When you’ve been in an accident, occasionally your car can be crash-damaged to the point where it becomes a ‘write-off’. Essentially, this means that the car is so damaged that it no longer safe to drive, or the repairs on the car are more expensive than the value of the vehicle. There are a number of strict guidelines which your car insurance company use to determine what happens to your car in this scenario – these are known as car damage categories.

Category A Cars

The damage to your car is so extreme that no part of the vehicle can be salvaged.

If your car is put in Category A, it will be completely scrapped and you will receive a cash payout equivalent to the car’s market value prior to the accident.

Category B Cars

The damage to your car is extensive (i.e. the body, frame or chassis of the car could not be used again) and the vehicle will have to be scrapped.

If your car is put in Category B, the body will be completely scrapped, but some parts will be reclaimed to use in other vehicles. You will receive a cash payout equivalent to the car’s market value prior to the accident.

Category S Cars

The damage to your car is structural (i.e. the wheel axis is bent, a part of the chassis is crumpled or twisted and deemed unsafe) and is uneconomical to repair. This means that the car will avoid being scrapped but will have to be professionally repaired before being driven on the road.

In this case, the insurer will sell the car to someone who chooses to repair the car, which covers the costs of your insurance plan. You can choose to re-buy the car if you so wish.

Category N Cars

Your car hasn’t received any structural damage but has an issue which makes it uneconomical to repair. This is normally based on whether the repairs will cost more than 50% of the car’s value. This can be cosmetic damage, such as a significant dent or collapse in the chassis, or damages to the steering or braking system.

In this case, your insurer will pay you the equivalent of what your car would have cost before the accident.

Write-off advice

If your car has been written-off in an accident, your insurance company will ask to take ownership of the car in order to provide some of your cash payout – this will have been included as a condition in your insurance plan. However, the insurance company can’t do so until you agree the price for the car. So, don’t accept their offer if it doesn’t reflect the true value of your vehicle. You should base your value on market research and factors such as service history and any private work you had done (i.e. new alloys).

Sometimes car traders an attempt to hide a car’s history from you and attempt to sell you a Category S or N vehicle. It’s important to always ask for a full service history check before you buy any car!

When it comes to crash-damaged cars, it is important to know where you stand with your insurance company. We hope our breakdown of car damage categories and write-off advice will help.

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 13.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 13.85%, 47 monthly payments of £201.38 followed by 1 payment of £211.38 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £2,176.24, total amount payable is £9,676.24.

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Require more help?

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