Is my car a write-off?

Having your car written off isn’t ideal. Not only can it leave you without a car, it can also cost you money. Whether this is due to an increase in your insurance premium, the cost of buying a new car or the devaluing of your written off car when it comes to reselling it once it has been repaired.

We have taken a look at what a car write-off means and how it works in case you ever find yourself in this situation.

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A written off car: What does it mean?

A written off car often means the car is beyond repair and is no longer safe to be on the roads, therefore, may need to be scrapped.

If a car has been written off, this often means the car has been involved in an incident that has left it beyond repair and is no longer safe to be on the road or the cost of the repairs would be more than the value of the vehicle itself.

It can mean either the vehicle cannot be fixed and must be destroyed or broken up for parts or the insurance provider has calculated it to be uneconomical to repair.

When is a car a write-off?

It is the insurance company that decides if your car is a write-off but there are different categories that the vehicle will be classified as, depending on how badly damaged it is. Which category your car falls into will determine whether your car is for the scrap heap or if it can be repaired and get back on the road.

Take a look below at the write-off categories to see which one your car may come under.

A

Category A:

Your car is beyond repair; it is either too damaged or too old, even the parts aren’t suitable to be used second-hand and the car is to be scrapped.

B

Category B:

Too damaged or old to be repaired, however, some of the salvageable parts can be sold to be used second-hand.

S

Category S (formerly Category C):

The structure of the car’s chassis is damaged but is repairable. Cat S cars will need to be re-registered before they are allowed back on the road.

N

Category N (formerly category D):

The damage to the car is non-structural and can include superficial, electrical and safety issues including faults in the brakes and steering. These can be repaired but must not be driven until done so. Cat N cars do not need to be re-registered but the DVLA need to be made aware that the car was written off.

What is the car insurance write-off procedure?

If your car is involved in an accident and you put a claim into your insurance provider, the vehicle will be inspected by an engineer to assess whether the damage is worth repairing. If the damage is so severe and the cost of repair is more than the value of the vehicle, then the insurer will write the car off and claim repairing it to be uneconomical.

The insurer will then offer a payout that is worth the market value of the car before the incident happened, minus the compulsory and voluntary excess you agreed to in your policy. However, if you don’t agree with the figure the insurance company is offering and you think the value of your car is worth more, you may be able to negotiate the settlement before accepting it. Do your research to back up your claim or you could even pay to have your own independent engineer’s report if you are confident that the insurance company has undervalued your car.

The insurer will then offer a payout that is worth the market value of the car before the incident happened, minus the compulsory and voluntary excess you agreed to in your policy. However, if you don’t agree with the figure the insurance company is offering and you think the value of your car is worth more, you may be able to negotiate the settlement before accepting it. Do your research to back up your claim or you could even pay to have your own independent engineer’s report if you are confident that the insurance company has undervalued your car.

If the insurers refuse to change their offer, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. There are no guarantees that this will work but it is a free and independent service, so if you feel like you have a good case then it could be worth a try.

If you are looking to get an accurate valuation for a damaged car, you can add any damages in our valuation process. Enter your number plate now to see how much it could be worth.

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