hand you should always ask to see the service and MOT history of the vehicle in question. Any repairs and defects should be listed in the paperwork provided and will be able to give you peace of mind that the car is what it says it is. However, if you’re still a little dubious about what the car is claiming to be, then you can run a history check through the DVLA on the gov.uk website. These checks allow you to verify a number of details on the car, and you can view its previous MOT record via the government website as well. For complete peace of mind, a full and detailed history of the car can be bought for £20 by obtaining a full HPi check. This check will let you know the full history of the car, including MOT history, any write-offs, whether it’s been recorded as scrap and anything else you’d want to know. Any cars that have been previously written off should also be identified as such, and if you’re still unsure, then it’s probably best to simply walk away.

How Do I Report Vehicle Damage?

If your car has been written off and scrapped by your insurers, then you must report it to the DVLA. To do this you will need your insurer’s name and postcode, your registration number and 11-digit reference number from the V5C log book. Once you have these to hand you’ll be able to complete the required forms from the gov.uk website. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to £1,000.

If you intend to keep a category S write-off you will first need to negotiate a mutually agreed sum with your insurers before sending the V5C to them and then applying for a new one from the DVLA.

What Types Of Vehicle Damage Are Considered A Write-Off?

An insurance write-off is a simple way of saying that a car is either damaged so much that it is now unsafe for it to be on the road at all, or while it is still safe to be on the road, to repair it would cost more than the car is worth. The latter, however, is dependent on your insurer’s repair-to-value ratio, which can differ from company to company and car to car. So, for example, if your car is worth £2000 and your insurer’s repair-to-value ratio is 50%, if the repairs cost more than £1000, they will regard it as uneconomical to repair.

With the costs in mind, any damages that can rack up serious costs can all end up in being worthy of a write-off, whether they’re structural or mechanical. That means that just because your car may not look particularly damaged, if the work needed is particularly tricky then you could be looking at a Cat N write-off.

What is a Cat A Car?

A Category A car, better known as Cat A, is the designation given to a car that has been so badly damaged in an accident that there is no way that it can be returned to the road. Every single component of a Cat A car must be crushed and even any salvageable parts must be destroyed.

What is Cat A Damage?

Vehicles written off as Category A are likely to have some significant structural damages. This usually means that there has been damage caused to the chassis or the shell, often as a result of an accident or a major fire.

What is a Cat B Car?

Category B cars are, much like Category A cars, destined for the scrapyard as a result of the damage endured in a recent accident. The difference, however, is that if there are any salvageable parts on a Category B car, you’re allowed to strip these to be used elsewhere before it goes through the crusher.

What is Cat B damage?

Most of the time there will be some structural damage involved in a Cat B car – that’s why it would have been written off as scrap in the first place – but it won’t be to the severity as found in a Cat A car. Non-structural items such as mechanical parts (gearbox, engine, electronics etc) could be stripped and salvaged.

What is a Cat N Car?

Category N stands for “Non-Structural”, meaning the car has sustained enough damage to be uneconomical to repair, but the damage has had no impact on the structural integrity of the car itself. A Category N car can be repaired and returned to the road without any need for re-registration or any inspection. The DVLA will need informing of the write-off, however.

What is Cat N Damage?

Category N damage can come in many shapes and sizes, from dented bumpers or roof panels to mechanical issues in components such as the engine, gearbox or even the car’s electronics. In fact, the damage could be literally anything on the vehicle that does not have any structural bearing at all.

What is a Cat S Car?

A Category S car is a vehicle that has sustained damage to a structural area and the repair bill would outweigh the value of the car itself – thus “uneconomical to repair”. The difference between Cat S and Categories A or B is that a Category S vehicle can be repaired and put back on the road. The caveat here is that the vehicle must pass an inspection by an accredited engineer once repaired and, in some circumstances, may need to be re-registered with a ‘Q’ plate.

What is Cat S Damage?

Category S damage is structural damage but not to the point of requiring scrapping. This means the chassis or crumple zones have sustained damage but not so seriously that the car itself can be repaired and returned to a roadworthy status. Non-structural damage may also have occurred, but it’s the chassis and crumple zones that will have earned it a Category S designation.

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